OKM Gala to be Viennese Waltz Ball at Johnstone-Sare

When Maestro Constantine Kitsopoulos raises his baton and musicians from the Amici New York orchestra strike up the music for the OK Mozart International Festival gala — a formal Viennese Waltz Ball, patrons will be filled with anticipation of an incredible evening ahead.

In celebration of the festival’s 30th anniversary year featuring the “Music of Vienna,” the patron party will honor four long-time champions of OK Mozart: Pete and Theo Silas, and Glenn and Ronnie Cox.

Patrons will be regaled with the glitz and glamour of a black-tie dinner/dance excursion to Imperial Austria, circa 1844, when “the Waltz King” Johann Strauss II made his debut. That historic event took place at Dommayer’s Casino in the Hietzing part of Vienna and, afterward, ballroom dancing was never the same.

Here in Bartlesville, the setting will be the carefully restored historic landmark Johnstone-Sare building in the heart of downtown, which just a few years ago was almost completely lost to an arsonist’s fire. The building has been meticulously and accurately returned to its original 1900s form.

The OKM gala is slated to begin elegantly with Victorian costumed greeters in the lobby as tuxedoed gentlemen and ladies in long gowns ascend the grand staircase. Upstairs, as dusk falls, they’ll enjoy cocktails and a lavish gourmet dinner prepared by The Painted Horse restaurateur Mark Spencer, as lights of the city begin to twinkle below.

Spencer’s menu starts with pearls of Israeli couscous seasoned in vegetable fume then jeweled with crisp apples and tart cranberries, and finished with vinaigrette of Vermont maple spiced apple cider. The entrée will be tournedos of beef tenderloin dressed with brined green peppercorns and fresh mushrooms soaked in Cabernet served on a mash of potato with fresh asparagus char-grilled and ruby tomatoes tossed in balsamic gastrique and French olives. Dessert will be a selection of sweet — a moist double chocolate cake drenched with Mexican spiced chocolate sauce or Key Lime pie in a butter graham crust, topped with key lime sauce.

Following dinner, in typical 1844 fashion, guests will be formally introduced to ball honorees. Then the entertainment will begin. John and Xandra Manley, who for many years performed in Bartlesville Ballet’s presentation of “The Nutcracker,” will lead off with a grand waltz before OKM Executive Director Dr. Randy Thompson calls for patrons to join the dancing. Couples will dance the night away to the romantic Viennese waltzes and polkas performed live by members of OKM’s own Amici New York orchestra.

At the end of the evening, as a gift from OK Mozart, each couple will receive a complimentary piece of original Danube art created by noted local artist Lyle Don Carlos. It is Don Carlos’ Danube art that graces OK Mozart’s 30th anniversary commemorative poster.

Viennese Waltz Ball ticket prices begin at $125 per person and are on sale now. For more information or details on how to attend, call the OK Mozart office at 918-336-9800.

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