The only things missing were red dirt, Rhett Butler, and a few NASCAR cars on Sunday, April 28, when the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League held its Southern Savour Supper Club fundraiser at the spectacular Dallas estate of Amanda and Brint Ryan.
With the Suzuki Strings providing background music, DSOL President Lisa Loy Laughlin, Supper Co-Chairs Renée Querbes Farren and Bettina Hennessey, and Honorary Chair Sherwood Wagner welcomed about 200 guests to the event, which raises money for the DSO’s Community Outreach and Education programs. It seems that Renée and Amanda went to the same Catholic girls’ school in New Orleans, a connection that helped explain the event’s magnificent setting.
And, what a setting it was. On the Ryans’ expansive front lawn — just beyond their huge, red-brick home with its eight tall, white front-porch columns — long tables with white tablecloths had been set out for the supper. Each place was set with colorful spring tableware and flour-sack tea towels emblazoned with charming “Southernisms” (“If we are not supposed to have midnight snacks, why is there a light on in the fridge?”).
The Southern-classic food, served family-style, had been prepared by celebrity chef Dean Fearing and his team at Fearing’s restaurant. Among the offerings were Dill egg salad, Granny Fearing’s “paper bag shook” fried chicken, roasted okra, sweet corn, and Key lime pies. As guests reveled in the repast they were serenaded by the One O’Clock Lab jazz band from the University of North Texas (Brint is chairman of the UNT System Board of Regents). Wendy Lambert also presided over a live auction.
Earlier, in the Ryans’ vast backyard, attendees including Barbara and Don Daseke, Alan Peppard, Kathleen and Bill Johnson, Fallon and Michael Hennessey, Marena and Roger Gault, Nancy Cates, Barbara and Don Averitt, Shareen and Brad Rowland enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and pored over an array of silent-auction items. They also had the chance to participate in a wine pull.
The Supper Club garden party was inspired by two organizations: the Mississippi-based Delta Supper Club, and the St. Francisville Southern Garden Symposium in St. Francisville, Louisiana. Living up to the spirit of the thing, the DSOL organizers even gave out a “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof”/Big Daddy Award for the party’s best-dressed Southern gentleman. It went to Bill Caruth.