Our Fort Worth friends know how to party for a cause, as evidenced by the Classically Cliburn Gala that lured 500 supporters to Ridglea Country Club for a music-filled affair.
As guests made their way down the piano-themed carpet, pianist Michael Reed greeted them with selections played on a gorgeous Steinway. Attendees also paused for photo ops as gala chairmen and sisters Tina Harrison Gorski, Anna Melissa Harrison Philpott and Marsha Harrison Kleinheinz welcomed everyone to this splendid event.
Once inside, the magnificence continued with floral arrangements by Russell Glenn and the sounds of Trio 3, who serenaded guests as they sipped champagne and mingled with friends.
But the biggest treat came in the form of a flash mob of pianists, who surprised the crowd with a rendition of “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Better still was the fact that the six pianists included 2013 Cliburn gold medalist Vadym Kholodenko, 1985 gold medalist José Feghali, Cliburn artistic consultant and FWSO principal keyboardist Shields-Collins Bray, Cliburn chairman Carla Thompson, Cliburn president and CEO Jacques Marquis, and Cliburn director of artistic planning Sandra Doan.
As the crowd — including Kimbell and Mitch Wynne, Cami and John Goff, Mercedes Bass, Carolyn Benson, Tommy Smith, Alice Walton, Whitney Hyder, Doug More, Ann and Ed Hudson, and Jeanne and Berry Cox — entered the ballroom for dinner, Atlanta-based Big Blast and the Party Masters, with their white dinner jackets and big band stands, hit the first note of “Fly Me to the Moon.” The meal that followed included beef tenderloin, poached salmon, and a crowd-pleasing piano cake created by Ridglea pastry chef Michael Hybki and executive chef Clifton Lee Van On.
Guests finished off the night on the terrace, with hand-rolled cigars and tawny port. They also bid on a one-of-a-kind Nicholas Varney pendant designed in memory of Van Cliburn.