Next Symphony season: new, American & diverse!

Knoxville Symphony Music Director Aram Demirjian announcing the next classical season during a reception at the Emporium Center last night.

Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Music Director Aram Demirjian announced the 2020-2021 classical music schedule to season ticket holders last night — and boy is it a doozy.

“Next season is the clearest realization of what I envisioned the Knoxville Symphony would be doing when I started as music director,” the young maestro said during an interview after the announcement. “It’s collaborative. It’s artistically ambitious. And it’s extremely fresh in terms of what we are programming, while still maintaining the romantic symphonic repertoire that lies at the core of what orchestras do.”

Demirjian assumed the helm of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra in June 2016.

A look at the upcoming Masterworks and Chamber seasons — the Pops schedule  will be announced later — shows:

  • 25 percent of the pieces are by living composers.
  • 20 percent are written by women or members of underrepresented racial, ethnic or cultural heritage.
  • 32 percent of the pieces programmed are from outside the “traditional canon.”
  • 38 percent are by American composers.

Continue reading

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Doctors by day; rockers at night

Dr. Katherine Cameron, who was Knoxville’s first female urologist, performed with Whiskey Compass on behalf of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Whiskey Compass was the winner in the contest which was decided 70 percent by audience vote and 30 percent by judges.

Talk about seeing doctors in a whole new light! Five local rock and roll cover bands — all featuring area physicians — battled it out this past Saturday at the 15th annual Doc Rock event to raise money for local nonprofits. And, the best part? It was a blast!

The festivities — attended by several hundred fans — were at the Concourse at the International near downtown Knoxville. General admission tickets were only $20 each. But we sprang for the $100 VIP tickets — and we are glad we did. Those tickets provided access to a Buddy’s Bar-B-Q buffet, a less-crowded cash bar and, most importantly, tables with chairs to enjoy the music. For the general admission crowd, it was a standing event.

All five bands were surprisingly good, and the vibe was festive. We recommend this event, a first-time experience for us. But, DO splurge for those VIP tickets! Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Knoxville, Music | 10 Comments

Looking for a weekend trip? Hop over to Highlands

Cheryl Bartley, left, and Madge Cleveland enjoying their first bottle of sake of the night at Asia House.

For the 26th year, we took our annual girls’ trip on MLK weekend. But, in our case, MLK stands for “Madly Leaving Knoxville.” We choose this weekend because, over the years, several of us have worked for government agencies and this is the Martin Luther King holiday, extending the weekend and allowing recovery time for some.

We are lucky enough to have friends who own a beautiful condominium in Highlands, North Carolina (thanks, Mel and Jim!), so that’s where we headed this past  weekend. We knew the weekend would be rainy and we also knew some restaurants would be closed for the season, but we were confident we’d have a great time anyway.

Here are some of the fun things to do in Highlands — even on a frigid, wet January weekend. We did miss one of our regular members — Susan  Brown, who was in Finland. But, Katie Kline, Madge Cleveland, Cheryl Bartley and I made the most of it. We recommend the trip. Come along! Continue reading

Filed under: Food, Travel | 31 Comments

A great New Year’s resolution for event planners!

Tina Knight, the brand storyteller for Moxley Carmichael, previously served as manager of internal communications for Discovery, Inc. Tina shared for In Any Event what she learned as a corporate event planner – and how much EventCheckKnox would have helped. Enjoy this blog entry to start 2020! -Cynthia

Imagine it’s mid-January and you’re on edge because you need to get a date nailed down ASAP for an event in … October.

Tina Knight at Crissy Haslam’s First Lady’s Luncheon in 2013. Knight, who was with Scripps Networks Interactive (which became Discovery), produced the Garden Guide to celebrate the event, which was attended by more than 800 people. (Blue Streak photo)

It happened to me. So. Many. Times.

I was the most privileged of event project managers: generous budget, dedicated event space, extremely talented team that included professional event managers and a full production crew.

But it was not without challenges.

I had to wrangle the schedules of impossibly busy executives and board members for a large, publicly traded company while navigating around holidays (for every religion and for countries on four continents), school breaks, daylight saving time change, earnings report dates and more.

Inevitably, we’d set the date, then someone would remember that this gala or that event usually occurs around that time, and we have several local VIPs who have to be there. Back to the calendars I’d go. Continue reading

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Happy New Year! We cruised into 2020!

Dawn Ford at 11:38 aboard the Volunteer Princess Tuesday night.

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a great time bidding adieu to 2019 and welcoming 2020. We definitely did.

As downtown devotees, we usually end up in one form or fashion on Market Square for New Year’s Eve, but this year we opted for something entirely different. We booked a cruise down the Tennessee River on the Volunteer Princess with our friends Dawn and Richard Ford.

It’s still downtown. And we added a couple of other downtown stops before we boarded the yacht, but we never did make it to Market Square, which we heard hosted a record crowd for the fun events planned there.

The Volunteer Princess cruise featured champagne at boarding and at midnight; appetizers; a three-course dinner; and dancing to a DJ. We upgraded to a private table for just the four of us. I still thought the cost was reasonable — $100 per person for a three-hour cruise and everything I just mentioned. We bought some additional wine (of course) at very reasonable prices. Continue reading

Filed under: Downtown, Knoxville | 6 Comments

‘Job Well Done’ party honors Mayor Rogero

Host LeRoy Thompson with former mayor Madeline Rogero at the “Job Well Done” party in her honor last Friday.

There sure have been a lot of fun holiday parties this year. But one of the best ones had nothing to do with the holidays at all. It was the “Job Well Done” party that Nikitia and LeRoy Thompson threw in honor of Mayor Madeline Rogero.

Held at their lovely North Knoxville home, the party was last Friday — on Rogero’s last full day as mayor. The following morning, she would turn the office keys over to the newly elected mayor, Indya Kincannon, at the inaugural festivities at the Bijou Theatre.

Appropriately, Mayor Rogero was in a relaxed and celebratory mood on Friday night. “I just have to hope nothing disastrous happens in the next 12 hours or so!” she joked. And, fortunately, it did not.

The band, “Jazzy Lynn and the Guys,” was fantastic and had the dance floor (actually the living room) hopping from the get-go. LeRoy, who has a beautiful singing voice, was both emcee and vocalist. The food — barbecued meat of all kinds — came straight off the grill to be served with greens and pasta on a buffet. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Knoxville, Politics | 4 Comments

Moxley Carmichael dives into Christmas

The Moxley Carmichael staff — and their “plus ones” — at the holiday party last week. Missing from photo is Lauren Miller, our senior vice president, who was out sick. (Photo by Kayla Stover.)

Several years ago we moved the Moxley Carmichael staff holiday party out of downtown Knoxville and into Sevier County to support our neighbors after devastating fires gutted tourism there for a while. We knew they needed our business in the tough time. (Click here for a story on that party.)

But, this year, it was a downtown Knoxville business that needed our support. Sweet P’s Downtown Dive is being dealt a double whammy with the closing of the Jackson Avenue ramps to the east of the eatery and the Broadway Viaduct to the north for two separate construction projects. Continue reading

Filed under: Business, Downtown, Events, Knoxville | 15 Comments

Come for the history, stay for the hippopotamus

Madrigal singers from Webb School of Knoxville getting ready to perform during cocktail hour at the historic Craighead-Jackson House.

It has become one of our favorite holiday traditions to attend the annual Christmas fundraiser at Blount Mansion in downtown Knoxville. During this evening, guests get to see the handiwork of The Knoxville Garden Club, which decorates the historic home for the event.

The layout of Blount Mansion, which was built in 1792, practically guarantees that indoor fundraisers there will not include a program and speeches of any length because guests’ tables are spread through two rooms and it would be difficult to be heard in both spaces. But, by standing in the doorway between the two rooms, singers can entertain both groups. Thus: a delightful evening of great food (thanks, Northshore Brasserie), wine and Christmas carols. And NO speeches or videos. Yay. No wonder it was a fast sellout.

Blount Mansion, located at 200 W. Hill Ave., was built by William Blount, a signer of the U.S. Constitution who was the first (and only) territorial governor of the Southwest Territory. The Tennessee Constitution was largely drafted there in 1796. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Continue reading

Filed under: Downtown, Events, Historic preservation, Knoxville | 7 Comments

If you missed this Peruvian feast, ¡muy mal!

Tom and Lucia Findley, in matching Peru aprons, took guests on a culinary visit to Peru — for a good cause.

Thanks to the shrewd bidding by a couple of friends, eight of us last weekend took a culinary trip to Peru. Fortunately, the trek was only about 30 miles — to Tellico Village and the home of Tom and Lucia Findley.

This interesting and generous couple moved to Knoxville from Peru, her native country, and offered an authentic Peruvian lunch as an auction item at a Centro Hispano de East Tennessee fundraising event recently. That’s where Dawn Ford and Rosa Mar went in together to purchase it. And their invited friends also were the beneficiaries.

Tom and Lucia are one of those couples you sometimes hear about who are looking for a place to retire and visit locations all over the country and then choose East Tennessee to make their home. “When we came here, we just knew it was right for us,” Tom said. “I can’t explain it. We just knew.”

Lucia is not actually retired. After a career in banking and finance in South America, this multilingual (English, Spanish and Portuguese) ball of fire currently works as a Realtor with Lakeside Real Estate Group. Both she and Tom are active in the Tellico Village community — especially in all things culinary, from organizing cooking contests to informal gatherings. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Food | 5 Comments

Who lost their thong at the cookie exchange?

Madge Cleveland displays the mystery thong that showed up under the table at the cookie exchange yesterday.

It was almost time to exchange the cookies at the annual cookie swap and I had two important announcements to make.

1. We found a black thong beneath the dining room table. If you’d like to claim it, it will be hanging on the doorknob of the pantry in the kitchen.

2. Please do not eat the gingerbread dog house that Erin Donovan brought because she couldn’t get the icing to hold up its walls and she had to use a glue gun!

And, with that, a couple dozen ladies dove into the couple dozen or so types of cookies we had this year, our 17th straight holiday cookie exchange.

My friends and I love this way to kick-start the holiday season. Cookie exchanges are fun and easy. I will put the “rules” we use at the bottom of this post along with a link to the recipe for light Mediterranean orzo salad that I served at lunch and which several folks requested. Continue reading

Filed under: Downtown, Food | 15 Comments