Ars Lyrica supporters ushered in 2019 in style once again thanks to the Grammy-nominated early music ensemble's New Year's Eve gala and concert. As is tradition, guests turned out for dinner and a show plus plenty of bubbly, dancing, and a view of the celebratory downtown fireworks.
The evening began with a seated prix fixe menu meal for more than 80 at the newly renovated Diana Americana Grill. After that, an audience of more than 300 cheered the Baroque Razzle-Dazzle program with a standing ovation. The performance featuring both first and third "Brandenburg" Concertos, acclaimed violinist Adam LaMotte, and Grammy-nominated Ars Lyrica ensemble instrumentalists.
Later, in the glittering Founders Club at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 125 revelers counted down the new year with sweet and savory bites, free-flowing champagne, and a Chicago-style performance by soprano Dominique McCormick and pianist Keith Weber. DJ Cory Frederick and Catalyst Design kept everyone on the checkerboard dance floor with their music and lighting, and, once the ball dropped, a shower of ticker tape, champagne toast, and rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" welcomed 2019.
The annual gala benefited Ars Lyrica, the pioneering ensemble founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst that presents 17th- and 18th-century music on period instruments. A festival favorite here, it was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Opera in 2011 for its world premiere recording of Johann Adolf Hasse's Marc 'Antonio e Cleopatra.
Guests at this year's event included Ars Lyrica leadership: Dirst, founder and artistic director; Gala chairs Michelle Stair and Carlos Sierra, Julie and John Cogan, and Jano and John Kelley; and board members Karthryn and Brendan Godfrey, John Lemen, Richard and Eleanor Viebig, and Ed and Janet Hess.