Evening Under the Stars even better with fun addition

Natalie Dowling, left, and Mollie Turner were co-chairs of this year’s Evening Under the Stars.

One of Knoxville’s best fundraisers — Evening Under the Stars benefiting the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra — has gotten even better this year.

The annual dinner and dancing soiree, held in a huge tent at the beautiful lakeside home of Sherri Lee, was tweaked to add a pre-dinner cocktail hour on a lovely lawn area near the tent. The benefit of moving the cocktail hour out from under the tent is that it was easier to talk and to circulate before being seated for dinner and dancing.

The party was a sellout, as usual, with tickets going for $275 each. By The Tracks Catering did a great job — especially with the inspired passed appetizers, as you will see in these photos. Of course, the highlight of the evening always is the live performance by the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra both prior to dinner and during dancing later. Another great addition this year: high school prodigy Mimi Terry performed on keyboards during the dinner portion of the night.

Hostess Sherri Lee left, with Knoxville Jazz Orchestra founder and leader, Vance Thompson, and his wife, Emily.

Arriving guests were steered toward this beautiful manicured lawn for cocktails and mingling.

From left, Ricky Kennedy, Jim Harness and Kevin Grimac, the chair of the Jazz Orchestra’s board of directors.

From left, Amber Collier, Taylor Crist, Barbara Crist, Sandi Swilley and Nazzy Hashemian.

Janet Testerman and Joey Creswell.

Nancy Voith and Kenneth Stark.

John Trotter, left, with Brenda and Charlie Tombras.

Judith Foltz, left, and Birgit Clark.

Cynthia and Pete Sowa.

Jane and Kenneth Creed.

Cindy Hassil, center, with Elizabeth and Michael Grant.

Aaron White, left, and Mark Hill.

Ralph Cianelli, left, and Rick Fox.

From left, Michael Foltz, Joey Creswell and Alan Carmichael.

I loved the sweet flowers on the tables during the cocktail hour.

And here are those fantastic passed appetizers. Clockwise, from top, crispy polenta bites with wild mushroom compote and shaved gouda; smoked trout and sweet onion marmalade on benne seed flatbread; house kettle chips, domestic caviar, crème fraiche and chervil; and summer squash fritters, goat cheese and Green Goddess dressing.

Don’t you agree that the addition of the lawn party was brilliant?

The approach to the dinner tent.

From left, Yuka Williams, Glo Klarich and Alan Carmichael.

Jerome Miller.

Jan Bechtel, left, and Janice Mitchell.

Tom and Evelyn Shaw.

Ron and Carolyn Lawrence.

Moody Altamimi, center, with Sheryl Linck and Garry Conklin.

Mollie Turner, right, and her mother, Mimi Turner.

Mimi Terry performed during dinner.

More beautiful centerpieces.

Don Hough, a member of the KJO, and Jan Bechtel.

Birgit Clark and Ashley Capps.

Edie and Gil Volk.

It was an amiable bunch!

Dinner was, clockwise from top left, fall squash apple soup with lump crab, apple, fennel and candied pecans; salad of arugula, hazelnuts, muscadines, chevre and Appalachian pawpaw vinaigrette; dessert was chocolate budino with dulce de leche and sea salt; the two entrees were wood-grilled filet of beef with roasted fingerling potatoes, caramelized leeks, smoked bacon and house steak sauce and seared grouper with roasted cauliflower, baby kale and pickled ramp hollandaise sauce.

And then the dance music started!

And everyone hit the floor!

Jon Hamar on bass.

Kay Clayton and Michael Foltz cutting a rug.

Tom Johnson on sax.

Nazzy Hashemian and Ralph Cianelli.

Bill Swann on keyboards.

Jim Brown and Susan Seymour. Ha!

Vocals by Kayley Farmer.

As you can see, a very fun evening!


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3 Responses to Evening Under the Stars even better with fun addition

  1. Gay Lyons, on October 9th, 2023 at 3:10 pm said:

    Everything looks absolutely lovely. With Natalie & Mollie as co-chairs, it was bound to be fabulous. Great setting, great food, and great music from the KJO–a winning combo.

  2. Jan Bechtel, on October 9th, 2023 at 3:19 pm said:

    Great coverage of a wonderful event! Gorgeous music, delicious food and fun guests! The best!!

  3. Cynthia Moxley, on October 9th, 2023 at 10:26 pm said:

    It really is one of the best events of the year! Congrats to all involved!

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