While the wicked stepmother was busy turning the Gateway Clipper into a giant duck Friday night, more than 900 guests were enjoying some enchanted evening at Heinz Hall. Once Upon A Time, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Gala, raised a magical $1 million with the sold-out benefit. That this year's event was the fourth consecutive sell-out is testament to the outstanding job the PSO does in finding new support while it retains the old, and to the reputation the gala has for being a top-notch event.
At its heart is the gala concert with an internationally renowned soloist. This year it was cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who delighted the packed house with the warmth of both his music and personality, handing his flowers to principal cellist Anne Martindale Williams and taking a seat next to his friend Hampton Mallory for the encore.
Guests gathered before the concert for cocktails in the plaza on a perfect night marred only by late arrivals -- the hordes descending on the city for the Rubber Duck launch and other events had traffic snarled for miles. But that made a drink even more welcome before trumpeteers emerged from the balcony to announce the concert. Afterward the party split in two, with gala guests enjoying a formal dinner in Heinz Hall prepared by the Duquesne Club and Soiree guests moving on to the Fairmont. There they mingled with Snow White, Cinderella and the musicians while dining on a buffet of pumpkin ravioli and salmon wrapped in puff pastry and dancing into the wee hours.
The Tillotson family chaired the gala -- Curt and Kim Tillotson Fleming, Craig and Jill Tillotson, Bob and Sharon Tillotson Gallagher and Carol Hefren Tillotson. PSO board chair Dick Simmons and his wife Ginny served as honorary chairs with the extended Walton family headed by Jim and Ellen Walton. Jensina Chutz (with Tim Campbell) chaired the Soiree. Among the many guests were PSO president Jim Wilkinson with Susanne, BNY Mellon chairman Gerald Hassell with Agnes in from New York, Sheila and Milton Fine, Connie and Benno Bernt, Dona and Tom Hotopp, Cindy and Murry Gerber, Lou and Henry Gailliot, Susie and Roy Dorrance, Bill Peduto, David Hillenbrand, Jared Cohon, Esther Barazzone, Nancy and Jeff Leininger, Cherry and Ray White, Laurie and Rick Johnson, Bernita Buncher and Bill Fetter, Gabriela and David Porges, Amy and Sean Sebastian, Diane and Dennis Unkovic, Dorothy and Ron Chutz, Anne Lewis with Jim Zeszutek and many more.
First Published October 1, 2013 4:00 AM