Happy New Year to all. I will backtrack and share with you last month’s holiday social happenings. We shall start with the ever-so-wonderful women of the Horticultural Society at Cheekwood. Sarah Keith Maxcy oversaw a festive weekend starting with Jingle in the Mansion, cocktails and dinner with the chance to view the elegant trees of Christmas. The mansion looked gorgeous; the Cheeks would have been proud of their former home. Kates Fine Catering provided the spread, which was a good one since it is the same menu from year to year but, make no mistake, a wonderful menu of tenderloin, stuffed tomatoes, asparagus, etc.—comfort food at the Mansion.
Pat Patrick and band led the patrons to an early evening of dancing in their holiday attire. Those enjoying the holiday spirit included Mary Follin and Bill Bivens, Woody and Linda Sims, Jo and Ben Doubleday, Nan and Neil Parrish, Kerri Anderson, Gary and Rachael Oldham, Barbara and David Rodgers, Kim and Edie DeMoss, Lee Pratt and Neil Krugman, Totty and Jimmy Bradford, Lin and Bill Andrews.
My favorite tree was by Geny’s Wholesale Florist, all white and silver with silver reindeer hidden in the tree. A few years back, the powers that be of Cheekwood realized that this evening needed a little young energy, so Martinis and Mistletoe was created for Nashville’s young social set. This party started at 9 p.m. in Botanic Hall. Talk about a party—500 plus arrived in limos, cabs, buses…everything but Santa’s sleigh (only because no one thought of that), ready to get down and party! Martinis chairs Reed Harrison and Liza Maxcy welcomed all of the who’s who of Nashville’s upcoming social generation.
I must tell you how excited I was to be carded at the door. Others with IDs in hand were Brett Morris and Sarah Townsend, Amy Scruggs, Laureen Sites, Grace Clayton, Billy Pritchett, Edward Coble, Tony Rose Jr., Graham Worsham, John Clayton (my nephew—he is so glad to be of age) with Julian Scruggs and Kenneth Adams and Santa (now this was trouble in the making!). The Liles boys, William and Layton, arrived in a huge limo with some 20 people inside already partying. Proud parents of the chairs, Celeste Reed and Don Welch, Sarah Keith and Lee Maxcy joined in all the mistletoe madness. The best quote of the evening came from Hugh Howser Jr.: “Where would we be without the Horticultural Society but in a sea of weeds.” That just about sums up this wild and crazy party.
And you think that was all at Cheekwood? No way. There was Breakfast with Santa, chaired by Pam Harnes and Fran Overby, and Sparkling Settings, a luncheon in Botanic Hall held on the following Monday. The lunch crowd had the pleasure of viewing holiday tables decorated by table hosts. Chairs Babs Freeman and Kim DeMoss presented the winners’ tables which were themed in decoration Tickled Pink (Babs’ table honoring her first grandchild, Katie), Christmas at Camelot by Rosemary Mortimer, Gayle Jaggers, Marilyn Harwell, Cynthia Van Ryn, and Lucy Bolding. There was a silent auction, which was most clever—different garden clubs put themed baskets together. They were great and full of useful items. Congrats to Jean Bowden for coordinating the auction. Peggy Warner, Nan Parrish, Sandy Zeigler, Louise Martin, Gray Thornburg, Patsy Petway, Patsy Weigle, Nants Reynolds, Annie Laurie Berry, and Joyce Hitt were all bidding on these creative holiday baskets. (You may have gotten one under the tree if you were good.) OK, lock those doors at Cheekwood. It is always a wonderful weekend to start off the Christmas season!
Jingle This, a wonderful concert featuring Nashville in Harmony, was held at the Blair School of Music. Nashville in Harmony is Music City’s first and only music performance group of GLBT persons and friends. Their mission is to build community and create social change through listening to music. The group was founded in 2004 under the sponsorship of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville. It was a most enjoyable concert under the direction of Don Schlosser, Eric Tyson and Claire Mily, board president. The chorus presentation was great and must not be missed in the spring for their next upcoming concert.
It would not be the holidays without wild and crazy Myles Maillie hosting his annual holiday get-together. Myles welcomed hundreds of his friends to his white house on White Avenue. Great food was prepared by a new chef in town, Matt Reasoner. Matt prepared and served the food wearing cowboy attire and hat—kind of reminded me of The Naked Cowboy of Times Square. I suggested to Matt that he should become known as the “Cowboy Chef.” We shall see. Buying and viewing Myles’ creative art were Julie and Frank Boehm, Laurie Williams, Leeann and Jay Barron, Doug and Robinson Regan, Nelson Hester and Taylor Thornton, and John and Laura Tarpley. I must add that the interior of Myles’ home is also all white. Cool man!
Not since my childhood days remembering my grandparents and parents entertaining have I been to a party as fine as the one that Martha Ingram and Patricia and Rodes Hart hosted for the patrons of the Symphony Ball. Guests were cordiality welcomed into the lovely Ingram home with both Mrs. Ingram and the Harts greeting each and every guest and thanking them for being there. True Southern hospitality as its best. There is no comparison between a lovely home party and one at a hotel or any other social event venue.
The Ingram home is full of old charm with a comfortable, welcoming feel, overstuffed upholstery, Fortuny curtains, porcelains…I was right at home! Libby Page and Elizabeth James did their magic in the home as well as under the two-tiered clear tent. Not a flower of color was seen but all white orchids, lilies, amaryllis, and roses. Libby created a hedge garden of amaryllis that surrounded a replica statue from the west pediment of the Parthenon Illissos. This sculpture was so big it was delivered on a huge, flatbed truck that stopped traffic on Harding Road. By the way, this sculpture just happened to be stored in Shelby Green’s warehouse of treasures here in town.
Greek Antiquity was the theme of the evening. I was told that Martha Ingram created this idea while in Greece this past summer. The tent was clear, with a Chippendale black railing surrounding the floors, which were carpeted in a soft cream hue. Tables were draped in green and soft matte silver damask cloths. The centerpieces were breathtaking white orchids and amaryllis contained in large concrete urns surrounded by green wreaths. Columns with Ionic capitals were used to look like tent supports. Different areas of the two-tiered tent were draped in soft white sheer fabric that was backlit in a soft cream hue. I pay attention to the smallest details, and let me tell you even the dinner menu card had the patron name engraved on it, no calligraphy. Speaking of dinner, the Greek theme was followed throughout, consisting of avgolemono, a traditional Greek soup of chicken and rice in a rich lemon broth; Arni Me Spanki, rosemary roasted lamb with moussaka; sautéed spinach and parsnips purée, baklava, pistachio crème anglaise and pomegranate, all followed by Borghetti Sambuca served with three coffee beans for health, happiness and prosperity (those beans were plentiful that evening!).
Kate Graykin looked, as always, beautiful in a soft green cocktail suit with a large round diamond bow brooch on the back of her left shoulder. Ann Street (say no more) was radiant in a mauve-colored gown. Judy Turner was lovely in a wonderful, Christmas-red gown with matching fur collar, and Martha Ingram wore a stunning black sequin number with black feathers flowing to the floor. Beautiful patrons included Annette Eskind, Anne and Joe Russell (Anne, being mom to Symphony Ball chair Dara Dickson, whispered to me that she was the Queen Mother that weekend and what a lovely queen she is!), Richard Ragsdale and Debbie Rouge, Lyn and Bill Andrews (Lyn is next year’s co- chair), Kelly and Lee Beaman, Elaine and Bruce Sullivan, Totty and Jimmy Bradford, Gigi and Ted Lazenby, Barbara and Jack Bovender (Barbara in a stunning beaded Oscar), Peggy and Randy Kinnard, Nancy and Billy Ray Hearn, Joy and J. R. Roper, Debbie and Fred Cassitty, Heloise Kuhn (who shared with me that she thought the decor was peaceful and lovely, most classical), Symphony Ball co-chair Perian and Sam Strang, not to forget Dara’s loving husband, Jim Dickson. This was by far the finest private gathering at a residence that this social writer has attended!
Mrs. Lee Beaman, Mrs. Frank Boehm, Mrs. Jack Bovender, Mrs. James Dickson, Mrs. Irwin Eskind, Mrs. Thomas Frist, Mrs. Joel Gordon, Mrs. Bronson Ingram, Mrs. Lawrence Lipman, Mrs. Ellen Martin, Mrs. Jack Massey, Mrs. James McGregor, Mrs. Joseph Russell, Mrs. Martin Simmons, Mrs. Samuel Strang, Mrs. Bruce Sullivan, Mrs. Steven Turner, Mrs. Ted Welch, Mrs. Ridley Wills III, Mrs. William Wilson—what do these women have in common besides being beautiful, clever and gifted? They all attended and were honored at the 25th Annual Symphony Ball as past chairmen.
The ball was held at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center; what a great venue for a party. The main hall is so very classical in style that decorations are not a must but do add to the festivities of an evening. Branches did a lovely job designing the hall. Simple but elegant, all white and silver for the 25th Anniversary Ball. Tables were covered in white sequin floor-length cloths that were to kill for! Centerpieces were white candelabras with white floral arrangements. The overall look was welcoming, soft and elegant, granting that the beautiful women and handsome gentlemen added color in dress as well as their festive personalities to the decor.
The chairmen looked elegant: Dara Dickson in a solid floor-length silver gown by Pamela Rowland and Perian Strang in a silver Vera Wang. Queen Mom, Anne Russell, in a stunning number by Manike, Morel Harvey with a wonderful cape of black mink and velvet covered in rhinestones, Kelly Beaman in a black Oscar, Rhonda Small in a red with black overlay by Yoly Munoz (husband Richard added that they bought the gown on Worth Avenue). Barbara Bovender stood out in a fab one-shoulder purple Oscar, and Martha Ingram was again stunning in a flowing blue silk organdy gown. Anne Dobson got my vote for Best Dress in a smart black lounge outfit with an amazing white floor-length cocktail coat by Pamela Rachael, quite the Audrey Hepburn look. All the gentlemen looked handsome.
Dancing the night away to the Craig Duncan Orchestra were Lake and John Eakin, Mary and Mike Spalding, Dr. and Mrs. Norman Scarborough, Judy and Steve Turner (he was wearing an original Manuel), Mr. and Mrs. Terry Chandler, Mr. and Mrs. William Sites, Alyne Massey with Dr. Bill Oliver (Dr. O. shared with me that he is quite the lady’s man, for he is the only one that age that drives at night!), Bettye Sue and Robert McNeilly, Sada Stewart and Francis Guess, Dr. Ruth Johnson and Richard Manson, Mr. and Mrs. David Mahanes III, Cathy and Martin Brown, Judith and Richard Bracken, Jeanne and Jeff Bradford, Joni Werthan, Mr. and Mrs. Jody Williams, and Pam and Jimmy Stein.
The Harmony Award is the esteemed award presented to individuals who have demonstrated continued interest in and support of music in our city. The award was presented to the talented Carrie Underwood. All in all Nashville’s premier winter social event was a large success building awareness for the Nashville Symphony.
A most unusual auction was held at Tinney Contemporary Gallery—Lyrics: An American Art Form benefitting the American Music Association. It was a cocktail reception with a live and silent auction of handwritten lyrics. Now this puts a new twist on that same old same old silent auction—no trips, signed guitars, furs nor rare jewels, all lyrics. The cool thing was that many of the artists were there in person, such as Cowboy Jack, Mary Gauthier and John Hiatt.
Gallery owner Susan Tinney, with the help of John Reed, hosted a great evening of art and music. Those performing besides Cowboy Jack, Mary and John were Mike Farris, Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, Elizabeth Cook and Guy Clark. This was so very unusual, I wonder if anyone would ever like to auction off my notes on this article? Some of the artists were unable to attend but did donate their lyrics, such as Willie Nelson, Rosanne Cash, Brooks and Dunn, and Bon Jovi. My favorite performer was friend Mary Gauthier singing Mercy Now—love ya, Mary!
Well, that’s about the way I feel now—mercy now, see you and Cupid next month out and about in wonderful, art-filled Nashville!