What Musical Friends Are For

Take a bow, Philip Setzer, Eugene Drucker, Larry Dutton and Paul Watkins, members of the Emerson String Quartet. And they did – with their instrumental bows of the violin family – at the conclusion of the 60th season of the New Orleans Friends of Music. It was co-presented with Tulane University and took place in the university’s Dixon Hall. The quartet’s renditions of compositions by Henry Purcell, Alban Berg and Maurice Ravel brought the audience to its collective feet.

Take a bow, Margaret Shields, as the outgoing president of Friends of Music, who has been succeeded by Jonathan McCall, former vice president. The additional officers of the 2014-15 board: Secretary Jenny Windstrup and Treasurer Lawrence M. Lehmann. As he has done for years, Tulane music professor John Joyce discusses the works about to be performed in a pre-concert lecture series.

To celebrate FoM’s three-score years, the 2014-15 season of seven concerts kicked off with cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han and a post-party at the nearby home of Dr. Siddharth Bhansali. Similarly, the season ended with the above Emerson Quartet and a party at the new home of Dr. Fred and Ivy Kushner.

Based in New York City, the much-laureled foursome has had 19 performances with the FoM. However, this was the first one with their newest quartet member, cellist Paul Watkins, who joined his string siblings in 2013. The printed program said “His dedication and enthusiasm have infused the Quartet with a warm, rich tone and a palpable joy in the collaborative process.”

At the Kushners’, another sort of collaborative process was recalled. Their new condo is in the former LaSalle School built in 1901. This same building served as the location for New Orleans Center for Creative Arts for a number of years before NOCCA moved to its new building at 2800 Chartres St. in Faubourg Marigny. Tomorrow, under the chairing of alumnus Terence Blanchard and Robin Burgess, the premises will be packed with alumni, supporters and well-wishers, who will hail NOCCA’s big 4-0, its two score anniversary, with performances, food, auction enticements, and entertainment.

According to FoM party hostess Ivy, she and Fred enjoy knowing that “NOCCA had famous luminaries attending the school in their building through its history.” She continued, saying, “It was only fitting that we continue the history of talented guests in this building with the Emerson String Quartet.”

Many of the all-volunteer FoM staff and board attended the fete that was catered by Asuka Sushi & Hibachi. Milling about, and admiring the handsome new residence of the Kushners and its Uptown views, were Wade Shields with outgoing President Margaret, President Jonathan McCall, and New Orleans Opera Association President Ranney Mize and spouse Emel. Ranney, a 2014-15 FoM board member, was in the company of such other board members as Harvey Green with Carole, the above Jenny Windstrup with Tucker Fuller, Michael Harold, the above Larry Lehmann with Dashka Roth, and Herman Kohlmeyer.

Others making rounds and heaping praise on the Emerson stars were Elyce Picciotti, Teri Wittenburg, Ralph Whalen, Margie Scheuermann, Guillermo Nanez Falcon and Tracey and Tom Sherry. For those who will miss chamber music in the city (until FoM starts up again in the fall with the Pacifica String Quartet on Oct. 21), the Sherrys are touting Birdfoot Festival. Its fundraiser, Musical Feast, will be May 26 at Jones Walker LLP in 201 Place St. Charles. Performances will take place May 27-30, concluding on Sat., May 30, with a gala concert, “Souvenir de Florence,” in Dixon Hall.

Ivy had a further acknowledgement, and that was to Tulane University, which houses FoM. “With free parking and bus shuttle service, it’s easy to attend an on-campus event.” And then, there’s the glorious music making.

Stepping Sprightly

“Good friends, good music, good food, good times” was the invitational come-on extended by The 25 Club for its Jazz Brunch. It took place at noon on a recent Sunday at the New Orleans Country Club.

Spirits got an immediate buoyancy from the centerpiece decorations. Martini glasses were filled with colorful rose petals of red, pale yellow and pink and placed on yellow cocktail napkins. Lying adjacent and on their sides were additional glasses with petals spilling out. To complete the picture, there were crisscrossed swizzle sticks, large music notes and more petals at the base.

Brunch fare included turtle soup, grits and grillades, scrambled eggs and an almond tuile filled with peppermint ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce. “Scrumptious” described the dessert.

Headliners of the club, which was founded 30 years ago by 25 couples who loved to dance – and now has grown to more than 150 couples and individuals – included President Diane Zatarain and Chuck, past President Melissa Gordon and Bruce, Treasurer Helene Tebo, and board members (along with Diane, Melissa and Helene) Ann Middleton with date Dan Todd, Anne Buescher with Frank, and Cynthia Bassich.

Others reveling in the 25 to-do were Jane and retired Judge Tom Wicker, Paula and Henry McCarthy, Mary and Seth Nehrbass, Stephanie and Clay Spencer, Sandra and Otway Denny, Julie and Eddie Martin, Marsha and Chris Cole and Caroline and Dr. Reggie Sanders.

The Horizon Band rallied the brunch bunch to the floor with such numbers as “It Had to Be You” and “Hello Dolly.” Still more spirit, that of the dancing kind, came via “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”

Foundation Fun and Food

Someone’s in the kitchen! To honor its grand opening, new Warehouse eatery, Legacy Kitchen, hosted a rockin’ fundraiser for the Better Than Ezra Foundation and the music program it helps at Bethune Elementary School. Patrons partied from 6-7 p.m. and the two-hour main event followed, amassing more than 200 people.

In Legacy Kitchen, the newest restaurant concept by the NOHSC Restaurant Group, guests eyed the industrial chic décor and its appropriate relevance to the hip neighborhood. They also relished inventive takes on American classic chomps, such as fried chicken and waffles, and East Hampton lobster rolls washed down by craft cocktails, notably the Legacy Smash.

Mastheading the doings were Legacy Kitchen managing partner Paul McGoey with Lisa, NOHSC Restaurant Group CEO Don Noel, Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School Principal Mary Smith-Haynes, and from Better Than Ezra, foundation executive director Delery Rice, board member Jim MacPhaille, and band members Kevin Griffin, Joel Rundell and Tom Drummond.

Adding their presence were Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, Betsie Gambel, Mary Kohlmann, Susan and John Lange, Shauna and Allan Molero, rock band Barenecked Ladies front man Ed Robertson, Kenny Lopez, Gary Weiner, and scores more who got in the aural groove of DJ RQAWAY, whose American classic hits boomed throughout the restaurant.

Around and About

Champagne and “all kinds of rich and delicious food” in Le Foret’s penthouse were the prandial pleasures for this piscine pack: the 1965 Jesuit state championship swimming and diving team. It started a dynasty. Since then, “Jesuit (High School) has been state champion, or state runner-up, in the last 50 state meets every year except two.” As for the celebrating ’65 team, it won every meet that year and set numerous state and city records.

Gathered for a retread of good times in the water were team coach Butch Trellue (in from California for the reunion), team captain T. Nolan with Lynn, Steve Bultman, Bill Coleman with Kerry, Bill Phillips with Sharon, John McDonald with Cynthia, Bill Black with Gwenn, Lyle Delery, Chuck Fineran, Alan Gagnet, Seph Dupuy with Pamm, Bubby Valentino, and John Robinson. But these competitive times are not all in the past. Several members of the team have continued to swim and compete in USS Masters meets.