Melding of music and nature nets perfect Sunday

Knox County Commissioner Larsen Jay and his wife, Adrian, who is on the Symphony Board, made the most of the beautiful evening.

Among the top five best events in Knoxville every year is Symphony in the Park. Held this past Sunday at Ijams Nature Center, it features a performance by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra in the beautiful setting that is Ijams. Funds raised benefit the 315-acre nature park.

Whereas last year, for the first time in the event’s more than 30-year history, the Knoxville Symphony performed under tents in a strong rainstorm, this year the weather was perfect. As was the music, which ranged from Mozart, Beethoven and Bartók to Lady Gaga and the Beatles. Perhaps the most interesting part of the evening featured vocalist Christina Horn performing with some electronic instruments, which are her trademark.

“This is so exciting,” said my friend Judith Foltz, currently the city of Knoxville’s director of special events and former development director for the Knoxville Symphony. “I am so happy to see the Symphony moving in this direction and trying to appeal to new audiences.”

More than 400 people attended this year’s Symphony in the Park and I know that, like me, they loved the music, the food and the accompaniment of many noisy insects whose chirrups seemed to meld with the KSO in a jangle of music and nature.

Mingling during the cocktail hour and silent auction are, from left, Mardel Fehrenbach, Sheena McCall and Theresa Stone.

And, from left, Pete and Cynthia Sowa with Bob and Layne Velarde.

This passed appetizer, which included both shrimp and bacon, was a big hit during the cocktail hour. Food was by Nancy Kendrick and her staff at Creative Catering of Knoxville.

Cindy Hassil, left, and Amber Parker, development director and executive director of Ijams, respectively, were greeting guests as they arrived.

Mabre LaFollette, animal program coordinator at Ijams, let this rescued possum make itself at home on her shoulder as she mingled with the guests.

Although the possum was very used to Mabre because she works with her all the time, guests were warned not to touch her “just in case.”

Debbie Emery, left, and Robin Smith looked beautiful.

Bruschetta stuffed mushrooms.

Chris Stapler and Andrea Bailey during cocktails.

The tables were beautiful. Guests were allowed to purchase the stunning centerpieces designed by Matthew Cummings of Pretentious Glass Co.

Here’s another of those centerpieces.

Audrey Eason, center, of Clayton Homes, the event’s presenting sponsor, with Annette and Scott Brun.

The beef tenderloin crostini were a repeat from last year due to their popularity.

Nell and Paul Kedrow, standing, with Steve and Mary Ellen Brewington at the Est8te table as dinner was about to start.

Alan Carmichael, center, with our friends Richard and Dawn Ford.

Grilled chicken, served family style, was the entree.

We are proud of our friends Lynne Fugate, left, and Janet Testerman for offering themselves for public service by running for City Council. Please vote for them. That’s Janet’s husband, Joey Creswell, in the center.

I love succotash!

Ron and Carolyn Lawrence, left, and Evelyn and Tom Shaw at the Thermal Label Warehouse table.

The salad was a salute to late summer with its watermelon, peaches and feta cheese.

Edie Volk gets ready to pass the chicken to her hubs, Gil.

Get a load of this dessert! A kind of bread pudding — but made with pound cake!

Some folks like to sit up on the ridge.

That’s where we found these folks. From left, Mardel Fehrenbach, Sheena McCall, KSO Executive Director Rachel Ford and her husband, Terry.

Bill Bruce was at their table.

Charles Daily, left, with Bill and Alexa Riley. Bill is the president of the Knoxville Symphony Society board.

Dottie and Foster Arnett, left, with Beth and Bo Townsend. Bo is the former longtime executive director of Ijams and now serves as president of the nature center’s board.

At The Trust Company of Tennessee table, from left: Meredith Sloan, Lindsay Cates (standing), Trish Hoffman, Denise Ledden, Andy Hubbard, Celia Winchester, Matt Prince, Susanne Hauk and Charlie DeBevoise.

Sherri Lee, left, with Culver and Linda Schmid.

Maureen and Neil McBride.

John Niceley and Martha Kern from Strong Stock Farm, whose wagon ride always is a big hit at the silent auction. (Having won it twice, Alan and I were beat out on it this year.)

Susan Seymour, left, with Alan and Kim Ciukowski.

Michael and Judith Foltz.

Great seeing Dick and Ann Ray, left, at the table with Sue and Ron Hamilton. Sue is director of the UT Gardens.

Beth Ford and Mike Driskill.

Ann and Gaines Pittenger with Angelia Nystrom, right.

Anna and Tom Ford.

By now, the orchestra members were tuning up.

Here’s the view from the musicians’ standpoint.

And the music began with a movement from a Mozart symphony.

Music Director Aram Demirjian in action.

Associate Principal Timpanist Michael Combs.

Principal Horn Jeffery Whaley. The beautiful glass balls are by Pretentious Glass.

Soloist Christina Horn wowed them.

Shortly after 8:30. We hated to see it end.

The KSO musicians mingled with the guests for a few minutes after the performance. From left, Ted Kartal, Steve Benne and Steve Clark.

Loved running into our friend Carissa Stolting as we were waiting to check out with our silent auction purchases. We want to see more young folks like her at KSO events.

 

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