Houston Grand Opera calls them the "next generation of volunteers and fundraisers" — the individuals honored each year with HGO's Ovation Awards. The 2012 crop of eight young professionals, to be honored at the HGO ball's Encore after-party, were introduced on stage at Wortham Theater Center Wednesday night.
Doing the honors were Encore Party chairs Audrey and Brandon Cochran. Recognized for their notable philanthropy and community leadership were Jason Bernhardt, Lindsey Brown, Carrie Carson, Caroline Starry LeBlanc, Lee Mitchell, Paul Pettie, Samira Salman and John Urquhart.
As they mingled across the stage, chandeliers from HGO's upcoming production of La Traviata gleaming overhead, the dynamic young leaders talked up the Encore Party. It's a $60 black-tie bargain for young professionals that grants admission to the Wortham's Grand Foyer at 10 p.m., open bar, midnight breakfast and dancing to the tunes of DJ Pooks until 2 a.m.
It all takes place on April 14, the night of the white-tie-and-tails Opera Ball, chaired by Cynthia and Tony Petrello and saluting Italy. Because the ball is white-tie-and-tails, Encore Party guests will be required to wear long gowns and tuxedos.
Young notables in the gathering included Bellaire City Councilman Corbett Parker, Ashley Wehrly, Isabel and Danny David, Nic Phillips, Julie Soefer, Lauren Levicki, Valerie Palmquist-Dieterich and Tracy Dieterich, John Andell, Liz Gorman, Heather Pray, Nick Espinosa, Carlos Meltzer, Jennifer Howard and Victor Mendoza.