By Wicker Van Orsdel
A new fun event for me to be involved with this year was the third annual Bus to Beethoven party Sept. 17. It was an “ode-to-joyride” chaired by JoEllen Nadel. I was invited along with newsman Kevin Cooney and Barbara Mack to host one of the buses as a tour guide for the evening’s “Mystery Tour.” We all gathered at Big City Burgers and Greens in Capital Square where we were greeted by Maestro Joseph Giunta as we munched on yummy ahi tuna, duck and burger sliders and sipped champagne. I met my bus group, and we immediately formed a bond of The Fun Bus. I quizzed them on Des Moines trivia and stumped them with the date Des Moines became the state capital (1857, stealing it away from Iowa City).
The first stop on the Mystery Tour was our favorite feature of the Des Moines skyline, the EMC Insurance Co. building, better known as the Absolut Building. As we disembarked, we met the Mystery Maidens (cute young things in LBDs and glitzy top hats who were in charge of keeping us on schedule—when they rang the chime, it was time to get back on board). They guided us to the ninth-floor terrace level with a view of Gray’s Lake (sort of, I think the view is best from Gray’s Lake, or Fleur Drive). Here we enjoyed a string ensemble quartet, risotto cakes, goat cheese timbales, and divine lemon bars…..and uncorked MORE champagne! Don’t mind if I do! (Chef Aaron King of Catering DSM prepared all the mouthwatering treats at each stop.)
The next top-secret spot was one that we all frequently drive by but that many had not been to before: American Dream Machines on Locust. We all ogled over the vintage muscle cars, and many of us who were born before Velcro even remember being behind the wheel of these models. (I guess that makes us vintage, too.) We had a chance to step back in time and enjoy…MOJITOS (you have to say it with feeling) and cake-on-a-stick. Nice pairing. Quiz question for bus ride: What celebrity on tour in Des Moines stopped into American Dream Machines and bought a car? Answer: Billy Joel, here in concert 2008, bought a burgundy VW Beetle. It was nice of owner Doug Klein to open his space to us for the evening.
The tour culminated with a backstage peek of the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines prior to enjoying the Des Moines Symphony’s season debut of Beethoven’s uplifting Symphony No. 9. The “Ode to Joy” finale was aMAHzing!
I thank Nikki Syverson for getting me involved in this event. I really enjoyed getting to know the crew on my bus; they were a great group who knew how to have fun and support the symphony at the same time. Bus #2 rocks!
But don’t wait for this event to happen again to enjoy the symphony…just go! Culture is a good thing.
Check out the photos below, and to see even more photos, click here.