BSO gala opens fall party season



September 24, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

AS HUNDREDS OF FORMALLY frocked guests descended on Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, you knew it was official. With the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra gala, the fall party season had begun. After a long, casual summer, this was the first opportunity in months to get gussied up.

Party chairs David and Michel Modell set the tone: He in a tuxedo completed with velvet slippers adorned with red-embroidered devils; she, in a black gown that featured strands of gold beads cascading down her back.

Lainy Lebow-Sachs arrived, swathed in a wrap made of sewn-together satin poufs. "Isn't this great?" she asked. "I just got it in China."

Another import was the amethyst satin skirt on Catherine Tucker, whose husband, Aegon communications whiz Gregory Tucker, brought it back for her from the Hague, Netherlands.

Not that the domestic offerings were anything to sneeze at.

Shonte Drake, the director of policy for the Baltimore City State's Attorney's office, was stunning in a teal satin strapless. She and friend, graphic designer Nina Merkel, in a chic spaghetti-strapped dress, looked oh-so cosmopolitan as they sipped their cosmopolitans.

Suzi Cordish arrived on the arm of her husband, developer David Cordish, and she looked every inch a goddess draped in white.

The evening's auction wasn't the only thing Vicki Rosenfield had fun displaying. There was her sleek, inky gown with both plunging back and front. "If you're going to come to this, who wants to be uptight," she said with a laugh.

A sumptuous lace blouse topped off Cindy Cook's Armani tulip skirt.

"She's drop-dead gorgeous," noted proud husband Bryson Cook, a lawyer.

Kirkland & Ellis bigwig George Stamas and wife, Georgia, said they had a bit of a debate about whether she should wear a long or short cocktail dress. She went with a knee-length lace and satin frock. "Georgia has great legs, so I said she should go with the short," he said.

Meanwhile, Kathy Novak -- escorted by her husband, venture capitalist Roger Novak -- went the floor-length route in chiffon palazzo pants and an embroidered taffeta top, perfectly capped off with chandelier earrings.

Even a few men got into the styling swing of things -- such as Johns Hopkins neuroscience chair Richard Huganir, dashingly debonair in his tuxedo and black-and-white houndstooth-patterned long tie.


Savoring return to morning radio

Radio personality Steve Rouse grew up in upstate New York, but he has lived in the Baltimore area since 1985. From 1988 until May 2005, he was host of the Rouse & Co. morning show on WQSR. After working freelance for more than a year, Rouse began his new job as morning show host on WLIF radio a week and a half ago. He also is host of a weekly entertainment show, Baltimore 2 Night, on WMAR-TV on Saturday nights. Rouse, 55, is divorced, has five children ages 14 through 36, and lives on 6 acres in Fallston.

After so many years at that one place on the radio dial, in the same time slot, how did it feel not to be there for the last year?

I've never been out of work. Ever. It was very weird. You go through every emotion. One morning you wake up and say, you know, I'm relieved I don't have to get up at 3 in the morning. And other times, I'd wake up depressed. The thing that got me the most was that so many people were so into that show. They'd come up to me and tell me. It made me feel bad.

What was it like that first morning on WLIF, getting up at 3 again, and being back on your own morning show?

It wasn't like I hadn't been on the air that whole year. I'd been filling in at WBAL Radio. But it felt good. I actually felt a bit nervous the night before. This is the kind of show, you feel your way through it. We'll see how it evolves.

Did you learn anything about yourself in that year off?

How much fun it was to sleep in. I'd totally forgotten [what it was like to have] a regular lifestyle. The first thing for me was that I knew I didn't want to move anywhere. That's what you normally do in the business. You get another gig in another city. I guess I thought a lot about whether I wanted to get back into radio. For me, I was never a radio junkie. A lot of guys know everybody else [on air] in every city. They know every [radio] consultant. I just focused on our show. ... The problem I had was that I couldn't find passion for anything else. ... What I found recently is that where I feel the best is in a radio station. It's just where I'm the happiest. I just had to realize that.

How do you get passionate about it all over again?

I need a goal or I don't do so great. ... I'm very competitive. That's my motivation. I want to get the [rating] numbers up. So, I think, how are we gonna win this thing? And you work on it every day. Every day. It's not like, Tuesday I think up some good stuff, and maybe again on Friday. Every day.

Would you call yourself a workaholic?

I'm very focused. You have to be out there. You have to do everything you can do. I'm not doing this just to hang around.

Do you have any food weaknesses?

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