On the Town: July 2013


Ted Clayton

Ted Clayton

A fine, seventeenth-century drawing room—that was my first impression of the dinner tent at the recent Frist Gala. The exhibit at the Frist Center was Rembrandt and The Golden Ages, and Gala Chairs Ashley Levi and Dallas Wilt, along with designers Elizabeth James and Jeanette Whitson, created an evening most fitting for the Golden Age of Dutch history. Tables artistically flavored with arrangements of flowers and fruit resembling the still life oil on canvas Flowers in a Glass Vase by Rachel Ruysch were so elegantly displayed, as were other arrangements of red tulips in reproduction cachepots in the style of the original tin-glazed earthenware with enamel decoration in the Dutch style. The north end of the tent was a tapestry-type backdrop featuring masterpieces of the exhibit with two outstanding paintings focusing on live models dressed in period attire.


Joe and Co-chair Ashley Levi, Co-chair Dallas and Fleming Wilt - Frist Gala
Went and Barry Caldwell - Frist Gala
Linda and Steve Harlan, Phyllis Alper, Shirley Zeitlin - Frist Gala
Joanne and Tom Cato with Kate Grayken - Frist Gala
Jay and Christi Turner - Frist Gala
Katherine and Rhett Raum - Frist Gala
Toby and Lucianne Wilt, Jean and Denny Bottorff - Frist Gala
Sandy and Jay Sangervasi - Frist Gala
Randy and Peggy Kinnard with Nancy Cheadle - Frist Gala
Lynne Edgerton and Jonny Harwell - Frist Gala
Paper mâiché gown by Tom Delcambre - Frist Gala

Back to the entrance and the cocktail party, where life-size papier mâché gowns of the Golden Age, created by Tom Delcambre, graced the long hall. The Conte Hallway leading the patrons into the “drawing room” (dinner tent) was lined with larger-than-life-size red tulips, adding a somewhat contemporary feel to the evening. Taking part in this seventeenth-century event were Went and Barry Caldwell, Anne Parsons, Mary Davenport, and Em Crook, Linda and Steve Harlan, Elizabeth and Charles Barrett, Sandra and Larry Lipman, JoAnne and Gary Haynes, Rachel and Gary Odom, Gigi and Ted Lazenby, Sandy and Jay Sangervasi, Jean and Denny Bottorff, Lucianne and Toby Wilt, Janet and Earl Bentz, Lynne Edgerton and Jonny Harwell. I was most honored to be seated at Dallas Wilt’s table with a most entertaining group—Fleming Wilt, Devereux and Gordon Pollock, Mary Perkins, Crews Johnston, Monica and Alex McDougall, Libby and John Hagewood (Dallas’s most attractive parents), and my dinner date, Deena Drummond.

After dinner, patrons were escorted back to the hall that had been transformed into an Après Dinner Lounge under the leadership of Caroline Rhett and Grace Clayton. In my opinion this was the most beautiful Frist Gala to date, not only the gala itself but the pre-parties leading up to this evening held at the most fitting homes of Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth Caldwell and Mr. and Mrs. Milton Johnson. Nibbling on my departure favors, Christie Cookies, I must say that taste, elegance, and culture have their place, and that place was this Frist Gala. Thank you, Dallas and Ashley!

What would one expect but a fun-filled evening, with Vicki Horne as chair and Sylvia and Al Ganier as hosts. This most certainly was the case at the recent “River REPrise” the annual fundraiser for the Tennessee Rep. The evening began with an intimate patrons party held at Gnofus, the Ganier’s magnificent home overlooking the Cumberland River, followed by the cast party down the hill at The Grange, Sylvia’s newly raised barn on Hidden Valley Farm. Show tunes by the Cabaret Orchestra (Kit Kat Klub orchestra) floated through the air. What a great evening of relaxed fun and a super barbecue dinner catered by Corner Market Catering.

Seen in their Sunday-best casual attire were Galey and Bob Patterson, Gail and Steven Greil, Martha Ingram and Gil Merritt, Sally Levine and George Barrett, Lynn and Hugh Queener, and Kerri and Michael Schlosser.

Sally Levine and George Barrett with Rene Copeland - River REPrise
Al and Sylvia Ganier, Jenny Littleton, Kerri and Michael Schlosser - River REPrise
Martha Ingram and Gil Merritt with Chair Vicki Horne - River REPrise
Rick Horne, Bob and Galey Patterson, Gail and Steven Greil - River REPrise


A few weeks back I had the pleasure of visiting with Bruce Munro prior to his magical light show opening at Cheekwood. Asking Bruce exactly what he does started the explanation: “I design complete lighting schemes, including fitting specification, electrical load details, dimensioned CAD layouts, and component specification.” OK, call me Clark Griswold, but all I really wanted to know was how many extension cords it took to light the grounds of Cheekwood. LOL. It was and is a magical show of lights. I attended the patrons dinner the evening Bruce plugged in his lights, and the cocktails, music, and dinner were lovely. But the lights . . . well, one just cannot say enough. One has to view this Wonder of Cheekwood in person! Every Christmas holiday season, as I plug my tiny-white-light cords one to another, I can just hear NES thanking me and saying wait till your January bill arrives.

Frolicking through the light wonderland were Perlin and Bob Gordon, Susan and Luke Simons, Margaret Ann Robinson with Libby and Ben Page, Julie and Board Chair George Stadler, Heloise Kuhn, Anne Davis and Karl Dean, Elizabeth and Sidney McAlister, Quinn and Jim Bond, Barbara and Jack Bovender, the lovely Mary Evelyn and Clark Jones, and, of course, Cheekwood’s head firefly Jane MacLeod with hubby, Don.

Just when I thought Nashville could not become any more of a hip city, a Prince comes to town. Yes, HRH The Royal Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO graced our hip city to celebrate the work and mission of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This award is a commitment to youth of the world, transforming their lives by developing their skills, building their character, honoring their determination, and increasing their self-esteem.


Pam Tillis, HRH The Prince Edward, Lori Morgan - Royal Gala
Jack Wallace with Brad Gioia - Royal Gala
Beauty Queens and Ted Clayton - Royal Gala
Bruce and Karen Moore - Royal Gala
Gerry Nadeau and Ellen Martin with HRH The Prince Edward - Royal Luncheon
Elizabeth Akers, Steve and Phyllis Fridrich - Royal Gala
Nancy and Mark Beveridge - Royal Gala
First Lady Crissy Haslam with HRH The Prince Edward - Royal Luncheon
Jack and Barbara Bovender with HRH The Prince Edward - Royal Luncheon


The Royal Social Event began with quite a lovely small luncheon at the home of Gala Chair Ellen Martin. Ellen had told me that His Highness would descend the stairs at 12:30 p.m., and yes, on the dot, there stood the Prince at the foot of the staircase. Ellen introduced me to His Highness, promised only one photo, and with that walked away, leaving me face to face with HRH. Awkward moment, but as you know I am not one to be short on words, so I say, “Your Highness, we have something in common.” His response was, “Do tell, this will be interesting,” and an interesting conversation it was. Quite jolly good indeed!

The luncheon was followed by the award ceremony at the Governor’s Residence with First Lady Crissy Haslam serving as Honorary Chairman. Then to the Gala itself, held at Montgomery Bell Academy, for the new dining hall is similar to the Hogwarts Hall from the Harry Potter series. (I am sure HRH felt right at home.) The Gala Host Committee not only welcomed The Prince Edward but Miss Mallory Hytes Hagan, Miss America 2013, as well as Miss Ohio, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama.

Joining Crissy and Ellen in hosting this royal visit were Lin and Bill Andrews, Janet and Jim Ayers, Laura and Charlie Niewold, Larry Trabue, Betsy and Ridley Wills, Kelley and Lee Beaman, Emily and Lee Noel, Anne and Jake Wallace, Karen and Bruce Moore, Phyllis and Steve Fridrich, Sylvia and Doug Bradbury, Barbara and Jack Bovender, Deby and Keith Pitts, Elizabeth and Jack Wallace, and Jennie and Rob McCabe. For sure Nashville is the Royal Hip City. Oh, almost forgot—at the end of this Royal Evening, His Royal Highness did ask me if I was finished photographing for I was dismissed. I guess that is a royal time out for Ted, Earl of Social!

The Swan Ball has always been a grand and marvelous tradition in Nashville, not only a pageant of formal fashion and a gathering of the city’s social titans but an annual rite of passage that brings an extra element of charm to Cheekwood. The 51st annual gala reminded me of the gilded years when the ball had a theme that coordinated with the Swan Award recipient and decor. Swan Ball Chairs Amy Colton and Julie Walkerwith the design team of H Three Events did just this, an evening of chintz wonderland.

Co-Chairs Amy Cotton and Julie Walker - Swan Ball
Cal Alexander and Grace Clayton, Minnette Boesel and Clay Jackson - Swan Ball
Charlie and Laura Niewold, Lisa and David Manning - Swan Ball
Chris and Susan Holmes - Swan Ball
Mario Buatta, Jane Dudley, Dwayne Johnson (standing) - Swan Ball
Brenda and Ronald Corbin - Swan Ball
Connie and Carl Haley - Swan Ball
Swan Ball Dance Committee Gents: Clint Atkins, Hudson Burd, William Benson, Lipscomb Davis, Scott Greer, John Clayton - Swan Ball
George and Julie Stadler - Swan Ball
Bruce and Elaine Sullivan - Swan Ball
Will and Maggie Tucker, Caylan Cheadle and Anderson Jarman - Swan Ball
Kent and Erin Simpkins - Swan Ball
Linda and Steve Harlan - Swan Ball
Mary Evelyn and Clark Jones - Swan Ball
Patti and Brian Smallwood - Swan Ball
Sarah Wooten and Bill Knestrick - Swan Ball
Stephen and Marci Houff - Swan Ball

The Swan Award was given to my new friend Mario Buatta, affectionately known as “The Prince of Chintz” (yes, there is a lot of prince in this article, haha). From the cocktail tent off the loggia, where walls and ceiling were draped in lush, floral chintz, to the dining tent with the same chintz used as chair backs to anchor the rich, solid-toned cloths, to the soft white carpeting, all in a wash of pink—a breath of fresh air! I did ask ball designer Hugh Howser why he changed all the light bulbs in the mansion and party tents to pink, and his response was “eternal youth.” We all know that the color pink is becoming to everyone. Well, Hugh, you were so correct, for everyone looked youthful, happy, and excited to be there.

During cocktails and dinner the jewelry showing by JdJ was held in the drawing room, followed by the live auction and great entertainment by Kool & the Gang. The traditional black-angus filet was the main course of the dinner by D. Kates, but as always it is hard to stay seated when that Swan Ball dance floor awaits the beautiful social patrons. In my opinion, the Swan Ball Dress Code is: if a gentleman is in full white-tie attire (socks included), the lady follows through in a true, formal ball gown. Yes, these Swan Ball ladies understood the code and were magical in their flowing ball gowns, brighter in color than past years. Co-Chairs Amy Colton and Julie Walker wore gowns designed by Australian designer Callie Tein, Amy’s in azalea-pink silk satin, and Julie’s silhouette gown was embroidered with an elegant, black-silk-chiffon French Chantilly lace over a blush-colored shantung silk.

Looking radiant as ever was Jane Dudley in a floor-length gown by Fiandaca in Lurex gold metallic chiffon. The Auction Chairs looked stunning: Lisa Manning in a Monique Lhuillier vermillion lace, and Laura Niewold in a black-and-white floral, silk-taffeta strapless gown. Barbara Bovender always in Oscar looked lovely in her one-shoulder green silk. Lovely as always were Sylvia Bradbury in a strapless Liancarlo Couture silk organza in raspberry, Lisa Campbell in a yellow silk gown with matching jacket by Agostino, Brenda Corbin in a two-piece fuchsia gown by Houri Barahimi, Linda Harlan wearing a Carolina Herrera ivory gown with gold baroque embroidery, Cathy Jackson in ice-blue Dupioni silk, and Jamie Eskind in a floral-skirted gown with sequin strapless top.

The evening ran ahead of schedule, which gave me the opportunity to go to Botanic Hall for the Late Party. Now this is the 30-plus social crowd that has dinner in a separate location and joins the ball after dinner, and do these younger socials know how to have a good time. They were most well trained! I enjoyed cocktails with the younger generation, including Maggie and Will Tucker, Caylan Cheadle and Anderson Jarman, Grace Clayton and Cal Alexander, Minnette Boesel and Clay Jackson, Leighton and Melissa Liles, and Suzanne and Grant Smothers.

What a lovely Swan Ball and spring social season that have now come to an end, with the socials departing to the Hamptons, Monteagle, and all places cool.

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