Symphony League celebrates success in trying year

Evelyn Shaw, the newly installed Knoxville Symphony League president, wields the gavel as past co-president Elizabeth Offringa looks on.

About 80 members of the Knoxville Symphony League seemed almost giddy to get together this week at a celebratory Cherokee Country Club luncheon.

It was the League’s annual business meeting and also the time when new officers are installed and — most importantly — the League presents the Knoxville Symphony Society with a check for the amount the League has raised during fundraisers throughout the season.

Almost unbelievably, the League presented the Symphony Society with over $105,000! Plus an additional $2,500 for the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra. This is amazing, considering that most events including the popular Elegant Dining dinners were canceled and the usually packed Symphony Ball was moved to a virtual platform. (Not to mention that most Knoxville Symphony performances were canceled, as well.)

“We were so impressed with the work you did this year,” Knoxville Symphony’s Executive Director Rachel Ford told the group. “You went above and beyond what everyone thought was possible and we really appreciate your support and dedication to the Knoxville Symphony.”

The new League president, Evelyn Shaw, accepted the gavel from the previous co-presidents, Linda Haynes and Elizabeth Offringa. She said the League will concentrate on increasing its membership this year through teas and wine events.

Cecilia Whittington, left, and Barbara Furlong.

Barbara made packs of shortbread for everyone to bring home! Wow!

Tom Shaw and KSO Executive Director Rachel Ford.

KSO Music Director Aram Demirjian with Tessa Lark, the solo violinist for this week’s Moxley Carmichael Masterworks concerts.

From left, Edie Volk, Rose Moseley, Becky Paylor and Gay Lyons.

From left, Peggy Wilson, Audrey Duncan, Margie Carico and Carmella Stair.

Cherokee Country Club did its usual good job with the lunch fare. The chocolate mousse alone was worth the price of admission!

The centerpieces — including a lovely silver pitcher at each table — were provided by League member Jenny Kitts.

Tom Shaw entertained on the piano prior to lunch.

Rachel Ford thanking the League members for their hard work and dedication.

Outgoing co-presidents Linda Haynes, left, and Elizabeth Offringa, right, presented Margie Carico with the Honorary Director Award. They praised her hard work for the League and described her as a “fashionista.” When she took the podium, she chuckled, “I do get flashy!”

Gay Lyons, editor of VIP Knoxville magazine, received the Business Honoree Award.

Elizabeth Offinga, left, and Linda Haynes gave Maestro Demirjian the Individual Honoree Award.

“Never give a conductor a microphone!” he quipped before making brief remarks. Ha.

Violinist Tessa Lark, from Richmond, Kentucky, combines classical music with bluegrass. (I believe there are a few tickets available for her performance tonight at the Tennessee Theatre). Ironically, she was scheduled to be the first guest artist this season. But, due to cancellations and rescheduling because of COVID-19, she is the last guest artist of the season!

Lewis Brewer is the official photographer of the League. He does a great job — and has fun doing it!

From left, Evelyn Shaw, Tracy Carico and Mary Sue Greiner, the KSO’s director of development.

Cathy Briscoe-Graves, left, with Cynthia Sowa.

Barbara Furlong, left, with Jan Crawford and Evelyn Shaw.

Anna Hinds dressed for the theme of the event, which was, “Spring is in the Air!”

The Shaw family showed up in force! Seated, from left, Olivia, Evelyn and Liz Shaw; standing, Tom Shaw, left, and Adam Shaw.



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5 Responses to Symphony League celebrates success in trying year

  1. Kim M Davis, on May 21st, 2021 at 5:50 pm said:

    Thank you for such a wonderful article on a hard working group of women (and men)! I miss my ladies and friends and hope to get back up there to see some of them soon.

  2. Alice Mercer, on May 22nd, 2021 at 10:44 am said:

    So glad the League continues its great support of the Symphony, but I’m not surprised at all!
    Thanks for the good article, Cynthia!

  3. Gay Lyons, on May 22nd, 2021 at 3:13 pm said:

    You’re correct about the giddy feel in the room. People were so happy to see each other and, of course, thrilled at the level of the KSL’s support during this difficult time. It was sweet of them to thank me for my support. Spreading the word about the great work of the League and other groups in the community is the most important part of my job (besides spelling names correctly).

  4. Georgiana Vines, on May 22nd, 2021 at 4:28 pm said:

    Like the Shaw family photo. Everyone looks happy!

  5. Cynthia Moxley, on May 27th, 2021 at 10:51 pm said:

    Kim and Alice: It was great to have such an upbeat event to cover in the Blue Streak!

    Gay: You really deserved that award! Congrats!

    Georgiana: They were happy! Tom told me that they surprised Evelyn – she only knew that Tom was coming!

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