Itzhakly Right

Fort Worth Symphony Gala starring revered violinist scores $1 million

Fort Worth Symphony Gala starring revered violinist scores $1 million

Mercedes Bass, Itzhak Perlman, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, FWSO Gala 2018
Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Mercedes Bass, Itzhak Perlman, Robert McDuffie Photo by Mike Lewis
FWSO Gala 2018
Kyle Sherman, Tess Alexander-Bono, Aaron Howard, Corrie Howard, Becky Tobin, Stephen Tobin
Asad Dean, FWSO Gala 2018
Shama Dean, Asad Dean Photo by Mike Lewis
Obinna Osuorji, Sarah Osuorji, FWSO Gala 2018
Obinna Osuorji, Sarah Osourji Photo by Mike Lewis
Itzhak Perlman, FWSO Gala
Itzhak Perlman plays with the Fort Worth Symphony. Photo by Mike Lewis
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, gala, Bass Hall
The Fort Worth Symphony plays to a sold-out Bass Hall. Photo by Mike Lewis
Mercedes Bass, FWSO Gala 2018
Mercedes Bass acknowledges gala chairs Mary Lipscomb, Ashli Blumenfeld, and Joan Friedman. Photo by Mike Lewis
Fort Worth Symphony Gala 2018
Guests dance to the Time Machine Band. photo by Mike Lewis
FWSO Gala 2018
Patrons raise the paddle enthusiastically in support of FWSO education initiatives. Photo by Mike Lewis
Karen Hall, Kevin Hall, FWSO Gala 2018
Karen Hall, Kevin Hall Photo by Mike Lewis
Alann Sampson, Robert Turner, FWSO Gala 2018
Alann Sampson, Robert Turner Photo by Mike Lewis
FWSO Gala 2018
Katy DeMayo, Catherine Nicholas, Gregory Nicholas, Rebekah Pratt, Todd Pratt Photo by Mike Lewis
Miguel Harth-Bedoya family, FWSO Gala 2018
Maritza, Emilio, Elena, Elisa, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya Photo by Mike Lewis
German Gutierrez, Silvia Gutierrez
Silvia Gutierrez, German Gutierrez Photo by Mike Lewis
Mary Lipscomb, Blake Lipscomb, FWSO Gala 2018
Mary Lipscomb, Blake Lipscomb Photo by Mike Lewis
Miguel Harth-Bedoya, FW Symphony Gala 2018
Miguel Harth-Bedoya encourages patrons to be generous. Photo by Mike Lewis
Juana Rosa, Ron Daniel, FW Symphony gala 2018
Juana Rosa, Ron Daniel Photo by Mike Lewis
Renaissance Hotel ballroom, FW Symphony Gala 2018
The gala took place at the Renaissance Worthington hotel's Grand Ballroom. Photo by Mike Lewis
Mercedes Bass, Itzhak Perlman, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, FWSO Gala 2018
FWSO Gala 2018
Asad Dean, FWSO Gala 2018
Obinna Osuorji, Sarah Osuorji, FWSO Gala 2018
Itzhak Perlman, FWSO Gala
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, gala, Bass Hall
Mercedes Bass, FWSO Gala 2018
Fort Worth Symphony Gala 2018
FWSO Gala 2018
Karen Hall, Kevin Hall, FWSO Gala 2018
Alann Sampson, Robert Turner, FWSO Gala 2018
FWSO Gala 2018
Miguel Harth-Bedoya family, FWSO Gala 2018
German Gutierrez, Silvia Gutierrez
Mary Lipscomb, Blake Lipscomb, FWSO Gala 2018
Miguel Harth-Bedoya, FW Symphony Gala 2018
Juana Rosa, Ron Daniel, FW Symphony gala 2018
Renaissance Hotel ballroom, FW Symphony Gala 2018

Who knew Itzhak Perlman could be so charming? That was the question people were asking on the shuttles en route to the Renaissance Worthington Hotel from Bass Hall, where the legendary violinist had just played a more whimsical concert than expected with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

The occasion was the symphony's 2018 Gala, a black-tie affair that started with the sold-out concert and continued with a cocktail reception, dinner, and dancing at the downtown hotel.

Before the orchestra was tuned, symphony VIPs, including FWSO chairman of the board Mercedes Bass, former president and CEO Amy Adkins, and gala co-chairs Ashli Blumenfeld, Joan Friedman, and Mary Lipscomb gathered in the Bass Hall Green Room to mingle and sip prosecco. Once all had scooped up their ballgown skirts and settled into their boxes and seats, they enjoyed an hour-long concert by Perlman and the orchestra, under the direction of music conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

Unlike past galas, which have seen the likes of Joshua Bell and Lang Lang join the symphony on a single master work, this was a performance of Hollywood movie music. Think "As Time Goes By" from Casablanca, the main title from Out of Africa, and — arguably the evening's artistic highpoint — the theme from Schindler's List.

"I've never played this one," Perlman quipped about the latter. Which, of course, was a big fib that brought roars of laughter, as Perlman, in fact, provided the solos on the official recording of John Williams' award-winning Schindler's List score. 

That was one of many light-hearted moments Perlman offered from stage that allowed the audience to feel like they were getting a private concert with a friendly guy who happens to be the world's greatest violinist. When he and Harth-Bedoya announced that the love theme from Cinema Paradiso is Harth-Bedoya's wife's favorite, Perlman joked, "Then we have to play it well." (No problems there.)

After the last notes and multiple curtain calls, FWSO board members, supporters, and musicians — including Asad Dean, Alann Bedford Sampson, Robert McDuffie, Obinna and Sarah OsuorjiKevin and Karen Hall, Kyle Sherman, Tess Alexander-Bono, and Michael Shih and Jamie Shih — headed to the hotel to celebrate. They were greeted with cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres while a pianist serenaded in the ballroom foyer.

The Grand Ballroom had been set for dinner with brilliant centerpieces of red and pink roses surrounded by twinkling white candles. Guests dined on a three-course meal of house-made gravlax, herbed beef tenderloin, and a decadent bourbon chocolate bomb for dessert.

While the evening did not include a traditional auction, a "raise the paddle" initiative led by Harth-Bedoya allowed patrons to contribute from $250 to $10,000 for the symphony's educational concerts and programs for students.

"You can't touch music, but music can touch you," Harth-Bedoya said in successfully persuading many in the room to raise their bid cards. The maestro also announced that the Fort Worth Symphony, in an effort to help mold the next generation of musicians, has partnered with TCU to launch the first ever Workshop on the Fundamentals of Orchestra Conducting.

The celebratory evening continued with dancing to the Time Machine Band before patrons grabbed the traditional FWSO Gala swag, a commemorative mug with the guest artist's likeness, and got in line for valet.

When all the numbers were tallied, the Fort Worth Symphony Gala raised about $1 million toward its many musical initiatives in the community.