Baltimore's fall party season got a grand kick-off with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Gala.
Hundreds of people in formalwear descended upon a tent outside the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall for cocktails and dinner that preceded a BSO concert featuring guest artist Yo-Yo Ma.
There were lots of old friends to greet, including: event chairs Jon and Susan Levinson, Buddy and Ellen Zamoiski, Frank and Elizabeth Burch, Tom Brady, Shale Stiller and Ellen Heller, Gail Shawe, Art and Pat Modell, Alvin and Elaine Katz, Ed and Barbara Brody, Lainy Lebow-Sachs, Connie Caplan, Jan Rivitz, Howard and Wendy Jachman, Andy Buerger and Ronnie Buerger.
Even BSO musical director Marin Alsop mingled with the pre-concert crowd.
"I was feeling lonely [in my dressing room]. So, I came out to see what was happening. ... I like to see what the action is," she said.
"Everybody who's - how do you put it? - who's interested in parties is here tonight," said attorney and BSO lifetime board member Peter Angelos.
And then there were the new friends, like Millie and Louis Cestello, the latter the new regional president for PNC Bank.
"This is a great event with a lot of very nice people," he said. "Baltimore's been extremely welcoming and extremely warm to us."
Baltimore was extremely warm to everyone that night, with high temperatures and humidity.
McCormick CEO Alan Wilson said the uncomfortable weather wouldn't have stopped him from coming to one of his favorite parties.
However, he did admit, "I think I'll be buying a new tuxedo after this."
When one party is simply not enough
Fall is the time when many of Baltimore's nonprofits throw a big fund-raising party. Not Creative Alliance, though. It throws 32.
This is an arts organization that prides itself on thinking outside the box. So, instead of one big hoopla, you've got all sorts of little hoop-lettes, so to speak. CA calls the whole shebang "Art to Dine For." In the past week, there was a shipboard crab feast, a bowling bash and "Caricature of Character" - an evening of song, humor and art at the Canton home of Markel and Lorraine Whittlesey. You may know Lorraine through her longtime collaboration with Joyce Scott in their slightly bent music and comedy shows. Lorraine tells me this year, they "bent" a little further, by bringing a third member into the show - John Waters' movie actress Mink Stole. The three of them then presented music and political humor in a show they called "Ebony & Irony & That Touch of Mink."
Turns out the real scene stealer of the evening, though, was caricature artist Tom Chalkley, who did a drawing of every one of the 35 people there.
"He gets the essence of a person," Lorraine says. "People were gathering around and just watching him sketch."
There are still a whole mess of Art to Dine For soirees coming up. Just go to creativealliance.org and take your pick.
Meanwhile, over at the Hillendale Country Club, big-time country songwriter D. Vincent Williams and rock keyboardist Rick Seratte put on an impromptu show at the kick-off party for the recent Celebrity Golf Classic that benefits the Cool Kids Campaign. They got an added boost from some local talent - comics king Steve Geppi, and his teenage daughter Breanna, who joined Williams and Seratte onstage and sang "Endless Love."
"Quite impressive," says Cook Kids co-founder Sharon Perfetti.