Symphony gala pairs spectacular wine with a love of great music

SANTA FE, N.M. — “For a good time, call Elaine & Greg 983-3530.”
It’s in the graffiti. It’s true.

The Heltmans know how to put together a fun event and they did it for the Santa Fe Symphony again this year with their La Dolce Vita gala.

One of the main elements of their recipe for a good party is passion for spectacular wine. Not the house wine. Not a nice little crispy Chardonnay, a mellow little Malbec. No, no. How about a great big 96+ points on the Antonio Galloni ratings?

Well, yum yum! EVERY wine the symphony served this evening was at the very top of the charts. Wines that set your taste buds just crazy, gorgeous! Really great wine makes one realize, “I just can’t bother with crummy wine. I only have time for the good stuff.” Kind of like music…

The last four seats at our table fell to Paul and me. and a beautiful, unknown couple, so we all introduced ourselves. Lo and behold, the mystery guests turned out to be Valerie Turner and THE fabuloso Guillermo Figueroa, the symphony’s brand new conductor! “I’m coming home,” he told us, having been to Santa Fe in 1986 and having “spent six idyllic summers” as assistant concertmaster of the Santa Fe Opera. And loved it. Paradise found! But opportunity knocked elsewhere and stole him away, goodbye. He had hated to leave.

Maestro Heltman said that “a conductor must be able to get through a piece with VISION from beginning to end,” and Maestro Figueroa has the baton technique to do it. Now home again, home again, jiggety jig! Welcome back!

Two hundred people came to the Hotel Santa Fe, Hacienda & Spa for the Italian-themed evening with the exquisite vino Italiano and mangia bene cuisine. You could win a trip to the old country and sample the real thing for about a week, among other wonderful things in the auction.
The symphony’s auction is always raucous and rousing, and raises money to endow its education fund, underwriting things like field trips sending schoolchildren to come hear the music. We know the difference classical music can make in young lives and this is not your grandmother’s symphony! The Heltmans make it contemporary, interesting and enjoyable for all ages.
So, for a good time, go to the Santa Fe Symphony!

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

Greg and Elaine Heltman show Symphony supporters a good time at their Dolce Vita gala.

Richard and Carol Rudman, gala chair.

Dr. Penelope Penland with Ronald McGinnis.

Symphony conductor Guillermo Figueroa with Valerie Turner.

Jim Derryberry with Caroline King at the Santa Fe Symphony Gala.

Marsha Lefkowitz and Richard Quaid at the Santa Fe Symphony Gala.

Shirley and Frank Hirsch with Penelope Vasquez at the Santa Fe Symphony Gala.

Allegra Derryberry enjoying the symphony gala.

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