LET’S FACE THE MUSIC

LET’S FACE THE MUSIC

Houston Symphony Opening Night Concert And Gala’s Grand Style

 

By Jennifer Roosth      Photography by Priscilla Dickson and Daniel Ortiz

THE SETTING: Recently, over 300 guests, donning their finest black tie attire, attended the Houston Symphony’s Opening Night concert and gala. Upon arrival at Jones Hall, partygoers enjoyed champagne and hors d’oeuvres on the Mezzanine level before making their way into see concert. The evening featured Juraj Valčuha leading the orchestra and Houston Symphony Chorus, alongside soprano Ana María Martínez, mezzo-soprano Marina Prudenskaya, tenor Jonathan Tetelman, and bass Dmitry Belosselskiy. Following the performance, guests were transported to the Corinthian Houston for a spectacular seated dinner catered by Jackson and Company. Following dinner, guests enjoyed musical entertainment by the David Caceres Band.

 

THE STYLE: The Corinthian ballroom was donned with crystal chandeliers and greenery cascading across the balcony, all designed by The Events Company. The elegant tables that filled the room, covered in green linens, were topped with varying high and low-profile floral arrangements in shades of white and green.

 

Dinner began with an Italian butter lettuce salad with fresh herbs, gulf shrimp terrine, chives, and pickled mustard seed vinaigrette topped with a toasted chickpea crouton and three radish slaw. The main course included a gremolata and breadcrumb crusted black cod, with charred leek and artichoke white wine emulsion, alongside summer squash and white corn rösti, and Romano beans and button chanterelle sauté.  Accompanying the meal were wine pairings provided by Spec’s Wine, Spirits, & Finer Foods. After dinner, the dessert was a trio that included coconut sorbet verrine, tiramisu profiteroles, and hazelnut macaroons.

 

THE PURPOSE: The annual Houston Symphony Opening Night concert and gala, chaired by Drs. Susan and Dennis Carlyle, celebrated the opening of the 2022–2023 season and the tenure of Juraj Valčuha as the Houston Symphony’s 16th music director and holder of the Roy and Lillie Cullen Chair. This year’s event raised more than $540,000 for the orchestra’s industry-leading Education and Community Engagement initiatives. ConocoPhillips served as the Concert Sponsor and Lead Gala Corporate Underwriter for the 36th year.   

PARK’S PLACE

PARK’S PLACE

Hermann Park Conservancy Raises Funds For Green Spaces

By Jennifer Roosth        Photography by Priscilla Dickson

THE SETTING: Due to the ongoing Covid-19 safety measures, this year’s Evening in The Park event for Hermann Park Conservancy looked a little different than in the past. To make up for lost time due to the prior gala’s cancellation, instead of dinner, dancing, and the program under one big tent at the Molly Ann Smith Plaza, the event was socially distanced and progressive. The dinner was served in tented pods placed along the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool.

THE STYLE: Guests were welcomed with cocktails  while they perused photographs on view in Lindsey Plaza. Then, to add an element of fun, many guests opted to take the Hermann Park Railroad from Lindsey Plaza to the Molly Ann Smith Plaza, passing through the beautiful native plants and grounds of the upcoming Commons site. Upon arrival at the Plaza, Conservancy board chair Kristy Bradshaw spoke about the Conservancy’s endeavors including play spaces, natural habitats and plantings, public art installations, gathering areas, and the McWilliams Dog Park. The dog park was the focus of this year’s gala celebration and one of the most requested features by the community. Dinner was then served, and each party headed to their respective pod to enjoy a meal created by City Kitchen. Then, tunes were provided by DJ Mav at the Pioneer Obelisk as guests danced the night away to celebrate an Evening in the Park’s two years in the making.

THE PURPOSE: Event co-chairs Jo and Jim Furr, along with Roslyn Bazzelle Mitchell and Derrick Mitchell, worked tirelessly to ensure guests had an entertaining and safe night. This year’s event surpassed its goal and raised $650,000 for the care and improvement of Hermann Park. Thanks to the generous $1 million gift from Laura and Brad McWilliams, this year’s honorees, funds raised at the gala, and a slew of additional donations directed towards the dog park, the Conservancy is $100,000 shy of its $2 million capital campaign. The honoree of the prior canceled Evening in The Park event, Marley Lott, was also in attendance and recognized.

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

2020 Houston Ballet Ball Celebrates the 50th Anniversary

By Jennifer Roosth             Photography by Alida Bonifaz, Gary Fountain, Jacalyn Lawton, Wilson Parish, and Dave Rossman

THE SETTING:  For the first time since Hurricane Harvey, The Houston Ballet brought its annual event back to the Wortham Theater Center, its performance home, to celebrate an unforgettable golden 50th anniversary Ballet Ball. More than 400 guests clad in black tie made their way through Fish Plaza, with its shining runway covered in red carpet and lined with spotlights into the Wortham Theater. The room had been transformed into a glamourous golden palace, a nod to the 50th anniversary, by Richard Flowers of The Events Company. Tables covered in a mix of sparkling gold linens and mirrors lit the room. The look was elegantly completed by lush cream floors that paralleled crystal and custom gold chandeliers delicately suspended throughout the room.

THE STYLE:  Upon entering the theater, guests were greeted by Houston Ballet Academy dancers who donned gold costumes from classic Houston Ballet performances. The dinner, prepared by Jackson and Company, began with a golden caviar French macaron, black truffle and potato panna cotta followed by Lobster Bisque hand-poured by the servers–an elegant touch. The main course was a perfectly aged Angus beef tenderloin with haricots verts, rainbow baby carrots, polenta with caramelized shallots, and a gorgonzola tart.

For dessert, guests enjoyed Chocolat a la Margaret, a gold-painted chocolate sphere filled with chocolate mousse, hazelnut dacquoise, and glacé raspberries in honor of the tireless support of longtime patron Margaret Alkek Williams for her dedication, leadership, and commitment to the organization. As dessert was served, company dancers emerged from their seats and surrounding entrances surprising guests with a choreographed piece by Houston Ballet First Soloist, Oliver Halkowich. Guests were captivated by this moment and erupted in applause when Artistic Director Stanton Welch and Executive Director Jim Nelson joined the surprise performance. As the impromptu production came to an end, the dancers rolled out a commemorative nine-foot cake, adorned with 50th anniversary candles, onto the dance floor before the gold confetti grand finale.

THE PURPOSE:  Beth and Nick Zdeblick chaired the event this year, while Phoebe and Bobby Tudor served as honorary chairs. The annual event raised nearly $1.8 million for the Houston Ballet, making it the most successful Ballet Ball in its history, and this over-the-top golden anniversary event will not soon be forgotten.

 

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