Grand Slam on Grand Stage
Mercury 15th anniversary gala takes the cake with Lynn Wyatt poetry and musical celebration
Mercury, the Orchestra Redefined, never fails to enchant with its annual gala, held on stage at Wortham Theater Center. Yet, Friday night's musically-infused 15th anniversary gala might have taken the cake — at least the birthday cake.
In a stirring musical nod to the company's decade and a half of making beautiful Baroque music, founder and artistic director Antoine Plante led the orchestra in a half dozen arrangements of "Happy Birthday," including a la Mozart, Beethoven, ragtime and polka.
That was icing on the cake, so to speak, of the evening that included a recitation of Plante's favorite poem by honorary chair Lynn Wyatt, a long-time Mercury supporter. She recited World War I poet Siegfried Sassoon's ode to classical composers as the orchestra mystically rose on the stage behind her. And in her own words, Wyatt added, "Music inspires us when we are flagging, comforts us when we grieve, and speaks the beauty we cannot articulate."
And, of course, Mercury musicians enchanted the 280 guests with an abbreviated concert. There were applause all around including for gala chairs Isabel and Danny David and Carolyn and Garry Tanner.
The seated dinner (orchestrated by A Fare Extraordinaire), the live auction (conducted by Jeff Smith) and dancing (to the sounds of DJ Marv) all took place on the theater stage where crystal chandeliers held prominence overhead.
The party crowd included Kristy and Chris Bradshaw, Diane Lokey Farb, Karen and Mike Mayell, Cynthia and Tony Petrello, Natalie and Tory Watson, Judy Nyquist, Carrie and Sverre Brandsberg-Dahl, and Christine Kirchner.