Amos Gott is one of Nashville’s favorite event planners, and he’s also a big fan of ballet. This year, those two parts of his life move in unison as he serves as one of the chairmen for the annual Ballet Ball. In that role, he’ll be planning a patrons’ party to celebrate the 20th year of Paul Vasterling’s tenure as artistic director of the Nashville Ballet. We asked Amos a few questions about event planning, ballet, and combining the two.
Mary: Amos, the ballet is very close to your heart, and this year not only are you planning a patrons’ party for the annual Ballet Ball, but it’s going to be extra special because of Paul’s anniversary. What do you have in store for us?
Amos: I approach every event I produce with a desire for it to fit the personality of my client. In the case of the 20thannual Ballet Ball, my desire is for it to be sleek, stylish, and forward thinking – which is what I feel Paul has created in Nashville Ballet. Like every event, it should be something different and not something they’ve already seen me create.
Mary: How did you get involved with Nashville Ballet? Why is ballet important to you?
Amos: I started my event planning and design firm in Kentucky, but in looking for some new directions I moved here to design the Ballet Ball — then called the Masked Ball — in 2002, and subsequently became the marketing director at the Ballet for two years before getting back into event planning full-time. This particular year is special to me because the Ballet Ball I’m co-chairing with Amy Atkinson is exactly 17 years to the day of the first ball I worked on – March 2, 2002 and now March 2, 2019.
Mary: Tell us about the time you first met Paul. What were your impressions?
Amos: 2002 was the first time the ball had a theme based on one of the ballets of the season, so I asked to see a dress rehearsal to better understand the theme, and met Paul that night. I immediately could tell he was not only a master of his craft of dance, but also intelligent with regards to the overall production. Whether you’re producing a ballet, a play, or an event, you must be able to conceptualize and understand all the parts of the production to be exceptional at what you do.
Mary: How different is your approach when you’re doing an event to raise money versus a private event?
Amos: I’ve always felt you have to think like a guest when planning an event, and this is the same whether you’re planning a wedding, a corporate event, or a fundraiser. An event needs to look exquisite and stand out from other affairs, and it needs to make guests feel like it was worth their time (and/or money) to attend. Our time is valuable, so the overall guest experience is what makes an event a success.
Mary: What was the first step you took in planning this huge event?
Amos: One of the first things I typically do in designing an event is to establish the color theme which sets the direction on the overall look. However, in the case of the Ballet Ball, our first steps involved fundraising before we started moving into the logistics of the event.
Mary: What are you doing to wow the partygoers at the Patron’s Party?
Amos: There will definitely be some unexpected elements that night that I am still working on, but they are under wraps until that night. There’s no suspense or surprise if all of the details are revealed before the big night!
Mary: What’s your favorite moment during an event? The first planning meeting? The moment before it starts? The moment it’s over?
Amos: I enjoy every piece of planning an event from when it starts until when it’s over! I guess that’s why I love producing events for a living. However, I’m gaining valuable insight for future fundraising events, because I don’t typically get involved in the fundraising piece. It’s very different to be in the front seat as a co-chair when I am usually behind the scenes making it all work.
Mary: Do you have any tips for our readers who might want to throw a fundraising event?
Amos: First, you must decide what it is you are wanting to accomplish both in dollars as well as the type of event it’s going to be. What’s going to make it stand out from all the others to get people in the door? Subsequently, create your timeline and budget. Find others to assist you on committees and in other ways to help you promote the event — a fundraising event definitely takes a village to make it a success!
Mary Spalding is a Nashville based interior designer with over 30 years of experience. She has overseen countless home revitalizations, renovations, and restorations. She can be reached with your projects and ideas at email@example.com.