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on the scene

Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s 100th anniversary gala

Abuzz on the evening of Nov. 16 was Roy Thomson Hall, the Toronto home of the city’s symphony orchestra, TSO, which this year celebrates its 100th anniversary. Yo-Yo Ma, the American cellist of international renown, who made his TSO debut in 1979 and is a longtime friend of the organization, helped mark the milestone. Ma’s performance was preceded by drinks, served adjacent to the hall’s grand staircase, ahead of dinner for some 250 of TSO’s greatest supporters.

To my right at the table, was Sydney Davloor, marketing pro and the daughter of Rags Davloor, past vice-chair of the TSO board of directors (he was seated at a table close by with his wife Indra). At the table too was another gen-next TSO supporter Michael Lockhart, digital strategist at the Ontario Pension Board by day, arts supporter by night, and a recent addition to the TSO board. Violinist James Wallenberg, who joined the TSO in 1978, was close by too. Board chair Catherine Beck was there, with her husband Dr. Laurence Rubin and dotting the room were other key givers to the symphony among them: John and Amanda Sherrington; Earlaine Collins; and Jim Fleck and Georgina Steinsky.

At the centre of it all was Mark Williams, who took office this past April as CEO of the organization. After dinner, it was TSO music director Gustavo Gimeno’s moment, as he lead the orchestra through the program, which featured a performance of George Paul’s Honour Song by the fantastic Jeremy Dutcher ahead of Ma’s passionate performance of Dvořák Cello Concerto in B Minor. Following a series of well deserved ovations, Ma returned to the stage for an unexpected encore, borrowing TSO principal Joseph Johnson’s cello to play Pablo Casals’s Song of the Birds.

Gustavo Gimeno.STUART LOWE/The Globe and Mail

TSO CEO Mark Williams, YoYo Ma, TSO Board Chair Cathy Beck and Lawrence Rubin.STUART LOWE /The Globe and Mail

Michael Lockhart, Nancy Lockhart and Dylan Hayden.STUART LOWE/The Globe and Mail

Colin Lynch and Stephanie Zhou.STUART LOWE /The Globe and Mail

Al Ramsay, Michael Daniels.Ryan Emberley/The Globe and Mail

Indra and Rags Davloor with Olga Fershaloff.KENNEDY POLLARD/The Globe and Mail

The Writer’s Trust Storytellers Ball

The following evening, the ballroom at the Park Hyatt hotel was the site of the Storytellers Ball, a gala to benefit of the The Writer’s Trust, a charity that supports Canada’s literary community through annual awards, programs including writers retreats and an emergency fund for writers in crisis. Margaret Atwood, who founded the organization in 1976 alongside Pierre Berton, Graeme Gibson, Margaret Laurence, and David Young, served as an honorary patron of the gathering. On co-chair duties at this latest was PR pro Amy Burstyn-Fritz and gallerist Lucia Graca Remedios, and there at each table, to speak to the important work the trust does, was an author, among them: Ian Williams, Vincent Lam, Tanya Talaga and Dan Werb, who won the 2022 Hilary Weston Prize for non-fiction. Also there to support the trust, which raised north of $300,000 during the evening: real estate investor Tyler MacNamara and his wife and Claire; architects Donald Schmitt and Cheryl Atkinson; philanthropist Janelle Lassonde; theatre producer and arts patron Elly Barlin-Daniels; and businessman Jim Balsillie.

David Young, Krystyne Griffin.Ryan Emberley/The Globe and Mail

Celina Caesar Chavannes.Ryan Emberley/The Globe and Mail

Kim and Dan Tanebaum.Ryan Emberley/The Globe and Mail

Graham Smith, Amy Bustyn Fritz, Lucia Remedios and Jeffrey Remedios.Ryan Emberley/The Globe and Mail

Ian Williams, Devyani Saltzman.Ryan Emberley/The Globe and Mail

Margaret Atwood.Ryan Emberley/The Globe and Mail