Jose Reyes, chair of the DSO’s gala,makes a musical outreach to the gay community
When the Dallas Symphony Orchestra people began planning their season kickoff gala and after-party, longtime volunteer Jose Reyes had an a-ha moment: An ultra-lush soiree of society’s finest that wasn’t being pushed to the LGBT community? It didn’t make sense.
When he chimed in that this should be a direction to consider, the DSO went him one better.
“They asked me if I wanted to chair the event,” Reyes says. “I said absolutely!”
This brought to light a bigger notion to Reyes prompting, him to root out the connection between Dallas’ premium philharmonic and the gay community. As a 20-year DSO supporter and a member of the gay community, the answer was really in front of him the whole time, and obvious to all Dallas gay … whether they realized it or not.
“The Easter concert at Lee Park targets us,” he says. “The DSO is keenly aware that the audience that day isn’t just Mr. and Mrs. Jones, it’s also Mr. and Mr. Jones and that is perfectly fine with them.”
The annual event is right there among gay events with the Pride Parade and the Halloween block party in terms of visibility. With that, Reyes witnesses the DSO’s support of the community upfront and now wants to turn that around. He knows there’s a strong connection that needs to be realized.
“It’s no secret the gay community is a huge supporter of the arts. We’re the tastemakers aren’t we?” he says. “That concert may be free to you and me, but it’s very expensive to put on so I feel it’s important we support them back.”
Reyes figures this gala will do just that, because gays love a good party. This year, they gala — a fundraiser for education and programs by the DSO — will be a huge, saucy affair (see sidebar).
“The gala concert with pianist Jeffrey Kahane and the after party experience is going to be fabulous and the only ticket in town. The Meyerson lobby will be completely transformed into a romantic 18th century European garden in the time of Beethoven.”
He thinks with a direct push to the community, it will respond. Sometimes all that’s needed, according to Reyes, is an invitation. He assures this is the one to get.
“The gays are gonna love it,” he assures. “And the DSO loves its gays.”
— Rich Lopez
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 27, 2010