Russ and Holly Watkins at the Symphony Ball at Cherokee Country Club. Russ is the incoming president of the Knoxville Symphony Board.
As 2016 hurtles to its conclusion, holiday and other kinds of special events literally have tumbled on top of one another. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a busier year-end season in Knoxville.
The Knoxville Symphony League threw its annual ball. The East Tennessee Historical Society honored a great East Tennessean. The downtown progressive dinner group opted for a brunch to avoid the crush of competing evening activities. And Congressman Jimmy Duncan and his wife, Lynn, honored an auction item they had donated and welcomed the lucky winners into their festively decorated getaway on Cherokee Lake.
Pour another cup of cocoa and check out some of the celebrations.
Members of the Ball Committee posing with the evening’s emcee, Hallerin Hilton Hill. From left: Julia Shiflett, Harriet Hodge, Rhonda Webster, Charleene Edwards, Hill, Susan White and Jane Venable. Members of the invaluable Knoxville Symphony League organize the ball, which is the Symphony’s largest fundraiser each year.
Frank Venable would have won the prize for most appropriate bow tie. (If there had been such a prize!)
Angela Howard and Symphony Board member Rick Stone.
Harriet Hodge, left, and Becky Paylor at the cocktail reception.
The ball’s theme was “Rhapsody in Blue,” which was great. But the blue lighting in Cherokee’s ballroom really affected the quality of the photos. Sorry.
Prior to dinner, pianist Slade Trammell played “Rhapsody in Blue.” It was beautiful.
From left, Terry and Rachel Ford, Rick Fox and Ralph Cianelli at the Symphony Ball. Rachel is executive director of the KSO. Rick is on the board.
From left, Symphony Board members Tom Shaw and Edie Volk with Music Director Aram Demirjian and his wife, Caraline.
Phyllis Nichols, who is a Board member, with her husband, Jim Nichols.
Jo and Sid Blalock.
David and Annie Colquitt. David is a new member of the Symphony Board.
Whitfield and Brittany Bailey.
Chris and Donna Kinney.
Board member Peter Acly and his wife, Ellen Robinson.
From left, Board members Theresa Stone and Joanne Mounger with Jay Mounger.
Michell Witt and Board member Jim Clayton.
From left, Willene Chalmers, Genetta Dittrich-Pugh and Bill Pugh.
Mark and Cathy Hill.
Bill Regas and Janet Testerman Crossley.
Some things never get old! As part of the 1924 jazz club atmosphere, candy cigarettes were passed out. Who could resist?
After dinner and a live auction, the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra provided music for dancing.
Another well-attended event at Cherokee Country Club was the East Tennessean of the Year Award dinner benefiting the East Tennessee Historical Society. The winner was Roy Kramer, Maryville native and former commissioner of the Southeastern Conference from 1990 to 2002.
Natalie Haslam and Buck Vaughn were among the attendees.
Knox County Commissioner Bob Thomas, left, and his wife, Kim, posed with Gus Manning, former University of Tennessee senior associate athletics director.
Donna Thomas, left, UT senior associate athletics director, with Jane Creed.
“Voice of the Vols,” Bob Kesling, welcomed everyone.
Former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander, who also is a former UT president, made remarks and later played “The Tennessee Waltz” on the piano.
It was a full house.
From left, Sherri Lee, Jack and Sylvia Lacey, and Jerome Melson.
Knoxville City Councilman George Wallace and his wife, Stephanie.
Judge Charles Susano.
Morton and state Sen. Becky Massey.
Moxley Carmichael’s Amanda Jennings and her husband, Mark.
State Sen. Doug and Kay Overbey.
At the First Tennessee Bank table, from left, Ethan Mashburn, Mike Herron, Michelle Hardin, Rick Rushing and Jim Atchley.
From left, John and Sandra Butler, Rick Johnson and Betsey Bush.
Barbara and Bill Arant with UT Athletics Director Dave Hart, right.
Linda and Culver Schmid, left, with Ward and Tracy Phillips.
Wayne and Margaret Ritchie purchased one of the centerpieces.
Jed and Marsha Dance.
Rachel, left, and Liz Stowers.
Pam and David Jordan.
Natalie Haslam, left, and Bobbie Congleton.
Relaxing after the event: the history center’s executive director, Cherel Henderson, right, with Susan Arp.
Lynn Duncan is a fabulously good cook and hostess. That’s why when she offered at a recent fundraiser for Lincoln Memorial University’s School of Law (named for her husband, Congressman John J. Duncan Jr.) a dinner party for six, Alan and I snapped it up. The event was at the Duncans’ lake house in Bean Station, Tennessee.
The hostess with the mostess!
What a beautiful table set with the first course, shrimp cocktail.
The crystal is stamped with the Congressional seal.
When we saw these on the counter, we knew we were in for a treat! Aren’t they beautiful?
While Lynn prepared dinner, Congressman Duncan conducted a tour of the home.
Here’s what the grandchildren call the house.
We encountered another tree decorated totally in elves!
Knoxville City Councilman Duane Grieve loved the Wheaties box with Congressman Duncan’s picture on it!
You couldn’t help but notice some special pieces of furniture.
Of course, there were a few stories.
Soon, dinner was ready. Lynn is a fan of a local butcher near the house and, after tasting these steaks, we could see why.
Dessert was cherry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. (My husband, the dessert lover, was in heaven.)
A group shot after dinner. Back row, from left, Congressman Duncan, Alan Carmichael, Councilman Duane Grieve and Councilman Marshall Stair. Front row, from left, Lynn Duncan, Marsha Grieve and Natalie Stair.
Lovely parting gifts for each couple were White House Christmas ornaments. This year’s ornament, the 36th in the series, honors President Herbert Hoover.
We passed this cute Santa on the way out. What a special night.
Back in Knoxville, a group of friends who live downtown have a traditional progressive dinner during the holidays each year. But the schedules were so jammed that they decided to turn the event into a brunch, freeing the evening for other activities.
First course was at our place at Cherokee Lofts where these snowmen from Joppa Mountain Pottery welcomed everyone to the buffet table.
Another favorite seasonal prop is what we call our “weird angel.” She (he?) has many poses!
Homemade sweet potato biscuits with ham and a selection of accompaniments started the party.
If you ever are at my house and you see these, you will know you are among my favorite people. Their official name is Shrimp in Puff Pastry. But I call them “Pain in the Ass Shrimp” because of the number of steps involved in their preparation.
On the other end of the scale is the simplest appetizer of all time: prosciutto-wrapped asparagus. Three ingredients and into the oven!
Michael Foltz and his wife, Judith, are regulars on our progressives. They live in West Knoxville, but have a condo downtown.
Jeff Cupp and Monique Anderson catching up.
Gay Lyons. She has the best expressions on the Blue Streak!
Greetings from Bruce Anderson, right.
Here’s a great holiday drink for you: pink champagne with a Luxardo gourmet maraschino cherry dropped in.
Alan opening the bubbly.
Time to move! We headed to the condo of Tim Young and Jeff Cupp at Gallery Lofts on Gay Street above Mast General Store.
The table was festive and lovely!
You could spend all day just admiring all the beautiful things in this space. And it changes constantly. That’s Tim in the kitchen.
Jeff took this downspout from a historic building, turned it upside down and made a light fixture of it!
The cocktail napkins at this stop. Ha!
Bruce admiring one of Tim and Jeff’s trees.
Hmm. Wonder what Judith and Jeff are talking about.
Monique made the main course, which was served at this stop. It’s her mother’s recipe for Quiche Lorraine, and boy is it fantastic. Unfortunately for Monique, whenever she is involved in one of our progressives (which is every time!) we DEMAND that she make her Quiche Lorraine! Trust me, you would too!
I love this picture of Tim and Jeff in front of one of Tim’s favorite paintings — of eyeballs!
Time to go! On Wall Street, heading to Gay and Bill’s condo at Kendrick Place.
The Lyons’ sweet kitty, Fiona, greeted Judith.
Monique and Judith killing time — and trying to get hungry for dessert!
Gay made Ina Garten’s “Easy Cranberry and Apple Cake” for dessert. “‘Easy’ is part of the title. That’s what caught my attention,” Gay said. “I am not the best baker.” Well, she’s being too modest. She’s a great cook all the way around.
Unfortunately, one pie plate gave its life in the process!
Alan appreciated the sacrifice.
Jeff and Gay in the kitchen.
Drinks were Poinsettias. Perfect.
And another wonderful Christmas season with friends in the best town in America comes to a close.