Brave decision nets $70K for Santa Fe Symphony

SANTA FE, N.M. — It was almost a bust! It was almost the party where nobody came! “California Dreamin’” was the oxymoronic theme for the 2017 Annual Symphony Gala!
It’s hot now in the middle of the summer, but let me take you back a ways. Remember the blizzard with a surprise foot of snow that came pouring out of the sky one late April morning, a Saturday, in celestial buckets, shocking the buds off flowering trees, closing La Bajada Hill and the road to Los Alamos, and causing us all to turn on the heat again?

In-floor radiant takes a couple of days to heat up, so it was layers of sweaters at our house, dreamin’ of the beach, imagining sun again, fantasizing about being warm. Not wanting to leave the house! (Well, I did actually have to leave the house, but that’s another story… the story of braving that storm to get to the Opera Costume Department’s “Every Now and Then” sale. I thought I’d be the only one there! It was packed!)

At noon on Saturday, with that snow still dumping down in torrential sheets, the dreaded executive decision was addressed by the Symphony Gala Committee – continue on and probably no one would come that evening, or postpone and reschedule for the next day, Sunday night, when the weather would be more amicable. (In truth, no one wanted to go out! Freezing, snowy Saturday, snow boots and an evening dress?) A good night to stay in with a fire in the kiva and a pot of soup on the stove … but who has a gala on a Sunday night? Would anyone come then?
It was a gutsy call, but they called it off, and everyone was in the spirit the next evening, spring again, for the new and improved event!

The garden room at Hotel Santa Fe was filled with ethereal harp music and glittering silent auction items tempted the bargain hunter! You could buy a stunning $600 crystal for half that. And the live auction was raucous, as usual! This is not a shy and retiring crowd! It seems a lot of folks harbor a secret fantasy of being an orchestra’s conductor. The opportunity to wield the baton in front of Santa Fe’s own symphony this upcoming season sold for a fortissimo $6,000.
As in previous years, wine comparisons were a fun part of the evening. Two very different, delicious Chardonnays with the oyster bisque; a Pinot Noir and a Merlot with the carpaccio course; two sublime cabs with the lamb; and one Essensia dessert wine with the sponge dessert.
About 140 people attended the unusual sold-out Sunday night gala, raising a whopping $70,000 for the Symphony’s budget in its most successful auction in history! So, let it snow!

Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email

Joan Kessler

Mary Louise and Michael Williams

Kathy and Brad Holian

Symphony Maestro, Greg Heltman.

Leslie Miller.

Fred Glantz, wine benefactor.

Conductor Guillermo Figueroa and spouse, Valerie Turner.

Frank and Shirley Hirsch.

Valerie Ingram.

Allegra Derryberry.


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