Even non-scotch drinkers like “Scotch & Strings!”

KSO violinist Sean Claire was a guest — not a performer — at the most recent Scotch & Strings. He’s pictured here with his friend, Mary Knepper.

I have come to really look forward to the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra‘s lively little fundraiser called “Scotch & Strings” — even though I’m not a scotch drinker.

A sellout every year, it’s a friendly gathering of 90 folks who throw themselves into the food, whisky and camaraderie of the cozy event held at Boyd’s Jig & Reel in Knoxville’s Old City. And the music — provided this year by the KSO’s principal string quartet — is an eclectic mix of Scottish tunes, Appalachian folk, and classic rock-and-roll narrated by the four players in an approachable, casual manner. And you can’t beat the price — $75 includes tastings of four Scotch whiskies plus a bounteous buffet of Scotch fare.

As for me, I usually give away my scotch tasting tickets to someone who seems to enjoy the beverage and spring for — what else? — Pinot Grigio.

You can’t enter Boyd’s Jig & Reel without getting a huge smile on your face, so it’s always an upbeat audience. And it’s also a different crowd from most KSO events, attracting not only the regular classical music fans, but younger people who may be attracted by  the food and libations as well as the entertainment. 

Thanks to the generous sponsors: Boyd’s Jig & Reel, Empire Distributors, Hickory Construction, UT Federal Credit Union, David and Ying Ayliffe, John and Linda Haynes, and Elizabeth Offringa.

The Knoxville Symphony’s principal string quartet. From left, Gordon Tsai, Edward Pulgar, Andy Bryenton, and Kathryn Gawne.

It was a packed house on a Sunday evening.

Kim Henry, left, and Lea Anne Law.

Linda Cooper and Trey Estrada seemed to enjoy the company they had in the window seat!

Tracy and Dan Heard.

From left, Marti Lewis, Mike and Debbie Emery, J.W. Wallace, Jay Craig, and Larry Lewis.

Principal viola Kathryn Gawne introducing a selection.

This is just a portion of the options available on the buffet! The Scotch eggs and fish bites seemed to be the biggest hits. And the fries, of course! Clockwise from top left: Scotch eggs, mac and cheese bites, green beans, fish bites, veggies and cheese, and fries.

Sara Strong and Chris Hathhorn.

Associate Concertmaster Gordon Tsai.

Katherine and Arthur Moore.

From left, John and Linda Haynes, Elizabeth Offringa, and Sande MacMorran. (Sande, a musician himself, had just come from playing a gig. Thus the tuxedo!)

Principal second violin Edward Pulgar.

Allison and Thomas Miller with Charles Daily, at right.

Elizabeth and Michael Grant.

Principal cello Andy Bryenton.

Alan Carmichael.

From left, Don and Lois Lucas with Judy and Brock Bigsby.

Josh Thornton, standing, the KSO’s development director, works the room.

I thought it was so sweet that Gordon Tsai has a picture of his daughter, Olivia, in his violin case.

I don’t normally like taxidermy. But I thought these were pretty funny!

Server Forace Avant let me take a photo of the back of his shirt. Appropriate!

Hard-working KSO staff members posed at the end of the evening. From left, Trianne Newbrey, director of communications; Josh Thornton, director of development; Deanna French, development manager; and Cory Wilhite, director of operations.

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2 Responses to Even non-scotch drinkers like “Scotch & Strings!”

  1. Kathy Brennan, on March 12th, 2024 at 4:49 pm said:

    Great photo of your “Principal” Alan! Sounds like a fun Event.

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on March 12th, 2024 at 8:33 pm said:

    Ha! Will tell him you called him that! He will love!

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