Symphony Gala Returns to New Year’s Eve

Occasion celebrates 70th anniversary season

The Phoenix Symphony brought back its New Year’s Eve gala after a 10-year hiatus. The occasion celebrated the symphony’s 70th anniversary. More than 200 guests attended the evening of festivities and music as they rang in 2018 on Dec. 31 at the Arizona Biltmore. The evening afforded guests the opportunity to dance before a full symphony orchestra under the direction of Stuart Chafetz, guest conductor.

During the cocktail hour, guests mingled, enjoyed a photo station and took part in a raffle that featured a custom-designed necklace in the shape of The Phoenix Symphony logo. The diamond and sapphire creation was valued at more than $15,000 and donated by Coffin & Trout Fine Jewelers. At 9, guests entered the ballroom to the energetic sounds of The JJs Band. They enjoyed a three-course dinner followed by a specialty desert in the form of a chocolate piano.

The Phoenix Symphony performed a one-hour set that included favorites such as “S’ Wonderful,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” “Twitsch-Tratsch Polka” and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Think of Me’ from Phantom of the Opera. More dancing and a champagne toast rounded out the celebration.

Leslie and Jeff Rich chaired the evening. The program included a tribute to Jeanne Herberger, honorary chair, for her nearly five decades of leadership and support of The Phoenix Symphony.


Ryan Williams, Michelle Williams, Vanessa Williams and Quinn Williams; Leslie and Jeff Rich, co-chairs

Jeanne Herberger and Jim Ward, Phoenix Symphony president and CEO

Phil Edlund and Sharon McCord

Michele and Neil Irwin; Dan and Linda Francisco

Charlene and Alan Augenstein; Dr. James Kort and Ina Kort

Harry and Rose Papp

Rebecca and Matthew Kasper, assistant conductor; Rosemary Ochoa, Tito Munoz, Virginia G. Piper Music Director; and Amanda Lee

Ellen and Lon Babby and Susan and Lee Berk

Becky Hudson and Dr. Nelson Faux, winners of custom-designed necklace donated by Coffin & Trout Fine Jewelers

Stuart Chafetz, guest conductor

The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra

Chocolate piano desert created by the Arizona Biltmore

Sharon Harper and Dr. Oliver Harper

Deb and Wes Gullett

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