Sparkling Strings: Sissy’s Log Cabin Continues Support for Opus Ball

Sharri Jones can’t remember the exact year she joined a group of friends to attend the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Opus Ball for the first time. “It was 2004 or 2005,” she says. “I’m a very exact person, so I don’t like to guess.”

Yet it’s safe to say the experience left a lasting impression. Since then, Sharri and her husband Bill have made the family jewelry business, Sissy’s Log Cabin, a consistent and substantial source of support for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

“Sissy’s contribution is paramount to the success of the ball,” says Catherine Arnold Marhenke, associate director of development for the orchestra. “For the past several years they have donated items to the live auction — a piece of jewelry and something more customizable like a gift certificate or custom-made piece. These two items are often the two highest-bid items in the live auction.”

Sharri was a first-grade teacher before she found herself in the jewelry business. In 1985 she married Bill Jones, son of Sissy Jones, who founded the business in Pine Bluff in 1970. After Sissy’s expanded to a second location in The Heights in 2010, she began helping out with daily operations.

Today the business has added a third location in Jonesboro, and Sharri’s role mostly comprises that of event planner for the company’s customer parties and functions — mostly. “I don’t want to say I’m Bill’s assistant, but I pretty much take care of him,” she says with a laugh. “That’s my No. 1 job.”

And she’s become a fervent supporter of the ASO and its much-anticipated Opus Ball, the annual black-tie fundraiser that celebrates the power of music, culture and community. “God has blessed us and it is important for us to share with others,” she says.

Between the ASO’s four youth orchestras, Arts Partners education quartets, annual children’s concerts and its Orchestra and You program serving elementary-aged students, the nonprofit reached more than 25,000 children across the state and took its full orchestra to nine communities outside Little Rock in 2011. This community outreach is made possible by financial support from donors.

“The Opus Ball is extremely important to the financial health of the ASO. We depend on the ball to raise more than $450,000 annually,” Catherine said. “Once the ball is over, we hope to announce that this year was one of the most successful in the history of the organization.”

Opus Ball XXVIII will carry the fundraising tradition into 2012, and Sissy’s is likewise continuing its support. This year the family donated to the night’s live auction a $22,500 trio of breathtaking jewelry — bidders can choose one of the three — and a $15,000 gift certificate for a custom-made piece. Silent auction items are listed and available for purchase on

In keeping with recent tradition, this year’s ball will be held at the elegant Capital Hotel. VIP guests will be treated to an exclusive early reception at Ashley’s at 5:30 p.m. The night officially kicks off at 6 with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by the live auction at 7. Delicious food prepared by Capital Hotel staff with wine from Glazer’s will be served while ASO musicians fill the evening with beautiful music. After dinner, guests can dance until midnight with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Big Band.

“It’s just such a fabulous opportunity for the people of Arkansas to benefit from the symphony,” Sharri says. “It’s one of the best parties of the entire year. The music, the people, the décor, the food. It’s a breathtaking event. We go to parties in New York and Opus Ball is above and beyond that.”

And though Sharri hasn’t selected what she’ll be wearing just yet, she knows it will be “something in jewel tones.”

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Opus Ball

  • When: Saturday, Nov. 17, 6 p.m.–midnight
  • Where: Capital Hotel
  • Tickets: $1,500 for invitation for two to the ball and to the patrons’ preview party; $5,000 for patron table of 10. Call Kelly Parker, 666-1761, ext. 114, for details and availability of individual and non-patron tickets.

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