Symphony Ball: Gold Standard

Everyone loves a little extra sparkle during the holidays, right? Guests at the Symphony Ball were in luck because the Schermerhorn was a dazzling display of glittering gold for the white-tie gala. Co-chairs Laura Kimbrell and Amy Jackson Smith planned a magical evening to remember honoring the Nashville Symphony’s longtime President and CEO Alan Valentine and country music star Kelsea Ballerini.

Hugh Howser of H Three Events, who adds a little pizazz to everything he touches, chose winter neutrals accented with metallics for the elegant décor. He partnered with FLWR Shop on the combination of low, lush white centerpieces on tables in the middle of the Laura Turner Concert Hall and towering gold-painted leafy branches for tables around the perimeter of the room. Candlelight filled the entire place with a warmth that was perfect for the crisp December evening.

In a slight change this year, there was not one but two Harmony Awards presented. The first award was presented before dinner by past Board Chair Kevin Crumbo to Nashville Symphony’s own Alan Valentine. Kevin recounted Alan’s many accomplishments in the past 21 years, including overseeing the construction of the Schermerhorn, accumulating 25 Grammy nominations (and 13 wins!), overcoming setbacks like the Nashville flood in 2010, and seeing record-breaking ticket sales and fundraising efforts. “He provides inspiring leadership to the organization each and every day,” Kevin said before a standing ovation as Alan took the stage.

Alan, who is clearly uncomfortable being the center of attention, very graciously and humbly accepted the award, dedicating it to the entire Nashville Symphony staff. He reflected on the Symphony’s resilience following the flood, calling it their finest hour. “Not even a thousand-year flood could stop us!” he said as he concluded his remarks.

Following the presentation, guests enjoyed a delicious dinner from Kristen Winston before the second Harmony Award was presented to the always charming Kelsea Ballerini. Looking absolutely stunning in a sparkly red gown from Alexandre Vauthier, Kelsea enchanted the crowd with performances of “Homecoming Queen,” “Peter Pan” and “Miss Me More,” inviting all the ladies in the crowd to get up and dance during the last song before she shimmied off the stage. (She also made a quick stop in the Nfocus Portrait Studio with her gorgeous date for the night: her mom!)

Once the official festivities of the evening were concluded, everyone hit the stage to show off their moves on the dance floor to tunes from the Atlanta Allstars. The Late Party crowd kept things going until the wee hours of the morning, when only the promise of warm doughnuts and hot coffee from Ellie’s Old Fashioned Doughnuts could lure them away. All in all, it was another standout year for the unstoppable Nashville Symphony!

See photographs from the Nfocus Portrait Studio here.