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Maurice and Sharon Ballew

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s Savor the Symphony Wine Dinner & Auction was held on April 13 at the Ritz-Carlton. The proceeds from the evening will benefit the Dallas Symphony Association and its education and community outreach programs which include Kim Noltemy Young Musicians, Young Strings and the Cecil and Ida Green Youth Concert Series. These programs impact over 35,000 area students and are vital as they promote brain development and high school graduation rates, opening doors to a brighter future.

The event chairs, mother and daughter duo Laura Downing and Caroline Gahm, planned an elegant evening starting with a wine tasting reception featuring Sauvignon Blanc from the Coquerel Family Wine Estates. The winemakers are Dallas residents Brenda and Clay Cockerell. 

During the tasting, guests browsed the many silent auction items, which included a large selection of specialty wines, along with bottles of Coquerel wine. A special auction item was donated by AERO, the new exclusive private jet service starting service this month from Dallas to Cabo and Aspen.

Brenda shared a brief history of their journey into the wine industry. In 2005, they purchased a vineyard in Calistoga planted to old-vine, dry-farmed Sauvignon Blanc. Since then they have revamped, replanted and  upgraded the property to luxury-class winegrowing standards. All of the bottlings are handmade in small lots to ensure character and authenticity. Daughter Lily Cockrell has joined the family business and is providing a youthful perspective.

DSO violinist  Lucas Aleman gave a special musical performance for the guests. A native of Spain, Aleman was appointed in 1998 to the position of Concertmaster of the Real Filharmonia de Galicia at the age of 22, making him, at the time, the youngest Concertmaster in Spain. He left his post in 2000 and became the Concertmaster of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 2006, Aleman has been a member of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s first violin section.


Photos by Chuck Clark

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