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BSO gala a picture-perfect evening at The Gallery


MICHAEL AND JEANNE Sullivan, who chaired the "Non-Stop Pop, Bop, Hop Til You Drop" BSO Gala, have made this gala a hard act to follow for next year's gala chairmen. The evening began at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with a special concert of classical hits through the ages, directed by Baltimore's popular music director, David Zinman.

The concert put the 1,500 or so beautifully dressed guests in the mood for the razzle-dazzle cocktail hour that followed at The Gallery. (I can't think of many people, except maybe Rouse CEO Matt Devito, who could convince The Gallery "powers that be" that it would be good business to turn over the entire multi-level shopping area to gala-goers on a Saturday night, but Michael Sullivan, president and CEO of Merry-Go-Round Enterprises, managed.

Guests included former BSO gala chairs Wealtha and Jim Flick, Sandy and Bob Hillman and Edie and Al Wolpoff; horse racing czar Joe DeFrancis and Lynda O'Dea; attorney Roger Redden and his wife Gretchen, who introduced me to Ryda Levi, who with her husband Robert donated marvelous sculptures to the Baltimore Museum of Art; Lt. Gov. Mickey Steinberg and his wife Anita, surrounded by people wanting to get on board for his future gubernatorial campaign; my favorite oil man, Henry Rosenberg; PR man-about-town George Wills and his wife Suzanne, and their son Brad, accompanied by his pretty fiance Laura Bowen, a Washington lobbyist.

And what a great place for politicos the likes of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Congressmen Ben Cardin and Tom McMillan, Maryland Senate President Mike Miller (with his mother on his arm) and Prince Georges County Delegate Gary Alexander and his wife Carole.

David Zinman was spotted having a caricature done, while the affable attorney/lobbyist Alan Rifkin was doing what he does best -- networking. Nearby were Blue Cross chief Carl Sedegna and Ann Russell; Tony Hawkins and Paula Rome; Steve McLerron, Merry-Go-Round PR guy, still glowing from the opening of Boogie's Diner in New York City, named of course for McLerron's boss and one of the Merry Go Round founders, Boogie Weinglass, who attracted lots of attention at the gala.

I joined the Pachino (Orchard Inn) family -- Hersch, Frieda, Mike and Lisa -- for a chat with their close friends Joni and Jim Palmer, who were full of news about an exciting White House correspondent's dinner where Joni not only managed a one-on-one conversation with Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, but also sneaked a small camera in and got some great photos. She took so many photos that she was asked by President Bush to ease up on the pictures. The most exciting news, however, is that Jim is in the process of filming a pilot program for a new television show, "Living Today with Jim Palmer." It's a show that will focus on all aspects of life today. The pilot deals with stress and if a network should buy it, we'll be seeing it on the airways soon.

Others gala-goers were Mr. and Mrs. James Doyle, Dave and Candi Humphrey, Harvey and Lois Wise Meyerhoff, Mr. and Mrs. Marty Goldman, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Simms, Bartie and Charlie Cole, Terri Ezrine, and Mr. and Mrs. Jim Garland. I could go on and on. When I left the gala, the boppers were still hopping.

The weather was beautiful, the crabs were hot and the beer was cold, so what more could the hundreds of people who made the trek to Chestertown for the annual William Donald Schaefer Crab Feast want?

Well, they got more! Thanks to Lou Grasmick's contacts in the world of country music, the Jordanaires, best known for their work with Elvis Presley, put on a great show. "Don't Be Cruel," "Mary Lou," and "Blue Suede Shoes" had everyone bopping in their chairs, even the governor (and yours truly), who had a front-row table, along with the Grasmicks, Irv Kidwell, Chestertown Mayor and Mrs. Elmer Horsey, Brice and Shirley Phillips and Dawn and Blase Cooke.

Others there to see and be seen were Harry McGuirk, Torrey Brown, Dick Trainor, Michael Angelos (and his mom Helen), Lalit Gadhia, Marty Knott, Ed St. John, Henry Joe Knott Jr., Little Willie Adams, Bill and Paige Cox, Judy Sussman, Bebe Kernan, John Hayes, Sloane Brown, Steve Sobelman, Gene Raynor, Paul Oliver, Jack Lodge and Neimo Niedomanski, who's trying to land one of the openings on the Public Service Commission.

And there was talk of weddings. Skip Brown told me his only daughter, Lauren, is engaged to Henry J. Knott III. And the Grasmicks, (after seven years of marriage or in Lou's words, 2,555 days and nights with an angel) renewed their wedding vows later in the evening at the home of Mayor Horsey.

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