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Monday, Feb. 24, 2020

Party like it's the roaring '20s

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Symphony Gala celebrates the past to shape the future

Louisiana’s oldest continually operating professional orchestra and one of the most respected regional orchestras in the U.S. is the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra.

Maestro Michael Butterman, who is also the conductor of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Philharmonic, is committed to giving everyone in Shreveport- Bossier the opportunity to experience the transformative power of a symphony orchestra by creating performances for audiences of all different interests. “We play Mozart and Tchaikovsky, but we also play the music of Queen and Led Zeppelin. We work with Broadway stars as well as world-class classical soloists,” he said.

On March 12, the Shreveport Symphony will celebrate the musical past at a fundraising gala themed “Charleston the Night Away: Party Like It’s the Roaring ‘20s at the Horseshoe Casino Riverdome.

Featured entertainment will be vocalists Rocky Maddox and Seva May. The dancing team of Laura Beeman Nugent and Adam Philley will demonstrate the “Charleston” and teach it to the party guests before the dance floor opens.

Members of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, led by Butterman, will play pieces from the Roaring ‘20s, like “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “Embraceable You,” “Blue Skies,” “Let’s Misbehave,” “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” and others. Photos of Shreveport from the early 19th century will be broadcast on screen.

The funds raised at the gala contribute to the general operating fund of the symphony, according to Board President Margaret Elrod. This supports orchestra performances and allows the symphony to collaborate with other arts organizations and to present robust educational and community outreach programs. The symphony typically holds a gala about every 18 months.

The gala is more than just a party to help the symphony; it ultimately helps the entire Shreveport-Bossier area. “Having a symphony is a very important dimension to economic development and attracting businesses into a community,” said Susan Hardtner, gala sponsors chair. “We are so grateful to both our individual and corporate sponsors who are vital to our success.” Gala Chair Libby Siskron is thrilled to see the level of support given to this event by our community. “The Shreveport Symphony is essential to the quality of life in our area,” she said.

The symphony’s season sponsor of the Masterworks Series is Willis Knighton Health System. “We take our mission beyond the walls of the hospital out into the community … The symphony is a cornerstone of that commitment – a community with great cultural and educational opportunities will produce a more vibrant lifestyle for its citizens thereby making it more attractive for business, industry, health-care leaders, higher education and others,” said Elrod, who is also senior vice president at Willis Knighton.

The Shreveport Symphony also provides music for and collaborates with the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet, Shreveport Opera and Shreveport Little Theatre, and is currently working on a program with Grambling University’s Orchesis Dance Company.

Individually, the orchestra members positively impact the area, serving as local music department directors, music teachers and musicians for churches and special events. As part of the symphony’s community engagement programs, members perform in numerous elementary schools, and upper elementary students are invited to an educational full orchestra “Discovery Concert.” A musical story time “Sym-Phonics” program for preschoolers is offered in partnership with local and regional library systems. The recently expanded “Senior Symphony” program, in partnership with senior-care facilities in the area, now entertains over 600 seniors annually.

At the gala, celebrity emcees and auctioneers will be Dan and Jacque Jovic of KTAL NBC 6 news. A silent and live auction will include vacation destinations, jewelry, artwork and gift certificates for dining and shopping, among other items. There will be a game of Heads or Tails and a Wine Pull. A 14k-gold money tree pendant necklace ($1,400 value) by North Carolina jewelry designer Charlie Wharton of Starfire Designs Jewelry will be the door prize.

A number of volunteers have worked to plan this special event. Gala chair: Libby Siskron; entertainment co-chairs: Jennifer Carsillo and Michael Butterman; event sponsor chair: Susan Hardtner; auction co-chairs: Susan Berry and Sharon McGivney; table host co-chairs: Anita Berg and Marletta Eddy. Other gala committee members: Elizabeth Beck, Robert Crawford, Ginger Flournoy, Libby Gleason, Knox Goodman, Debbie Graham, Sidney Kent, Maggie Malone, Jerry Martin, Brenda Pettit, Helen and David Richard, Janie Richardson, Will Sale and Anne Wilson. (See photographs.)

Support of the symphony – through the gala or a donation – helps strengthen economic development in the Shreveport- Bossier area and delivers outstanding entertainment to its residents. As Elrod notes, “Music lifts the spirit and nourishes the soul.”

Gala 2020 Corporate Sponsors

Red River Bank, Shreveport Symphony Guild, Silver Star Smokehouse, Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Funeral Homes, LSU-S Foundation, Merrill Lynch, Willis Knighton Health System, Ballengee Foundation, Brammer Engineering, Business First Bank, Chevyland, Citizens Bank, Eagle Distributors of Shreveport, Fire Tech Systems Inc. and Ivan Smith Furniture


When: Thursday, March 12, 2020, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Riverdome at Horseshoe Casino

Attire: Cocktail or Roaring ‘20s costume

Free garage parking; valet available Gala Tickets $125/person Call for availability: 318.222.7496 Make a donation or learn more: shreveportsymphony.com.

On the cover: Laura Beeman Nugent (pictured) and Adam Philley will demonstrate the "Charleston" and teach guests all the right moves.


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