by Mary Davis, President Elect Knoxville Opera Guild

Le Masque Ball, the major fundraiser of the Knoxville Opera Guild, was held on November 12 at Cherokee Country Club. As the name of the ball infers, many of the guests were decked out in unique and festive masks. Jeannine and Doug McKamey judged the mask contest. Dorothy Stair, wearing a stunning mask and costume, won the award for “Most Glorious.” “Most Creative Male” was Ed Green; “Most Creative Woman” was Townes Lavidge Osborn. Peter Acly won “Most Handsome Man.” David Torbett won the award for “Most Colorful.”

Committee co-chairs Jan Bechtel and Nancy Van Hook gathered over 100 items for the silent auction from local merchants and individual donors. Susan Ridgell organized the live auction, which included 12 travel items and a media package. Phyllis Driver chaired the committee that recruited benefactors, sponsors and patrons. Gaye Whittaker put together the publicity. Audrey Duncan and Mary Lynn Majors designed the decorations, which included pink lighting, paper lanterns and whimsical flower table centerpieces sporting masks. Angelyn Campbell spent countless hours recruiting table hosts and Susana Esrequis designed the clever and stunning graphics for the printed materials. Trish Maffeo and her committee selected a superb dinner, of which the highlights were Caesar salad and a duo of sliced beef tenderloin and barramundi. The meal was topped off with an awe inspiring chocolate ganache. Theresa Stone is to be especially congratulated for her Herculean work of taking reservations, arranging the table seating and financial management, both before and after the Ball.

Among those present were Dan McGehee, President of Knoxville Opera; Phyllis Driver, President of the Knoxville Opera Guild; and Mary Davis, Chairman of Le Masque. Maestro Brian Salesky and wife Diana hosted a “ladies only” table seating Courtney Manrod, Felicia Hoehne, Jeanie Melton, Evelyn Jack, Leslie Parent, Carolyn Turner and Stephanie Levy. Cathy and Mark Hill hosted a table that included daughter Laura Davis and husband Shelton from Atlanta, as well as Robert Hill and Emily Kueny, Ellen Robinson and Peter Acly, Pat and Alan Rutenberg and Roman Botcharnikov. Theresa Stone hosted a table that included five former presidents of the Knoxville Symphony League in addition to herself — Rosemary Gilliam, Willene Chalmers, Jackie Newman, Joanne Mounger and Rose Moseley. During and after dinner the guests danced to the lively music from Patton James and the Synchromatics. Caesar Stair and the guests at his table particularly tripped the light fantastic until the Ball finally ended around midnight.

For more information about Knoxville Opera Guild or upcoming events including Monday Night Opera dinner concert, Opening Night Dinners, the KOG Martini Party and KOG Croquet Tournament, please visit:


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