n Homeward Sounds
The first audience to hear classical music in the gorgeously and meticulously restored Orpheum Theater gathered on a recent Thursday evening for the momentousness of Mahler. That was the appropriately selected “Resurrection” Symphony by Gustav Mahler, whose dates are 1860-1911. Ten years after his death, the Orpheum opened. Most recently, and after a closing of 10 years, it reopened, thanks to the ownership of Roland and Mary von Kurnatowski and Dr. Eric George.
“There’s No Place like Home” marqueed the celebrated return of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, now in its 25th anniversary season, to the Orpheum, where Carlos Miguel Prieto, the LPO’s music director of 10 years (and continuing), conducted the Mahler work, “Symphony No.2 in C Minor.” Soprano Susannah Biller and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke sang, as did NOVA Masterworks and Loyola Chorale. Prieto answers to the Adelaide Wisdom Benjamin Music Director and Principal Conductor.
Gratitude was all-pervasive, starting with thanks by the LPO to the Bob and Jeri Nims Foundation for sponsoring the opening weekend concerts and the opening night dinner and reception. A full-page photo of Jeri and the late Bob Nims was in the printed program.
Additional in-print and in-person names were those of LPO CEO James William Boyd and members of the administrative staff; board of trustees President Hugh W. Long, Orchestra President John Reeks, board Vice President Walter Harris, Orchestra Vice President Matthew Eckenhoff, Treasurer and assistant Timothy Kelly and Jim Atwood, Secretary Benjamin Hart; and the remaining 29 board members.
Katherine P. Cain and Larry Gay chair, in turn, the advocacy council chapters of the Northshore and Slidell, and Tim Soslow presides over the Prelude Board.
Prior to taking their seats in the theater, LPO’s home, for the sold-out event, a host of supporters gathered in The Blue Room — it’s mostly gold now, but there are still touches of blue and indigo — for a sit-down dinner. The Blue Room is located across from the Orpheum in The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Like the Orpheum, The Blue Room has played host to dozens of major music makers and stars over the years.
Noted were some of the above, such as Orchestra President John Reeks, the von Kurnatowskis and Dr. Eric George (later joined by Mrs. George, Kimberly), as well as the spouse and parents of conductor Carlos Miguel. Both his mother and wife are called Isabel Prieto. (His mother is also Maria Isabel Prieto and his father Carlos Prieto.) And, Susan Krinsky (with the above Hugh Long, her husband), Ron and Susan Carazo, Paul Leaman Jr. and Marilyn Dittmann, Anne Bradburn with goddaughter Dame Eleanor King, Barbara and Perry Rigby, Gia Rabito, Judie Oudt, Barbara and Thomas Sands, Rita and Jerry Satawa, Judge Sarah and Patrick Vance, Mignon Faget, Ben Bagert, Luz and Sal Caputto, Elroy and Judy Eckhardt, Charlotte Bollinger, Phyllis Taylor, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who stopped in to address the crowd en route to several other activities. And, Scott and Lorraine Chotin, Julie F. Breitmeyer, Ana and Dr. Juan Gershanik, William D. “Bill” Hess (later joined by Susan), Courtney-Anne Sarpy, Dorothy S. Jacobs, Rosemonde and Carlo Capomazza, Ted and Louise Martin, Robert Pope, and Philip Straub.
They dined on a mixed baby greens salad, a duo entrée of braised short ribs and grilled Louisiana redfish, and LPO Symphony Cake. Tasteful centerpieces of flowers and greenery were placed on the tables, surrounded by votive lamps.
Then it was on to the Orpheum and the dazzling LPO lights and luminaries. A few “curtain” words and acknowledgements were followed by the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” arranged by Sara Romero, and a video that featured LPO board member Angela Hill and artist/LPO musician Patti Adams. Spotted in the concert audience were Gayle and Tom Benson, state Sen. Edwin R. Murray, state Sen. A.G. Crowe, City Councilwoman Susan Guidry and husband Hervin, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, Scott Hutcheson, Mark Romig, Tod Chambers, Robert Lyall, Colette and Joe Friend, Vaughan Fitzpatrick, Vernon Palmer, and hundreds and hundreds more.
Post “Resurrection,” the evening’s single work and performed without an intermission, most of the above returned to The Blue Room for more cheer in the form of champagne, sweets and classical-music camaraderie. Musicians of the LPO were applauded and toasted. The combined Orpheum opening, 25th anniversary of the LPO season, and decade under the baton of Carlos Miguel Prieto was its own social ode to joy.
n The Busyness of Business
The 36th annual Tulane Business Forum, which was titled “Changing Landscapes: Business Leaders Taking Action,” thanked The New Orleans Advocate and Brennan’s as the forum underwriters. A reception at and hosted by Brennan’s, and given by the Tulane Association of Business Alumni, honored the forum’s speakers and sponsors.
Slated as speakers were TU President Michael A. “Mike” Fitts; Catherine D. McRae, Shell Energy Resources Company; Andre J. Champagne, CEO Hollywood Trucks LLC; and Warner L. Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health System. Coming in from away were David Nason, president and CEO, GE Energy Financial Services Inc., Stamford, Connecticut; Adam Bryant, “Corner Office” columnist, The New York Times, New York; Anne Donovan, US Human Capital Transformation Leader, PwC, Los Angeles; and Thomas L. Ryan, president and CEO, Service Corporation International, Houston.
Milling at the reception were forum Co-Chairmen Aimee Freeman, David Kearney and Scott Cunningham; Ralph Brennan, president of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group; TU Freeman Business School Dean Ira Solomon and Susan; associate Dean Peggy Babin; TABA President Chris Bonura; forum sponsor Co-Chairmen Nene Glenn Gianfala and Brian Banks; and forum coordinator Jennifer McCausland with Patrick.
Also, recent birthday boy Frank Stewart with Paulette, Charlee Williamson, Jay Waring, Kevin Beattie, Jake Williams, Kathy Nieland, Asher Friend, Mark Preston, Jenny McGuinness, Malcolm Schwarzenbach, and Rhonda Brown.
All relished the bounty of Brennan’s, such as duck confit spring rolls, fried oysters on brioche, a carving station, and Bananas Foster; the floral attractions done by Perfect Presentations; and for soothing sounds, harp music by Helen Maxwell.
n Senior Momentum
The Jefferson Council on Aging, which is chaired by Luis Arocha Jr., and has as officers Marie Clesi, Kevin Casey and Susan Guidroz, held its fourth annual Senior Moments socializing at the Kenner Pavilion. Among the many features of the fun were the rose centerpieces from Federico’s Family Florist, the handmade fleur-de-lis iron sculptures done and donated by Jimmy Gorman (and given to “Senior” top sponsors), artwork by Sean Friloux, swing dance demonstrations by Annette and Martin Marino, a poetry reading by Brod Bagert, and lots of delicious food from a slew of generous purveyors. The suggested attire was “cocktail vintage.”
Add to all of that a parade of prizes and a silent auction that showcased a watercolor, “Café du Monde,” given by artist Sean Friloux, a pearl necklace donated by Symmetry, art pieces, and cultural events.
Noted guests included Pat and Henry Shane, JCOA executive director Al Robichaux Jr., development director Liz Yager, event Chairwoman Doris Rappold, Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni and Michelle, Jefferson Parish Councilman Ben Zahn and Dawn, state Sen. Danny Martiny, Calvin Mallet, Kristin Masoner, Joe Lasko, Ashton and Jolene Ryan, Donna Doran, Kenner Councilman Keith Conley, aforementioned Kevin and Kelly Casey, auction Chairwoman Angela Gorman with Jimmy, Cynthia and Isaac Jackson, Dr. Henry and Audrey Threefoot, and April and David Golenor. Quite a few represented sponsors.
Music made the merriment complete, thanks to the jazz and 50s numbers rendered with glee by Arnie Johnson and the Dynamics.