Stage Right! Symphony’s Wine Dinner a Lavish Affair for Gourmands and Oenophiles

Priscilla Dickson
Stage Right! Symphony’s Wine Dinner a Lavish Affair for Gourmands and Oenophiles

Robert Clay, Dana Barton, Bobbie Nau and Tony Bradfield

DINNER ON THE stage is always a special privilege for arts patrons — and the annual Houston Symphony Wine Dinner and Collector’s Auction, served on the stage of the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, was arguably even more spectacular than usual. After all, in addition to the uniquely striking setting, Symphony supporters also were treated a multi-course meal by chef Aaron Bludorn, paired with wines chosen by John and Lindy Rydman and Lisa Rydman Lindsey of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods.


Some “350 guests marveled at intricate French-inspired centerpieces featuring roses of varying colors and candelabras,” said a Symphony rep of the black-tie affair. “Upon arrival, guests mingled while admiring a variety of outstanding wines and spirits part of the silent auction and grazed on light bites including duck cigars, pimento cheese gougères and arancini.”

After guests were seated, a starter of Ora King Salmon with satsuma and parsnip was presented, followed by a rich ravioli filled with short rib, red onion and fig. Filet mignon with pommes puree, creamed spinach and a topping of sauce chasseur was the main course. For dessert: pavlova with strawberry, Chantilly cream and lemon curd.

The sold-out event, chaired by Nancy and Bryan Ruez, with help from wine auction chair was Jack Matzer, raised more than $850,000 for Houston Symphony’s education and community-engagement initiatives, per the company. VIP guests included Jesse Tutor, Bobbie Nau, Margaret Alkek Williams, Hallie Vanderhider, Bobby Dees, Vicki West, Ralph Burch, Daniel Irion, Kirk Kveton, Elia Gabbanelli, Robert Sakowitz, Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook, Jacquie Baly and James Craig.

Hallie Vanderhider and Bobby Dees

Margaret Alkek Williams and John Mangum

Aerin and Quentin Smith

Ann and Jonathan Ayre

Chairs Nancy and Bryan Ruez

Elia and Michael Gabbanelli

Elizabeth Colombowala, Valerie Dieterich, Ann Ayre, Rachel Ellsworth

Kirk Kveton and Daniel Irion

Eric and Lisa Lindsey

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