Dearborn Symphony opening night features Dinner at the Courthouse

Photo by Gretchen Ackermann
Dearborn’s three 19th District Court judges will serve as hosts for the Opening Night Dinner at the Courthouse Oct. 4. Judges William Hultgren (second from left), Sam Salamey and Mark Somers stand in front of the “Justice is Blind” mural in the district court rotunda with event chairwoman Gloria Nycek (left) and Dearborn Symphony President Sandy Butler.

Special to the Times-Herald

Doors of the 19th District Court will swing open wide at 6 p.m., Oct. 4 for the Dearborn Symphony Opening Night Dinner at the Courthouse. Yes, Dinner at the Courthouse, dining in the rotunda with its mural “Justice is Blind” as a background featuring colorful walls of artwork depicting the history of the court of law.

Dearborn’s 19th District judges, Sam Salamey, Mark Somers and William Hultgren, will serve as hosts for the event. The celebration is sponsored by the Dearborn Symphony Board of Directors and the Friends of the Dearborn Symphony Board.

Gloria Nycek, Opening Night Dinner chairwoman, has planned a three-course Chicken Piccata dinner to launch the Dearborn Symphony’s 52nd season in grand style. Wine for the event was donated by Westborn Market. Dearborn Symphony President Sandy Butler and Friends President Carla O’Neill are co-chairwomen.

The Opening Night dinner will set the stage for a grand season of listening to the award-winning Dearborn Symphony under the direction of Music Director Kypros Markou.

Following dinner, the night’s program will move a short distance, at 8 p.m., to the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center Michael A. Guido Theater for the Dearborn Symphony’s season-opening concert “Spectacular Take Off!” The featured musician is world renowned pianist Christopher O’Riley.

O’Riley is known for his National Public Radio program. “From the Top,” as well as for his critically acclaimed transcriptions of the music of Radiohead and Nirvana.

In his performance with the Dearborn Symphony, O’Riley will bring the concert to an exciting climax with Tchaikovsky’s spectacular First Piano Concert, the piece that propelled Van Cliburn to a phenomenally successful career when he won the 1958 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

The concert begins with Offenbach’s “Orpheus in the Underworld Overture” described by Markou as “champagne” that includes the famous “Can-Can” followed by Schubert’s “Symphony No. 2” that, he said, “will make the audience dance.”

O’Riley’s long list of credits includes the winner of many prestigious awards including the Leeds, Van Cliburn, Busoni and Montreal competition, as well as an Avery Fisher Career Grant. O’Riley was a finalist at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1981.

Christopher O’Riley has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the symphonies of Pittsburgh, Detroit, Colorado, Atlanta and Baltimore. He is expected to be introduced to the dinner guests by Markou.

For more information on O’Riley, go to his website,

Dinner tickets are $85, and for $15 more, participants can support the symphony’s Opening Night and have their names printed on the supporters’ list in the program booklet. Concert tickets for dinner participants are $25. Concert tickets for non-participants range from $15 to $30.

To make reservations for Dinner at the Courthouse as well as the season opening concert, call 313-565-2424 or go to the Dearborn Symphony website, The reservation deadline is Sept. 20.

Dearborn Sausage Co., Westborn Market and Park Place Catering are this year’s Opening Night sponsors.