The tent next to the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall had the air of a reunion going on. Hundreds of folks in fine feather (and satin and lace) were acting like they hadn't seen each other in years. So, maybe it had only been a few months. But the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Gala signaled the end of the summer party drought, and the welcome kick-off to a busy fall party season.
First, there was the two-hour dinner reception before everyone would head into the hall for a BSO concert featuring the orchestra's new conductor, Marin Alsop. And BSO board chair Michael Bronfein and president-CEO Paul Meecham played hosts to the throng of guests that seemed happy to get back into the party swing.
Attorney Renee Ades looked like a student excited about being back for the first day of school.
"This is the first of many [parties] for this year," she said with a gleam in her eye.
"It certainly is a new beginning for the symphony, with new leadership and new conductor. And just a great thing for Baltimore," added her husband, Stanton Ades, NeighborCare Pharmacies senior vice president.
After the concert, partygoers attending a dessert reception got a bit of a scare when a propane tank used to heat food exploded. But that didn't seem to dampen the enthusiam of the crowd, which lingered at the party while the firefighters put out the flames.
A Drink With Dorothy Hamill
Dorothy Hamill, 51, 1976 Olympic skating champion, has lived in Baltimore for the past 10 years. She continues to skate professionally, and her autobiography, A Skating Life: My Story, is due in bookstores any day now. You came to Baltimore to be near your coach and choreographer, and to give your daughter, Alex, a good education. Now, Alex is in college, are you going to stick around?
I love it here. I have some of the best friends in the world. It's a great place to come to. It's gritty. It's real.
What are you doing these days?
I'm starting to rehearse a show called Broadway on Ice that will start to tour in North America the second week of November. That goes to the beginning of February with a couple of breaks in between. Then, I have a holiday TV show with Barry Manilow and Brian Boitano, and a holiday show in Dallas, Texas.
Do you ever get sick of skating?
I do. I go through spells when I get burned out. But, now especially, when there's something I'm building toward [like the coming ice show], I love it. I love the creative process, choosing music. Training it, rehearsing it and incorporating it into whatever the show is - that's never tiring.
What do you do on your time off?
I visit with friends, neighbors. Just kind of be real. I'm a homebody ... but I have such great friendships, when I go out with them, it doesn't feel like going out. ... I try to get involved in the community; the local charities. I like the easiness, the simplicity of Baltimore. [In] L.A., it's really all about who you know, what kind of car you drive and who your movie star friends are. Here, you can go to Eddie's [of Roland Park] without having showered, and nobody's going to say, "Boy, has she let herself go."
What would surprise people to know about you?
That basically I'm shy.
Do you have guilty pleasures?
Gosh, yes. I'm drinking one right now. I love food. I'm a total foodie. I love the Food Channel, all those cooking shows. I like to cook. ... I like to go to antique shows. I like to travel for fun, but mostly it's for work. I like to do crazy things like clean and iron. I find that very soothing.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I polish silver really well. And I load a mean dishwasher. If I wasn't a skater, I would definitely try to be an interior designer. ... I could get lost in the [Washington, D.C.] Design Center and no one would ever hear from me again.