White Tie


The Always Fashionable Academy Ball

For decades, the Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball has been among Philadelphia’s most highly anticipated charity events. On Saturday, January 25, 2020, acclaimed performer John Lithgow joined Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra to celebrate the 163rd Anniversary of the Academy of Music ( Academy Ball Philadelphia 2020 ), as well as some Philly royalty. Lithgow mentioned that Gritty was unable to attend, as he was stepping back. He’s now the Prince Harry of Philadelphia.

Thanks Andre Flewellen for this fabulous photo.
Nicholas Perugino, Dr. Thanuja Hamilton, Sheila Hess, and Moi
View this post on Instagram

Fun table #theacademyball163 @academymusicphl

A post shared by Philly ChitChat (@phillychitchat) on

I’ve enjoyed all the Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball I’ve attended, and they were all very special, but this year was extra special. My tux finally fit perfectly, thanks Men’s Wearhouse and Will Speed over there on Chestnut Street. The friends who filled my table were perfect, thanks Lynsie Solomon for fitting them all at my table. The event went swimmingly, the event planners did an awesome job. The cocktail party, the concert, the entertainment along the promenade to the Bellevue and the BELLEVUE was spectacular. The prettiest it ever has been. It was a night to remember and I can’t wait to go back again. Everyone looked fabulous.

Tiffani Howard, Liz Baker and Dixie James,
Jude Tuma and Aronte Bennett
The Anniversary Concert and Ball benefits the Academy of Music Restoration Fund and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Tickets are available at www.theacademyball.org
The night can seem long when you learn it starts at 5pm and ends at 2am, but it goes by fast and is enjoyable at every turn. It’s starts out with the very popular white-tie celebration at 5 PM with the Chair’s Pre-Concert Reception at the Academy of Music.
Gianni DiMezza, Giovanna Tripodi, Lynsie Solomon, wearing Missoni and Evan Solomon, co-chair of the Young Friends
Best ensemble: Jason and Rachel Cevera , Chris and Teresa Kenny, and Ralph and Stephanie DeVito
Fashion Standout, another gorgeous green dress
Kimmie Ragone wearing Marchesa Notte Dress and Alexandre Birman shoes (of course we can only see her fabulous pedicure)
Kyle Scott and Elizabeth Scott, co-chair of the Young Friends
BTW I appreciate this couple so much. I have met them a thousand times, when I see them I know I know them, but as most of you know I have a very bad memory and I can never remember their names; They are always so gracious about it and I thank you.

Senator Larry Farnese and Annie McCormick wall to wall smiles is always the best look.

The evening continued with the concert in the Academy auditorium at 7 PM.

The post-concert celebrations begin with the traditional promenade up the Avenue of the Arts from the Academy to the Bellevue Hotel, where guests enjoyed an evening of spirited music, dinner, and dancing. 

If you look closely on the Academy of Music at the corner of Broad and Locust you will see a scrim on the Locust street side. Anyone can come and pose for a selfie and it looks like you are on stage under the chandelier looking out into the audience. 

Along the promenade walking up Broad Street and inside the Bellevue Hotel, guests enjoyed entertainment by the Philadelphia Handbells and Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir

The ballroom, and all the rooms the Ball fills were beautifully decorated making each one special and unique. If you’ve never been I really encourage you to go at least once. You will fall in love with the enchanted evening, but most importantly you will learn why it’s an essential fundraiser to maintain the beautiful jewel on Locust Street, The Academy of Music. It really is a special building and you can see the restoration it’s undergone over the past decade.
The bell of the ball, and a mighty fun dance partner – Teresa Nino Kenny in her fun and fancy free Oscar de la Renta gown. Thank you for such a fun time on the dance floor, as well as Paula McDermott, Kimmie Ragone and Janet Guthart. So many more photos will be in Philly Style Magazine, Philly Mag and Philly Tribune in the coming days. Check out CBSPhilly for additional photos.
Till next year Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball !!

The Best Dressed of the 161st Anniversary Concert and Ball

The 161st Anniversary Concert and Ball was celebrated Saturday, January 27, 2018 at the Academy of Music and Hyatt at the Bellevue. A sold out crowd enjoyed a pre cocktail party, a spectacular concert by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra along with special guest Steve Martin, before making the iconic walk up Broad Street to the Bellevue for dinner, dancing and fun. The Anniversary Ball is a White Tie event, with a very strict dress code with no room for interpretation. Even the photographers who shoot the event are required to adhere by the dress code of White Tie and full length gowns. That being said, lets see who the stand outs of the evening were as decided by a PhillyChitChat panel. Funds from the gala go to the restoration fund for the Academy of Music building

Marilyn Russell, WOGL in a stunning glittery gown was my date for the evening.

Dr. Lynn G. Dever, MD and Jim Dever, Bank of America’s Philadelphia market president. Bows were big this year!!

Amazing mother daughter fashionista’s Sloane Glass and Nancy Glass

Linda Swain wearing Nicole Miller and Ian Swain

Lydie Szabo Brown, 161st Anniversary Concert and Ball Co-Chairmen and Paul De Janosi

Kevin Johnson and Kimya Johnson, RED HOT. Red was the dominate color of the night for the ladies.

Congrats to Jason and Rachel Cevera, baby girl Cevera, due this May.

Lynsie Solomon wearing a gorgeous Rene Ruiz with dapper husband Evan Solomon
Stunning Amber Gomes and husband Pedro Gomes|
Amber wore Johnathon Kaye. He was a Project Runway Allstar.Janice Wright Waitkus and Bob Waitkus

Janice wore Kay UngerRed Dress from Neiman Marcus, white fur Jacques Ferber. I loved her handbag from Anthropologie and elegant 18k Caviar LAGOS jewelery

Brad Marshall and Sarah Marshall arrive at the pre concert cocktail party at the Academy of Music. Sarah is wearing Monique Lhuillier  from Neiman Marcus

Susan Boulton and Mark Mills
Stunning in winter white Elizabeth Wixted and Kyle Scott. 2018 will be a very good year in deed as the happy couple are engaged to be married

Another couple walking down the aisle this year Erika Blatt and Cory Siegfried, who will exchange rings in April.

I wish I had gotten a full length shot of these two beauties, but it was upstairs during the cocktail hour and it was packed. I love, love, love their textured dresses: Rafaela Torres with a mix of gold, black and silver applique dress and Carrie Benson silver, black and grey applique dress

This photo doesn’t do Alissa Frederico‘s dress justice as I forgot to change my white balance on my camera with Alex Holley scarlet red silk satin strapless gown.

Dress: @marchesafashion Baubles: @bernierobbinsjewelers MUA: @seth_bartonroberts for @priv Headband: @justinemcouture @labellemariee Hair:


Sharon Phillips Waxman with daughter Mackenzie Drew.
Sharon’s company SPW Productions was one of the producers of the Academy Ball event again this year.

SPW Productions secured the entertainment which were seen along the Broad Street promenade. The women on the left is wearing a spectacular gown, which makes my list of the 24 best list.

 Yasmina Moukarzel and John Giordano, had the wedding of the century last year, and my pick for one of the best events of the year in an earlier post on chitchat.  Yasmina is wearing Giambattista Valli haute couture

Kristin Detterline, beautiful green gown accessorized with Bernie Robbins jewelry and Justin Jeffers

Anne Hamilton, Board Member of the Academy of Music, here with husband Matt Hamilton

Best Dressed repping the Philadelphia Eagles as Anne drapped the flag around her beautiful gown, with a ribbon.

Stunning and never disappointing Anne Callahan wearing Oscar de la Renta

Best dressed of the evening, Dr. Nina Radcliff looks gorgeous in her spring like gown, a staunch Trump supporter, Dr. Nina, TV personality and columnist’s date for the Ball was the handsome Democratic Senator Larry Farnese, proving that you can reach across the aisle, put politics aside and find common ground.
For all the details on the 161st Anniversary Ball

For more photos from the Ball check out Philly Style Magazine and CBSPhilly. Additional Photos will appear in the March issue of Philadelphia Magazine (some may be on this page) and next weeks Liberty City Press


The Best Dressed of the Academy of Music 160th Anniversary Concert and Ball

The Best Dressed of the Academy of Music 160th Anniversary Concert and Ball

PS Some of these photos will appear in Philly Mag, a few photos that will run are not included here and finally please DO NOT take a photo until 3 days, you may link back to my page though which I would appreciate. Then on Friday you may come back and screen shot the pix you want and post it, but please again link back to my site. Also it’d be good if you did this for Susan Scovill and Al For as well. Clicks on our site help us with clients and advertisers. This column took over 12 hours to write as it’s difficult to whittle down the pictures to the best of the best 30 photos, especially when i know nearly everyone I photograph.
Thanks, now on with the show…..

Oh what a night. Saturday night I went to my 6th Academy Ball. It was magical and one of the best I’ve attended. Attendance was up, and there was a good mix of people from all walks of life, and many more young people than ever before packing the dance floor until 2AM. The evening began with the Chairman’s Reception at the Academy of Music, then there’s the concert, afterwards guests promenade up Broad Street to the Hyatt at The Bellevue where guests dine in one of the 5 different public spaces at the historic hotel. Each room with a different musical theme – jazz, waltzes, current pop, country, and classical. I make it a point to hit each room and enjoy the vibe, especially in the Rose Garden Ballroom where guests traditionally waltz, jitterbug and quickstep.

Colleen Wyse, Stephen K. Klasko MD, president of Thomas Jefferson, Lucia Languino, MD and Dario C. Altieri, MD – The Wistar Institute – All are looking amazing in White Tie

Speaking of traditions, the Academy Ball’s dress is White Tie. White tie, also called full evening dress, is the most formal evening dress code in Western fashion, gowns for women and white tie formal for men. Although everyone I photographed looked amazing, my best dressed picks adhered to the standard of the White Tie. I would never want to see it go away, it’s the last one we have in Philly, and it’s on par with State Dinners as well as The Met Gala, another event I have covered in the past. It’s a nice tradition.

HD1_2254 (Medium) (Custom)

The Co-Chairmen for 160th Anniversary Concert and Ball  were Georgiana W. Noll and Harry E. Hill III
Young Friends Co-Chairmen Lynsie Solomon and Scott S. Johnson

HD1_2260 (Custom)

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and

HD1_2234 (Custom)

OK Martin Short is not dressed White Tie, but I’ll let him slide

special guest artist Martin Short kept the nearly 2000 people in attendance entertained for about 90 minutes, slipping into characters he’s made famous – Ed Grimley and Jiminy Glick; and I was surprised that he had such a good singing voice. He was really amazing and a great choice for the 160th anniversary.

HD1_2442 (Small)
Also on the bill was Soprano Vanessa Vasquez, an Academy of Vocal Arts resident artist, sang an aria from Puccini’s La rondine. Vanessa had LED lights under her dress, which made her dress glitter as she glided across the floor. With her is André Courville;

Meredith West wearing a gown from Jan’s Boutique in Cherry Hill and Erin Cook

HD1_2197 (Custom)

This group Ben Cross, Rosemary Connors, Alisa Frick and Tony Frick always looks amazing, but Alisa choice of a royal blue Nicole Miller dress is breathtaking.  I wish I had asked Rosemary more about that dress, and her necklace, just amazing. Yeah the boys look good too, but how lucky are they to have these stunners on their arms.

HD1_2129 (Custom)

Richard Roccato and Greg Schwab head upstairs to the President’s Reception at the Academy of Music for the pre-party before the concert and Ball. For a white tie event, a white or red carnation are traditional.


Joanna McNeil Lewis wearing NY Designer Donald Deal, John Saler and Christina Saler is wearing Jovani with a lace illusion mid-section gown, which is very popular now, and this style gown is appropriate for a White Tie Gala.

Danelsy Medrano, MBA and Doug Oliver

Definitely one of the best dressed of the night with the most brilliant smiles. Great posture, and
perfect hand on hip placement. I like the dramatic background as well. Next year I’m posing everyone here.
Danelsy Medrano, MBA and Doug Oliver

HD1_2095 (Custom)

These two are adorable. Andrew Culbard, from Scottland and Peter McQuillan, from Ireland, heard about The Academy Ball from friends in Europe and flew in just for the occasion.
(Scottish Highland dress is often worn to black- and white-tie occasions, especially at Scottish reels and ceilidhs; )

HD1_2099 (Custom)
For women  the rules are simple Formal (floor length) evening gown and Long gloves (optional) and Teresa Nino (2012/13 co-chair of Young Friends of the Academy Ball) looks fabulous with fiance Dr. Christopher M. Kenney, Esq. Congrats are in order as well as the two will be welcoming their first child in 2017.

Philly Chit Chat’s choice for Best Dressed of 2016 makes the list for Best Dressed at the Academy Ball is not a surprise.
Flo Celender (wearing Juan Carlos Pinera) and Rick Celender

HD1_2162 (Custom)

Jim Dever, Bank of America’s Philadelphia market president and Dr. Lynn G. Dever, MD

Steven and Sylvia Feinberg, with daughter Lynsie Solomon, Young Friends Co-Chairmen (wearing Rene Ruiz) and Evan Solomon


Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
You’ll have to wait til the March issue of Philly Mag to see what he changed into.

HD1_2270 (Custom)
After the concert guests were serenaded by several groups along the way to the Hyatt at the Bellevue. This was the creative idea of event producer Sharon Phillips Waxman a few years back.

HD1_2356 (Custom)
Mark Nicoletti and his daughters Francesca, Megan, and Sophia begin the promenade down Broad Street after the concert.

Otis and Faith Hightower
Otis and Faith Hightower

HD1_2290 (Custom)
Toni Leslie and fashion blogger Ian Michael Crumm wearing a vintage tail coat, tailored from a coat he found in his moms closet, Zara pants, Bruno Magli shoes, a Baume and Mercier watch from Bernie Robbins, and his newly dyed gray locks are by Roxy at The Rittenhouse Spa.

Alisa Frederico, Style Director at Dressing Jane, wearing Theia Couture with baubles by Bernie Robbins, and Alex Holley, Good Day Fox 29, wearing Bloomingdale’s private label brand Aqua

HD1_2193a (Custom)
Gary Frank, Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Chairman Nominations & Governance, Chair 2016 Opening Night Philadelphia Orchestra Association and Alexian Timeus

HD1_2314 (Custom)
Outstanding as always, Anne Callahan, wearing Giambattista Valli (and fur for the walk) in 2017 Color Of The Year – Greenery (This was last year’s dress, which she never got to wear because of the snow storm) and  Charles Croce, Executive director Philadelphia History Museum

HD1_2290 (Small) (Custom)

Chris Young and Danielle Hankin
(I’m kinda bummed I didn’t have Danielle take off her coat, as I had others do, but I can still see this outfit is fantastic)

HD1_2272 (Custom)
Nick Nicholson and Tara Theune Davis
Betsy Johnson and Scott Johnson, Young Friends Co-Chairmen walk up Broad Street to the Bellevue, seranaded by The Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble.

HD1_2276 (Custom)
Stunning couple, and that dress OH MY Jenine Neff and David Neff

Jimmy Schaeffer, Adele Schaeffer and Nicole Schaeffer

Robert Santorsa and Ary Modesto

Robert Santorsa and Ary Modesto

Katie Clemm (wearing Jovani at Nieman Marcus) and Ryan Kayson

STUNNING – Terry Leach, and Jenny DeHuff of The Philly Voice, wearing Badgley Mischka.

HD1_2210 (Custom)

Rachel Sill wearing Carrer de la Riera (she wore this to the Grammy’s last year) and Justin Wineburgh

Brandon Morrison (Custom Tux by LR2, and walking stick by Tobox) and Stacey Kracher, wearing Nicole Miller (only 5 of these gowns were made in the collection)

Erik and Ellen Gregorie, who looked equally classy on the dance floor in the Rose Garden Ballroom

HD1_2400 (Custom)

Then it was time for dinner and

HD1_2409 (Custom)

as tradition has it, no photos are to be taken after dinner. Although you can catch a lot of social media snaps by all who attended.

Over $2 Million was raised proceeds go to the Restoration Fund for the Academy of Music

Head to Philly Metro to more pics from the night