Violinist Rachel Loseke introduces a piece to be performed in The Secret Garden, which was the third stop of our evening.
“Bach at the Botanicals” was a new endeavor by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra this year, but it was such a success that you can expect to see it again.
Held at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum on a beautiful, clear Thursday evening, it offered guests the option to bring their own chairs and experience small ensembles performing in seven different locations in the garden. It was free of charge.
“This was the first time we’d performed at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and it was a really fun, new way for the KSO to engage with the community,” KSO Executive Director Rachel Ford said. “The multiple settings were varied and gorgeous. The highlight of the evening was the moon over the Dogwood Center while the KSO played. Just stunning!”
The excellent feedback from patrons is what makes it almost certain to be a recurring event, Ford said. Our group thought it was fun to try to make it to all seven stops during the hour-and-a-half time frame.
Luckily, as you will see, we had a very serious time-keeper to keep us on track.
A view of the Holston River and rolling farmland made for a great setting for a Knox Heritage “Summer Supper.”
Knox Heritage scaled back the number of its popular fundraising “Summer Suppers” this year due to COVID-19 considerations, even making a couple of them virtual. But the ones they did have in person — generally in outdoor locations — continued to be the crowd pleasers they always were. Continue reading
UT Director of Athletics Danny White, center, chats with Pilot Founder Jim Haslam and CEO Shameek Konar during the reception. To White’s right is his wife, Shawn.
Well, football season has started with the team producing a win on the field, thank goodness. We witnessed another win, as well. Both Tennessee Head Football Coach Josh Heupel and Director of Athletics Danny White absolutely charmed a crowd of well-wishers at a recent welcome reception. Continue reading
Gatsby ladies, from left, Jennifer Roche, Kyle Anne Lang and Marilyn Cheek, staffed the refreshment table at the Great Gatsby Garden Party portion of the event. Cute!
It was a sellout at $150 per person a few Saturdays ago when 50 guests partied through time — four different decades to be exact — at Historic Westwood to benefit Knox Heritage.
One of the organization’s popular Summer Suppers, “Wanderlust at Westwood” as it was called, featured food, drink and entertainment from the Gilded Age, the Roaring Twenties, the Nifty Fifties and present day Knoxville — all experienced as it would have been like at the historic Kingston Pike mansion that today houses Knox Heritage.
At a time when the COVID numbers seemed to be waning a little, it was a delight to get out and experience music and camaraderie in the name of a good cause. I pray that people in our community opt to act responsibly and get vaccinated and follow the CDC guidelines so we can continue to have wonderful events and meaningful experiences. (Note that this event, mostly outdoors, was held prior to the CDC recently recommending wearing masks while indoors and practicing social distancing.) Continue reading
KSO Music Director Aram Demirjian chats with hostess Ruth Fielden prior to a performance in her living room last week.
From the Better Late than Never Department is a wonderful item to which Alan and I purchased tickets at the Knoxville Symphony Ball — in 2019!
It was Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Music Director Aram Demirjian’s Knoxville debut playing the cello — along with a wonderful dining experience at the fabulously renovated Cherokee Boulevard home of Ruth and Joe Fielden. (She’s a member of the KSO’s board of directors.)
The event was supposed to have been scheduled in 2020, but you know what happened to 2020. We were just happy that circumstances permitted the very special evening to occur last week.
Most of us know Aram Demirjian as the charismatic young conductor who joined the Knoxville Symphony in 2016 as the KSO’s eighth music director. He has won numerous accolades for his conducting prowess here. Most recently he was the 2020 recipient of The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award from The Solti Foundation U.S.
He is in demand nationally as a guest conductor, frequently taking the baton in front of The Philadelphia Orchestra.
But even before he was a conductor, he was a musician. He played cello both in his high school and at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. And he still plays — although not publicly. Last week marked his first time for that since coming to Knoxville five years ago. He was joined by Brian Salesky, artistic director of the Knoxville Opera, on piano and by KSO violinist Sean Claire. Continue reading
One of our regular hosts, Bruce Anderson, right, with our guests for the evening, Mark and Cathy Hill, during the first stop of our recent progressive dinner.
It was a couple of weeks ago and it seemed that the COVID numbers had leveled off. All of our regular progressive dinner club members had been vaccinated and so had our friends, Mark and Cathy Hill, who recently joined us as urban dwellers.
We like to have a guest couple for our progressive dinners, and we knew they were good sports and would like to see how other downtowners lived.
We needed a theme and we picked “French” since Bastille Day had recently passed — and we couldn’t think of any better idea. Besides, who can argue with an excuse to drink French wine, anyway?
Fast forward to today when, thanks to half the population that has stubbornly refused to get vaccinated, the COVID numbers are surging again. Pushed on by the highly contagious delta variant, it’s even infecting some who have been vaccinated, although not as severely. Many of us are starting to curtail our public activities again. So, I am particularly grateful that we got to have our progressive dinner when we did. Continue reading
Filed under: Downtown, Food
The widow and daughters of longtime VMC supporter Don Sproles — after whom this fundraiser was named — seemed to know almost everyone in the room. They are, from left, Amanda Thompson, Karen Sproles and Lauren Karnitz.
We knew we would enjoy the camaraderie and the wine and moonshine tastings on a recent Friday night at a fundraiser to benefit the Volunteer Ministry Center. But we didn’t know we’d love the music so much!
The 9th annual Don Sproles Memorial Wine and Shine was held at the Crowne Plaza downtown and, in addition to the tastings, featured a silent auction and a super successful live auction conducted by our friend Bear Stephenson. The emcee was another buddy, News Sentinel columnist Sam Venable.
The invitation had just said “live music to be announced.” It turned out to be a fun old-time string band called the Tennessee Stifflegs. I will include a sample of their performance at the end of this post so you can get a feel for how much fun they are!
The wine tasting was conducted by Dr. Carol Costello, professor emerita in the University of Tennessee’s retail, hospitality and tourism management department, and the moonshine was provided by Sugarlands Distilling Company. Tastemaker Ben Grierson led us through that. Continue reading
The interior of Osteria Stella.
I’ve noticed that many of our favorite restaurants these days have a sleek, spare feel to their decor. Minimalist, almost. Think Emilia or J.C. Holdway.
Well, Osteria Stella, the new Northern Italian eatery in Knoxville’s Old City, is not like that. Quite the opposite. It is lush and ornate. You really feel like you are in a much more formal setting than Knoxville, Tennessee. And that’s nice, for a change. Continue reading
Filed under: Food, Knoxville
Don Hough is the leader of the Don Hough Octet.
It wasn’t just the temperature that was hot on a recent Sunday afternoon in West Knoxville! It was the vibe and the excitement as supporters of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra got together at Maple Grove Estate for a fundraiser for the organization.
The Don Hough Octet threw down for two sweltering hours and, I swear, despite being drenched in sweat, the attendees could not get the silly grins off their faces. It was a combination of being together with friends in a beautiful outdoor location and the delight in some darn fantastic music.
Members of the Jazz Orchestra’s board of directors brought desserts and wine to the event, and I appreciate my friend Tom Shaw going to extra trouble to be sure my favorite libation was available! In addition to Don Hough, other members of the octet include Stewart Cox on trumpet, Will Boyd and Tom Johnson on saxophones, Ben Dockery on piano, Larry Vincent on guitar, Dave Slack on bass and Keith Brown on drums. Kelle Jolly dazzled, as usual, on vocals. Continue reading
Filed under: Events, Music
Christopher Ford, who with his cousin, Jonathan Ford, just opened Sweet P’s Uptown Corner in Fountain City.
It has been a pet peeve of mine and my husband for years. There’s a dearth of full-service eateries in North Knoxville. And even fewer if you are seeking one with a full bar. As much as we like it, we can only go to The Chop House so often!
Therefore, I am almost ecstatic that the new Sweet P’s Uptown Corner recently has opened at the visible and accessible corner of Sander’s Drive and Tazewell Pike in the Fountain City neighborhood.
“We noticed that this area is growing rapidly with a lot of younger families making up a good bit of that growth,” said Christopher Ford, who co-owns Sweet P’s with his cousin, Jonathan Ford. “We just thought they’d be attracted to a restaurant with table service and a full bar — but one that still has a casual vibe to it.”
The other Sweet P’s — known as Sweet P’s Downtown Dive — is located at 412 W. Jackson Ave., in downtown Knoxville. It has counter service rather than table service and only beer and a few canned wines as alcohol offerings. (We still love it, though!) So the new concept is quite a departure for the Ford cousins — but it retains the same great barbecue dishes and side dishes. In fact, it even has more food options than the downtown location with the addition of grilled chicken and more salads.