Press Room

Minnesota Orchestra Presents Symphony Ball 2016: Rhapsody in Blue - The Diamond Anniversary Ball

The Orchestra’s largest annual fundraiser, held June 18 at Orchestra Hall, features Minnesota Orchestra
and Music Director Osmo Vänskä, live and silent auctions, and a variety of local artists

Co-chaired by Mary, Greg and Emily Sumners, the 2016 Symphony Ball celebrates its 60th anniversary with a grand event inspired by the 1920s

The Minnesota Orchestra presents its premier gala, this year celebrating its 60th anniversary, in an elegant evening of music, entertainment and dancing at Symphony Ball 2016, titled Rhapsody in Blue: The Diamond Anniversary Ball. The event, which takes place on June 18, is an Art Deco themed gala inspired by the roaring ‘20s, that will transform Orchestra Hall for one night into a Gatsby-era mansion. In addition to a concert presented by Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra, guests will experience performances by local musicians and aerialists, and enjoy a selection of prohibition-era beverages handcrafted by some of the Twin Cities’ celebrity bartenders. Tickets are available for both the full Ball experience and the After Party. See page 2 of this press release for more information about tickets. 

Since 1956, the annual Symphony Ball has raised millions of dollars in support of the Minnesota Orchestra and its education programs. This year’s event will continue to raise critical funds to support the artistic excellence and award-winning education and community engagement programs of the Orchestra.

The 2016 Ball, Rhapsody in Blue, uniquely features a multi-generational approach. The gala will be co-chaired by the Sumners family: Mary, Greg and their daughter Emily, with Jack and Cathy Farrell serving as Honorary Chairs. The Ball’s planning committee includes more than three dozen men and women representing the Orchestra’s board, staff, musicians and community.

“The committee started with a vision to create a world class event for our world class Orchestra,” says co-chair Mary Sumners. “This 60th anniversary of the Symphony Ball will delight the senses and showcase the renovated Orchestra Hall in a whole new way. Not to mention that anyone who appreciates craft cocktails will be in for a real treat!”

Through a partnership with the United States Bartenders Guild/Minneapolis St. Paul Chapter, some of the Twin Cities most celebrated bartenders will join the Ball to create and serve craft cocktails throughout the evening. Volunteering their time to create “prohibition-era” beverages designed especially for this event will be Sam Gleeson of Eat Street Social, Christina Anderson of Spoon and Stable, Tyler Kleinow of Marvel Bar and Dave Winn of The Six15 Room. In addition, Mpls. St. Paul Magazine’s Food and Dining Editor Stephanie March will appear as a guest bartender for the evening.           

Rhapsody in Blue: The Diamond Anniversary Ball

The doors to Orchestra Hall open at 5:30 p.m. with a champagne reception, appetizers, silent auction, live band and themed rooms throughout the lobby, balconies and mezzanine. All music at the event is performed live by local artists including The Wolverines Big Band, Travis Anderson Trio, pianist Butch Thomson and accordionist Dan Turpening. J. Carver Distillery is sponsoring a craft cocktail bar and Xelias Aerial Arts provides entertainment with a champagne-pouring aerialist display.

Live and silent auction items at this year’s Ball feature such experiences as a dinner party with Music Director Osmo Vänskä and Concertmaster Erin Keefe; a trip to New York City which includes tickets to the Broadway show Hamilton; a VIP package to the Ryder Cup; an aerobatic flight over Minnetonka and many other travel opportunities and entertainment packages. Of particular note at this year’s auction: Minnesota Orchestra musicians have provided an unprecedented number of items such as Martial Arts instruction from Principal Trumpet Manny Laureano, handcrafted cutting boards from bassoonist Norbert Nielubowski and private music lessons from many of the musicians.  

After dinner has been served, the event will move to the Auditorium for the live auction and a concert by the Minnesota Orchestra. Led by Vänskä, the Orchestra performs the ball’s title piece, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Andrew Staupe, as well as Ravel’s La Valse, John Barry’s Diamonds are Forever (from the James Bond soundtrack) and Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa.

Following the auction and performance, the After Party takes place in the lobby, featuring dessert, live music by The Wolverines Big Band, swing-dancing, hand-crafted cocktails and much more.

Ticket Options for the 2016 Symphony Ball

Tickets for the entire event, including champagne reception and dinner, begin at $425. Tickets for the concert and After Party package are available for $125. These tickets allow for two options of arrival times. Guests who wish to enjoy pre-concert refreshments, hear the live performance by the Minnesota Orchestra, participate in the auctions and stay through the evening are invited to join the Ball at 7:30 p.m. Alternatively, guests may choose to use this same ticket as a Drinks and Dancing Only option to join the party after the program concludes at 9:30. This option includes post-concert desserts, craft cocktails and swing dancing into the late hours with music by The Wolverines.

Minnesota Orchestra Symphony Ball 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016 / Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis
5:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Evening Program
            5:30 p.m.         Cocktail Reception and music by the Travis Anderson Trio; Silent Auction

            6:45 p.m.         Dinner (provided by Fabulous Catering)

            7:30 p.m.         Early Arrival Time for Concert and After-Party Guests

            8:15 p.m.         Live auction and Minnesota Orchestra Concert

                                                 RAVEL                La Valse
 GERSHWIN        Rhapsody in Blue
SOUSA                Stars and Stripes Forever
                                                 NORMAN           James Bond Theme
 BARRY               Diamonds Are Forever                                        

            9:30 p.m.         Desserts, Craft Cocktail After-Party and Dancing with the Wolverines Band  

Ticket Prices, Benefits and Further Information

Rhapsody in Blue: The Diamond Anniversary Ball: Tickets start at $425

  • Event begins at 5:30 p.m.
  • Includes champagne cocktail reception with live music, formal dinner, auctions, the Minnesota Orchestra performance, craft cocktails, desserts, live music and dancing at the After-Party.

Concert and After-Party Package (No Dinner): Tickets are $125 (for either option)

            Concert Option:

  • Arrive at 7:30 p.m.
  • Includes pre-concert refreshments, auctions, the Minnesota Orchestra performance, craft cocktails, desserts, and live music and dancing at the After-Party.          

            Drinks and Dancing Only:

  • Arrive at 9:30 p.m.
  • Includes craft cocktails, desserts, live music and dancing at the After-Party.

    To purchase tickets, visit
    or contact Angela Skrowaczewski at 612-371-7128.

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Gwen Pappas, Director of Public Relations 
(612) 371-5628 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Emma Plehal, Public Relations Writer and Coordinator
(612) 371-5625 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Press Contacts

Gwen Pappas

Director of Communications
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Carl Schroeder

Publications Editor
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Emma Plehal

Communications Manager and Assistant Editor
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Isaac Risseeuw

Social Media and Content Manager
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Communications Office

Minnesota Orchestra
1111 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
Phone: 612.371.5600
Fax: 612.371.7170

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