with Ted Clayton
Sylvia and Al Ganier opened up their incredible home for the kick-off of Tennessee Repertory Theatre’s twenty-sixth season. The Ganier farm overlooks the Cumberland, which was on its way down after the flood. What an evening! Chair Vickie Horn along with the Ganiers hosted quite an event, with a lovely seated dinner (they can seat over a hundred folks in their dining area) and a wonderful concert by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Mike Reid. Those amazed by the home and lovely surroundings were Tish and Eleanor Willis, Martha Ingram and Gil Merritt, Laurie and Steve Eskind, Mary and Bob McGrath, Vicky and Bennett Tarleton, Ann and Owen Kelly, Diane and Jim Neal.
I cannot say enough about the generosity the Ganiers continue to show. Al said they built the home to entertain and be used by all Nashvillians. He summed up the evening by saying, “The arts in Nashville are more important in today’s time than ever.” I agree, my friend.
All of the fashion shows last spring certainly paid off as they were all seen at the forty-eighth Swan Ball. Swan Ball 2010 will go down in history as the best-attired ball ever! Event designer Bronson Van Wyck of New York told the Nashville socials that this is not going to be your black-gown ball, and he was so very right about that. Not only did Van Wyck’s design carry the flavor and color of the long-awaited Chihuly exhibit that opened the following day at Cheekwood, but the gowns were stunning the way we like them—colorful, flowing, feminine, and sexy.
The party itself had a lot of glitz but not as much glamour as expected. For first-time ball patrons, of which there were many, it was an impressive, beautiful summer evening. For fundraisers it all comes down to the bottom line, and Chairs Sissy Wilson and Collie Dailey did an outstanding job for Cheekwood.
Charlie Cates was on the other side of the ball this year as a patron and not preparing the elegant dinner. Charlie has been the Swan Ball caterer for the last forty years. He bought the business from Boyd Maxwell, who was the original caterer for the first eight years. Charlie was in total enjoyment knowing that daughter, Dani, was in the kitchen. The lovely Carolyn Nash was his escort for the evening. Sit back and enjoy life, Charlie; you deserve it!
Alfred Fiandaca is always the leading gown designer at the ball. Shirley Harvey, Dee Altenburn, Sarah Hunter Green, Elizabeth McDonald, and Jane Dudley wore his designs oh so well. I must say every lady there was fabulous, but those that caught my eye were Lin Andrews in a Badgley Mischka navy embroidered tulle flared gown, Shannon Barton (next year’s chair with Missy Eason, what a duo!) in a pewter gown by Amsale and necklace designed by her daughter, Graham; Kelly Beaman in an abstract floral Oscar, Renee Chevalier in hot pink Tadashi (I told her she looked like the butterflies floating in the tent), Nancy Cheadle gorgeous in a Carmen Marc Valvo Signature, Laurie Eskind looking like a princess in her Shawn Ray Fons soft green lace gown with a lace bolero jacket, Joyce Hitt in a bright canary-yellow gown piped in turquoise by local designer Pointer Brown, Vicki Horn in a strapless pink and grey sequin gown by Ben de Lisi of London, Ellen Martin in a bright coral Michael Kors design, Alyne Massey stunning as always in a long white silk sheath with train by Ralph Ricci, and Jennie McCabe in a lovely coral Armani Collezioni.
The gown not to be believed, gown of all gowns, was worn by Jamie Beckwith, i.e. Cinderella. By no doubt she was the belle of the ball and center of attention in her strapless, all-white feathered gown. Jamie’s Prince Charming husband, Larry, looked most proud; he looked quite fetching also. I must mention Gloria Freeman in a black feathered gown. Both ladies were the swans of the evening. Swan Ball patrons included Anne and Joe Russell, Fianna and Jim King, Paula and Tom Bennett, Lucianne and Toby Wilt, Em and George Crook (Em looked radiant in bright yellow trimmed in black), Brenda and Joe Steakley, Barbara and Jack Bovender (Barbara in a gorgeous Oscar), Dana and Bond Oman, the beautiful Kate Graykin and Hud Hudson, Pat Wallace and Julian Wells. It was a lovely white-tie gala. I do have one question that I have yet to figure out: why was there a stuffed peacock on the bar?