The Jackson Symphony to Provide Entertainment at 2023 Discovery Awards

The 2023 Discovery Awards Gala and Fundraiser promises to be a fun and exciting celebration of Discovery Park’s 10th birthday and the contributions of our four honorees.

In addition to a live and silent auction, dinner prepared by award-winning chefs and complimentary champagne, the entertainment for the evening will be provided by musicians from the Jackson Symphony Orchestra.

The awards ceremony and fundraiser, emceed by Keli McAlister, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation public information officer, will bring together thought leaders, policymakers, philanthropists and others to celebrate the honorees on Saturday, March 4, 2023. The 2023 Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Discovery Award honorees are:

  • Her Excellency Amy L. Bondurant, former U.S. ambassador to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development
  • Dr. Keith Carver, chancellor for the University of Tennessee at Martin
  • James Ross, president & CEO of West Tennessee Healthcare
  • The Honorable John S. Tanner, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives

Musicians from the “Symphony on the Move” program of the Jackson Symphony will perform individually throughout the venue during the cocktail hour and then provide dinner entertainment as a group.

The Jackson Symphony is the oldest symphony in the state of Tennessee and employs approximately 75 professional musicians to perform in their full concerts. The “Symphony on the Move” program was born out of the Covid-19 Pandemic as a way to take music to neighborhoods and surrounding communities when venues were not allowed to host events. They began with a goal of performing 10 concerts and have now completed approximately 60.

In addition to concerts, The Jackson Symphony is committed to Outreach; their Music and Healing Program sends musicians weekly into the Kirkland Cancer Center, and they frequently play for retirement homes, assisted living facilities, and veteran’s homes. The Jackson Symphony also runs a Children’s and Youth Choir, Youth Orchestra and a Sinfonia and Camerata program.

The musicians playing during the 2023 Discovery Awards include:

  • Charles Lewis, flute
  • Doug Owens, saxophone
  • Benjamin Duffey, piano
  • DJ Culp, percussion
  • Elise Dougan, violin
  • Josh Dougan, base
  • Roberto DeSanto, cello

Also joining the symphony during dinner is soprano Alyssa Altobell. A native of Texas, she earned her Master’s Degree in Opera Performance at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia, during which time she sang in various operatic roles as well as in the chorus of the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Her undergraduate degree is from SUNY Purchase College’s Conservatory of Music. She now lives in Jackson, Tenn., where she is a staffing specialist. Alyssa has taught voice lessons for several years, she sings with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra and enjoys being involved in Jackson Theatre Guild’s summer musicals.

The Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Discovery Awards Gala and Fundraiser will be held at Discovery Park of America, (830 Everett Blvd., Union City, Tennessee,) on Saturday, March 4, 2023 with cocktails beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the awards dinner at 7:00 p.m.

Information on tickets and tables can be found at