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Chicago Symphony Orchestra gala hits high notes, hosts 600 guests

CSO Chairman Bill Osborn Symphony Ball co-chairs LisWalker Rudnick Annette Dezelan. | Todd Rosenberg

CSO Chairman Bill Osborn and Symphony Ball co-chairs Lisa Walker Rudnick and Annette Dezelan. | Todd Rosenberg

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Updated: January 8, 2012 1:15AM



The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Women’s Board hosted more than 600 guests for an evening of music, cocktails and a delectable dinner at the annual Symphony Ball, held Saturday night. Gala­goers first enjoyed an hourlong concert conducted by CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti, who made a triumphant return after he was absent from last year’s festivities because of illness, before boarding trolleys that whisked them away to the Hilton on South Michigan Avenue.

Prominent partygoers included CSO Association Chairman and former Northern Trust CEO Bill Osborn and his wife, Cathy; William and Karen Goodyear; John Hart and Carol Prins, and Cyrus and Mitzi Freidheim. Guests sipped champagne in the second floor ballroom of Symphony Center before taking their seats in the Daniel Burnham-designed Orchestra Hall to watch Muti and the CSO perform selections from Verdi’s “The Four Seasons” and Prokofiev’s “Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor.”

After guests arrived at the Hilton and heard short remarks from gala co-chairs Annette Dezelan and Lisa Walker Rudnick, the dinner of vegetable terrine and grilled filet of beef was served. Later, the dance floor heated up as many grooved to jazzy sounds and popular tunes until just past midnight.

Tickets to the gala began at $750, and in total, almost $1 million was raised to benefit the CSO.

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American fashion designer David Meister showcased 33 looks — many featuring his signature, body-hugging fabrics and silhouette — at the sixth annual Couture & Cocktails, held last Friday night at an off-the-beaten path venue, the Hudson, 2222 S. Michigan. The yearly event, hosted by the Joffrey Ballet Women’s Board, has become one of the fall’s most anticipated charity functions, thanks in part to the top-notch talent that organizers secure for the fashion show and the forward-thinking fashion donned by glamorous guests.

Recently tapped by actress Jane Lynch to dress her for her Emmy Awards hosting gig, Meister is certainly riding a hot streak. Especially praised by critics for the plum-colored gown she donned on the red carpet, Lynch allowed Meister to really take the reins and flex his creative muscle with the multiple looks she wore throughout the show. “I said to her, ‘No pants, no suits. Let’s show some skin,’ ” said Meister.

The party’s guest list read like a who’s-who of the Chicago society set, including Anne Kaplan, Amelia Silva, Whitney Lasky and Shelley MacArthur Farley, but there were a few other well-known faces spotted among the crowd when Chicago Bears players Charles Tillman, Israel Idonije and Matt Forte made their arrival on the red carpet.

A ticket to the fashionable fete — co-chaired by Rebecca Besser and Kristina McGrath, who donned matching, one-shouldered, silver David Meister gowns — began at $275. In total, more than $250,000 was raised.



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