Gladys Knight Performs At The Tobin Center Anniversary Gala

By Leanne Raesener – Photography by Greg Harrison

THE SETTING: The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts recently celebrated its fifth anniversary with a gala honoring H-E-B, the 2019 Recipient of the Tobin Award, with Winnell Herron accepting the honor on H-E-B’s behalf. The headlining star of the evening was none other than legendary, seven-time Grammy® Award-winning, soulful R&B singer, Gladys Knight.

 THE STYLE:  Upon arrival, close to 500 VIP sponsors, patrons, underwriters, and guests were escorted into a cocktail hour, laden with unique and festive balloon designs created by Melony Rodwell, while the Avanti String Quartet (comprised of San Antonio Symphony members) played, and Ballet San Antonio ballerinas danced on pedestals. They also had a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and chat with the empress of soul herself, Gladys Knight.

The silent auction took place during the VIP cocktail hour featuring one of a kind treasures and experiences, including a guitar signed by Brian Wilson & Al Jardine of the Beach Boys, a Billy Idol signed Flying V electric guitar, an Andrea Bocelli Soundcheck and Concert Package, and a unique Tobin Center party in one of its secret clandestine spaces.

Then, the Children’s Choir of San Antonio, Chamber Music Institute, and Trumpet Fanfare by Youth Orchestras of S.A. (YOSA) summoned the guests to the Carlos Alvarez Theater, the Feik Family Rotunda, and the McLaughlin Family Rotunda for a sumptuous dinner crafted by Executive Chef Paul Goll of Tobin Catering. Soloists from Opera San Antonio announced the end of dinner and instructed the party to move into the H-E-B Performance Hall for the concert. Seating in the venue was cabaret-style for VIPs, and with gala and concert-only ticket buyers, it was a packed house with close to 1200 fans.

Following the concert, there were two after-parties: VIPs enjoyed a disco in the transformed Carlos Alvarez Theater, complete with a collector’s record wall of signed vinyls coupled with entertainment by Uptown Drive. The other after-party, in the McCombs Lobby, had the crowd up and on the dance floor with music from DJ Catwalk, who was suspended high on a station above the dance floor in the unique Founders’ Lounge.

 THE PURPOSE: The Tobin Center Board Chair is Samuel Dawson, and Dennert Ware is the current vice-chair. The gala’s honorary co-chairs were Alethea and Bruce Bugg, and Laura and Sam Dawson. The Tobin Center VIP Event Partners were Mr. and Mrs. James Browning, Mr. and Mrs. John Brozovich, Frost Bank, Rubicon Capital, LLC & Blue Duck Scooters, MUY! Companies and Shiner Beers. Nel Belt chaired the VIP gala committee that included Alethea Bugg, Laura Dawson, Heather de Rojas, Susan Franklin, Jean Lee, Susan Naylor, and Dr. Alice Viroslav. The evening was held to raise funds benefiting the Mission of The Tobin Center, a local non-profit arts organization that provides a world-class venue to promote a diverse range of cultural, educational, and artistic experiences that improve the quality of life in San Antonio.