The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra performing at nightfall this past Sunday at Ijams Nature Center.
You can’t beat this for a fundraiser. Imagine, if you will, a beautiful park with 500 fun-loving friends eating scrumptious food, sipping wine and then listening to an orchestra perform some of the best music in Western civilization. Pretty sweet, huh?
Stephen and April Harris are longtime presenting sponsors of Symphony in the Park.
That pretty much sums up the 28th annual Symphony in the Park, a fundraiser for Ijams Nature Center featuring music by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Astonishingly, in all those years, it never has rained on this outdoor event.
The theme for this year’s Symphony in the Park was “flight.” To that end, sculptor Derek White created a number of bird-related pieces and offered to donate 10 percent of the sales to Ijams. Maestro Lucas Richman, getting into the spirit of the evening, opened the one-hour concert with “Overture to La Gazza Ladra” by Gioachino Rossini. Translation: “The Thieving Magpie.” Cute. The concert also featured performances by local singer Logan Brill, who wowed us with her ethereal vocals.
This is a beautiful night made even more appealing by the fact that it concludes by 8:30, which is very good because it is on a Sunday.
This large crane sculpture by Derek White greets visitors to Ijams Nature Center.
Two guests at the Moxley Carmichael table were Jim and Phyllis Nichols.
Derek White birds on the lawn.
I thought the tables looked fresh and beautiful.
Here is sculptor Derek White, center, with his parents, Whitey and Ellen Hitchcock, during the cocktail hour and silent auction.
Ham biscuits were among the appetizers being passed.
From left, Diane Desvaux, Anna Ford and Joan Ashe
Ijams' executive director, Paul James, left, with my husband, Alan Carmichael.
Carol and Joe Pelliccia.
Mayor Madeline Rogero with News Sentinel Publisher Patrick Birmingham, center, and University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro.
From left, Grant Blevins, David Brill, singer Logan Brill and Les Cunningham
Sommerville and Bret Culbertson
The pimento cheese had a little kick to it and was fantastic.
Former Knox County Executive Tommy and Charlotte Schumpert
County Commissioner Dave and Pat Wright
One of Alan's favorite snacks
Here's another Derek White bird piece.
Lots of silver birds
This big feather was pretty cool!
County Commissioner Mike and Jan Brown
From left, Janell, Bill and Lauren Cecil
From left, Betsey Bush, Dr. Michelle Brewer, Jackie Wilson, Sarah Nielsen and Mary Johnson
Evelyn and Tom Shaw
Kristin and Eric Seabrook
Jon and Mintha Roach
Ha! Look at these three great purses! Mintha is planning a trip to Charleston, S.C., where she got hers, and the other ladies placed orders for her to bring them each back another one, as well! That's Sherri Lee in the center and Betsey Bush on the right.
They are beautiful, aren't they?
When it was time to go to our tables, we found plates of this herbed focaccia waiting for us. Yum.
I was delighted to see the little jars of pickled okra scattered around the table. Love, love okra!
Our table was well prepared in many ways!
Knoxville's favorite diva, Mary Costa, center, with Marilyn and Chris Burkhart getting ready to take their seats. Mary is still so stunning, isn't she?
This was my favorite dinner item: black-eyed pea salad served on top of coleslaw. The combination of creamy and crunchy was amazing.
Jennifer and John Duncan
The main course was fried chicken. What could be more perfect for a picnic in the park?
Vice Mayor Nick Pavlis, who joined us at the Moxley Carmichael table, is a leg man!
Amy and Tim Williams
Sweet! Marilyn and Patrick Roddy
More lovebirds: Holly and Russ Watkins
Doug and Melissa White
April Harris, left, with David and Sandy Martin
A snake was spotted on the top level, far left. Yikes! (It was pointed out to me that they live there, and we are just temporary guests. But, yikes!)
Lyle and Trish Irish were guests at the News Sentinel table.
Steve Bowman and Diana Condon of the News Sentinel
Ray and Jackie Fisher
Keyes and Melissa Williamson
County Commissioner Tony and Jani Norman
Knox County Trustee Craig and Brenda Leuthold
County Law Director Bud and Patti Jo Armstrong
Mary Thom Adams of Ijams gives an interview to WATE-TV.
Tasha Mahurin, left, hosting the Knoxville Focus table, with Anita Lane.
Terry and Rachel Ford. She's executive director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.
Angela Howard, center, with her mother, Sue, and boyfriend, Rick Stone
Mark and Cathy Mamantov
Then came Alan's favorite part of any meal: dessert. In this case, little lemon tarts.
Carol Evans, right, received The Spirit Award for her work as executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation. Bestowing the honor is Karyn Adams, chair of the Ijams Board of Directors.
Getting ready for the performance are, from left, Jennifer Barnett, the KSO's director of education and community partnerships; Maestro Lucas Richman; Stacy Taylor, KSO's director of operations; and Concertmaster Gabriel Lefkowitz
Maestro Richman explaining one of the pieces. The nightfall added drama, don't you think?
Vocalist Logan Brill
Our buddies Mickey Mallonee, left, and Gay Lyons after the show.
Big kudos to caterer Nancy Kendrick, here with my husband, Alan.