Symphony Ball ‘springs’ into success!

Symphony Ball Chair Adrian Jay and her husband, Larsen, pose in one of the beautiful settings at The Quarry Venue, where this year’s Symphony Ball was held.

Through a combination of luck and nimbleness on the part of organizers, the Knoxville Symphony League just pulled off one of its most successful Symphony Balls ever. Set for March 25, the important fundraiser originally was scheduled to be held at the recently remodeled Marriott Hotel on Henley Street.

But, just a few weeks prior to the date of the benefit, the hotel notified ball organizers that it would not be possible for them to have valet parking at the formal affair. The hotel staff blamed that situation on the massive influx of hotel and Knoxville Convention Center visitors who would be in town for the Bassmaster Classic, often referred to as the “Super Bowl of fishing,” scheduled downtown that same weekend. The hotel was booked solid with guests and numerous events associated with the Bassmaster Classic.

This bit of bad news caused Symphony League folks to re-think holding the event at the Marriott in any case due to the traffic and other issues the crush of 100,000 fishing enthusiasts would have on downtown. But, what other facility could accommodate the event on such short notice?

Ball chair Adrian Jay and her team came up with a brilliant — if unorthodox — idea. And they pulled it off! The ball, whose theme was “Appalachian Spring,” was held at The Quarry Venue, an event space on Keller Bend Road in West Knox County. The weather could not have been better and the outdoor space was stunningly beautiful. What could be a more appropriate fit for the season-based theme?

With more than 270 folks in attendance — a sellout at $350 per head — the ball was a tremendous success. Congrats to all involved! (But, whew!)

Here’s what you like to see at the check-in! Symphony Development Director Mary Sue Greiner offering pink champagne!

Alan Carmichael on the trail to the cocktail party and silent auction tent.

We passed this.

And this.

And then we came upon our first destination.

Seeing Becky Benedict, left, the president-elect of the Knoxville Symphony League, and Jenny Kitts, a current co-president of the League, was a good sign.

Someone offering us a signature cocktail called “Bourbon Lemonade” was another good sign.

Violinist Sean Claire poses with Knoxville Symphony CEO Rachel Ford.

City Council Member Gwen McKenzie and Hancen Sale of the Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS.

From left, Michael and Judith Foltz with Alan Carmichael. Judith serves with me on the KSO board.

Ralph Cianelli, left, and Rick Fox, the incoming chair of the Symphony board of directors.

From left, Knoxville Vice Mayor Andrew and Sarah Roberto, Michael Foltz, KSO Music Director Aram Demirjian and Alan Carmichael.

Meghan and Jeff Markman.

From left, Jim Pugh, John Haynes and Steve Kitts considering silent auction bids.

As were, from left, Karen and Reinhold Mann, Lisa Hooper and Linda Haynes. Linda is on the KSO board by virtue of being past-president of the League.

Ha! Knoxville Symphony League’s Kim Cunningham seems to be enjoying caterer Holly Hambright’s signature candied bacon appetizer!

Carolyn and KSO board member Doug Leahy.

Lindsay and Lloyd Russell.

There were dozens of silent auction items ranging from golf outings to dinners. I loved this painting of a bear.

Sheryl Linck and Garry Conklin.

Bob Lederer and Kay Clayton.

Elizabeth Offringa, past-president of the League and member of the KSO board, and Sande MacMorran, who recently retired as the KSO’s principal tuba after 49 years.

Jim and Phyllis Nichols. She’s on the KSO board.

From left, Ralph Cianelli, Dara Canada, Moody Altamini and Rick Fox in front of a great background!

Sarah and Knoxville Vice Mayor Andrew Roberto.

Then, onward to the dinner tent!

And its lovely setting! From left, Jim and Phyllis Nichols with Alan Carmichael taking a load off! Isn’t it pretty and interesting?

Phyllis Nichols modeling the Italian-made 18K white gold cuff bracelet donated by Markman’s Diamonds for the live auction. It had 150 round brilliant-cut diamonds weighing 3.85 carats total and was valued at over $13,000! (She’s one of my best friends and I think she would have told me if she had won it and taken it home!)

Charley and Linnie Sexton. He’s chief creative officer and one of the new owners of Moxley Carmichael.

Inside, the long tables made a dramatic impression.

Appalachian Spring Chop Salad. Sweet pea shoots, watermelon radishes, fava beans, shaved asparagus, celery, snap peas, fennel, celery root, rainbow fingerling potatoes, Little Gem lettuce, cornbread and Green Goddess dressing. Wow! What a salad!

Sometimes, the simplest flowers are the prettiest.

From left, Hancen Sale, Gwen McKenzie, John Alzona and James Holden.

David and Lisa Bogaty.

KSO’s Kathryn Gawne, principal viola, and violist Joshua Ulrich.

From left, Patty and Robert Baird with Trish and Lyle Irish. He’s a KSO board member and CEO of the Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS.

I love this photo! It was Emily Lenn’s birthday, seated at left. Joining her to celebrate, clockwise from top left: her husband, Jerry Lenn; son, Chef Joseph Lenn of J.C. Holdway; and Joseph’s fiancee, Laura Cole.

Lewis Brewer looking dapper!

KSO Board Chair John Winemiller, left, with his husband, R.J. Hinde.

Violinist Sean Claire with Kim Cunningham.

The evening’s auctioneer, Dino Cartwright, with Melissa Miller Feinbaum.

Jenny Kitts, left, and Carolyn Lawrence, co-presidents of the Knoxville Symphony League, welcomed everyone.

Entree, cleverly called “Beef Copland:” grilled filet of beef tenderloin with jumbo lump crab cake with tarragon-green peppercorn demi-cream; swiss chard with garlic; sherried wild mushrooms; and tri-colored baby carrots in agrodolce. (I looked up agrodolce. It’s an Italian sweet-sour sauce!)

KSO Music Director Aram Demirjian stopped by our table and posed with Phyllis Nichols.

And then the Knoxville Symphony played. That’s the KSO’s concertmaster, William Shaub, in front.

Music Director Aram Demirjian making remarks.

Headlining the program was Jeff Midkiff, a mandolinist and composer.

Midkiff is one of the KSO’s most frequent guests and collaborators.

Dessert: “Midkiff Cherry-Berry Clafoutis.” Ha. It was served with chocolate shortbread and benne seed wafers.

Mary Sue Greiner, left, and Marga McBride striking a pose.

Moody Altamimi, left, and Marian Epps.

Incoming KSO Board Chair Rick Fox describing a dinner being auctioned off at his historic home.

Vicki Kinser.

Here’s a short excerpt from the evening’s concert:



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