Ooh La La
Dallas Symphony Orchestra whisks guests to Paris for très chic concert + gala
One of autumn's most elegant galas got an international twist on September 30, when the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center channeled France for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's "An Evening in Paris."
Chaired by Kim and Greg Hext, with Diane and Hal Brierley serving as honorary chairs, the black-tie evening began with an interactive Champagne wall that doubled as a fun photo backdrop.
Twinkling Eiffel Towers dotted the Hart Lobby, and a trio of Young Strings musicians played a charming serenade as guests found their seats for a dinner of Aberdeen Angus filet mignon.
Following the live auction, where such packages as four nights at a Cabo penthouse and golf with DSO music director Fabio Luisi raised big bucks, the crowd headed into the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall for the program.
They were welcomed by DSO’s president and CEO Kim Noltemy, the Hexts, and Cece Smith, chair of the Dallas Symphony Association’s Board of Governors.
“Throughout its history, the Dallas Symphony has been a driving force in developing Dallas’ cultural identity as a vibrant international city,” said Noltemy. “Now one of the top orchestras in the country, the DSO connects with millions of people locally and around the world each year through concerts, recordings, radio broadcasts, online and TV shows, and education programs.”
“Art and music are an integral part of a well-rounded education, and the educational programming that tonight’s event supports enhances our community and opens doors for our city’s youth,” said Hext. “The Dallas Symphony is one of our city’s greatest treasures.”
After her remarks, Hext introduced Smith, who further highlighted the DSO’s education initiatives, including the new Jeanne R. Johnson Education Center, slated to open in fall 2024.
“The Dallas Symphony’s education programs are a bold investment in the future of this city,” said Smith. “We are proud to have one of the most robust instrument training programs in the country, serving more than 900 students each year.”
Noltemy recognized the 2023 gala sponsors, including Capital One and J.P. Morgan Chase, as well as members of the Dallas City Council and several arts community leaders who were in attendance, including Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins and Paul Ridley.
Gala patrons enjoyed a performance led by Luisi, which featured mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, who dazzled in her DSO debut with selections from Bizet’s Carmen; and a stunning performance of Chopin favorites by pianist Emanuel Ax.
Among those showing their support for the 2023 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala were: Lucy and Henry Billingsley, Mary Cook McDermott and Dan Patterson, Grace Cook, Carol and Don Glendenning, Lisa and Clay Cooley, Zenetta Drew, Marena and Roger Gault, Tara Lewis and John Swords, Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger, Jan Miller and Jeffrey Rich, Anne and Steve Stodghill, Venise and Lawrence Stuart, and Donna and Herb Weitzman, the chairs of last year's gala.
During the afterparty, appropriately themed “Midnight in Paris” and chaired by Jane Humphrey and Samantha Wortley, guests queued for macarons, petit fours, crepes, coffee, and custom cocktails before dancing the night away to a rousing set by Q the Band. (Slippers were helpfully provided for anyone seeking comfort from too-high heels.)
Proceeds from the gala benefit the DSO’s education and community programs. Next year's gala is already set for September 28, 2024, so mark your calendars.