California, Italy, France and a trout stream! We went all these places recently to raise funds for the KSO! Kinda.

Gay and Bill Lyons, who live in The Overlook condos on Hill Avenue, had the first course. They chose as their theme one of the KSO Pops concerts this season: “The Music of the Eagles!” Pay no attention to that exit sign behind Bill. Everyone knows that at the Hotel California, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!”

The Knoxville Symphony League’s “Elegant Dining” series of fundraising events is in full swing. In fact, there are only five left — and they are all sold out! Congrats to the League for this big success.

Earlier this month, a group of downtown friends agreed to the League’s request that we offer one of our downtown progressive dinners for sale as part of the series. So, Gay and Bill Lyons, Jacque and Cliff Hawks, Monique and Bruce Anderson and Alan and I agreed to do it for eight guests.

The hook? Each of the four courses had to be themed around one of the Knoxville Symphony’s performances during the 2021-2022 season! It was fun! We walked from home to home sampling a wide variety of dishes reflecting the huge diversity of the KSO’s programming this year. We called the evening “Musical Chairs.” Come along!

The Lyonses had a stand up start to our evening as everyone grazed on themed appetizers and relaxed into the event. From left, one of the hosts, Alan Carmichael; one of the guests, David Butler; and another host, Jacque Hawks.

Here’s Gay in the kitchen plating. In the background are the makings of her signature cocktail: “Laurel Canyon Lemonade!” With vodka and lemoncillo, it packed a delicious punch!

Guests Jenny Bushkell, left, and John Haynes with Gay.

Guests, from left, Linda Haynes, John Kelley and Ted Smith.

Guest Jackie Wilson, left, with host Monique Anderson.

The nibbles, clockwise from top left, “Fast Lane” Figs & Pigs; rumaki from the “Sad Cafe;” California-style roasted shrimp; “Seven Bridges” Squares.

Haha. Check out Gay’s earrings!

From left, host Bruce Anderson, guests Larry and Jenny Bushkell, guest Linda Haynes, host Monique Anderson, guests Jackie Wilson, Ted Smith and John Haynes.

Simba was unfazed by the commotion.

Need directions to the next stop? This signpost might come in handy!

Actually, the next stop was our place in the historic J.C. Penney Building on Gay Street.

I was so happy to get to use my china with dogwood blossoms on it. Seemed appropriate in April.

The theme of this course was the performance of Franz Schubert’s “The Trout,” which appeared on the Merchant & Gould Concertmaster Series. We served a classic Salad Nicoise — only we substituted smoked trout for the traditional tuna.

Jacque helped me plate and serve. (It takes a village!)

Cliff helped pour wine. (Gay has her to-go cup from the previous stop. Waste not, want not!)

Salad eaters.

Soon, we moved to Jacque and Cliff’s home in The Elliott, located on Church Avenue. Jenny Bushkell and Bill Lyons got friendly with Chopin, the cat.

Cliff again poured wine!

John Kelley, left, with Linda and John Haynes.

The theme for this stop was from the Merchant & Gould Concertmaster series performance called, “A Tour of Italy.” You won’t believe the menu: two homemade raviolis from two regions of Italy. Cappellacci di Zucca filled with butternut squash and a sage brown butter sauce (from the Emilia-Romagna region) and Agnolotti al Plin with a meat ragu filling served with pomodoro sauce (from the Piedmont region).

A scene from the kitchen. From left, hosts Bruce Anderson, Cliff and Jacque Hawks, Bill and Gay Lyons, Alan Carmichael and Monique Anderson.

We pressed the gentlemen into service duties! Here goes Bruce.

Followed by Cliff and Bill.

And then, Alan.

Great job, guys!

Here’s the ravioli with butternut squash filling.

And the one with meat ragu filling!

Jacque explaining the courses.

Meanwhile, the hosts got to eat a completely different meal in the kitchen. Jacque had prepared a baked pasta dish for us and I brought a big tossed salad — in a bowl that was made in Italy, natch!

Those plates look empty! That means it’s time to move on for dessert!

Monique and Bruce’s theme was drawn from the Merchant & Gould Concertmaster series performance of “Claire de Lune.” Guests would be enjoying Monique’s famous creme brulee at the Andersons’ home in The Glencoe on State Street.

David Butler approved.

So did Larry and Jenny Bushkell.

Well, frankly, I think everybody did!

The hosts got some extra cookies for their dessert.

Which made Alan happy. He likes these cookies called pirouettes so much that he describes them as “little tubes of joy!”

So, there you have it! If you saw 16 happy people traipsing around downtown on a Saturday night earlier this month, this is what was going on! Here’s to the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra!


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12 Responses to California, Italy, France and a trout stream! We went all these places recently to raise funds for the KSO! Kinda.

  1. Rachel Ford, on April 19th, 2022 at 2:51 pm said:

    We so appreciate everyone’s efforts! Thank you all for being amazing supporters of the KSO!

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on April 19th, 2022 at 3:02 pm said:

    Rachel: We had a blast! We were happy to do it!

  3. David Butler, on April 19th, 2022 at 3:41 pm said:

    What a great evening! What great hosts! And those ravioli. . . !

  4. Melinda Meador, on April 19th, 2022 at 3:46 pm said:

    Beautiful! How fun. Love the idea of Niçoise with smoked trout!

  5. Monique Anderson, on April 19th, 2022 at 6:34 pm said:

    Fun pictures

  6. Linda Campbell Haynes, on April 19th, 2022 at 9:05 pm said:

    It was the best, best, best elegant dining – you all out did yourselves! We had such a great time with everyone – the hosts and the guests! The evening just flew by! You were all so clever in the way you named each of the stops after one of the KSO concert performances! The delicious food and the lovely, unique homes, the gracious hosts all made this a night to remember! Thank you to each and everyone of you! John and Linda

  7. Cynthia Moxley, on April 19th, 2022 at 10:31 pm said:

    David: Thanks so much for coming!

    Melinda: Thanks for reading! We miss you so much.

    Monique: You were a great teammate! Thanks!

    Linda: Wow! We appreciate you and John coming and being such good sports as we dragged you all over downtown! We had fun, too!

  8. Gay Lyons, on April 20th, 2022 at 8:15 am said:

    What a fun night with good friends for a good cause. One of the guests asked if we do this all the time. Well, we sorta do! Many thanks to all the other hosts and to the guests for being good sports.

  9. Cynthia Moxley, on April 20th, 2022 at 8:21 am said:

    Gay: Yes, we downtown friends do have progressive dinners several times a year. And we have been doing that for a long time. But it’s a little more pressure when folks are actually paying to attend! Still, it was fun! Loved visiting the Hotel California!

  10. Dawn Ford, on April 20th, 2022 at 9:42 am said:

    The food looks amazing!!

  11. Gay Lyons, on April 20th, 2022 at 10:09 pm said:

    Mox: There was definitely pressure to make this progressive over the top special. I hope we delivered–for our guests, for KSL, & KSO.

  12. Ranee Randby, on April 21st, 2022 at 12:25 pm said:

    Looks so elegant, festive and YUMMY! I’m so happy to see Dr. Bushkell there too (he was my doc for many years — I won’t say how many!). It’s been years since I did ravioli, but now I’ve been inspired. Heck, I think I gained ten pounds just looking at the gorgeous photos (good job, Mox)!

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