Shelby's Social Diary

Houston's top young professionals take the Wortham stage for Grand Opera honors

Houston's top young professionals take the Wortham stage for Grand Opera honors

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James Sivco , Carrie Carson Photo by Chinh Phan
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Samira Salman , Caroline Starry LeBlanc , Audrey Cochran Photo by Chinh Phan
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Jason Bernhardt , Lindsey Brown , Carrie Carson , Paul Pettie , Caroline Starry LeBlanc , Lee Mitchell , Samira Salman , John Urquhart Photo by Chinh Phan
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John Andell , Valerie Palmquist Dieterich , Tracy Dieterich Photo by Chinh Phan
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Jennifer Howard , Ashley Wehrly , Isabelle David , Lauren Levicki Photo by Chinh Phan
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Cara Crafton , Liz Gorman Photo by Chinh Phan
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Jared LeBlanc , Sarah Starry , Victor Mendoza Photo by Chinh Phan
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Nic Phillips , Heather Pray Photo by Chinh Phan
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Nick Espinosa , Rachel Walton Photo by Chinh Phan
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Jessica Chipman , Caroline Urquhart , Mary Liz Urquhart Photo by Chinh Phan
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J.J. Jose , Ana Lavalle Photo by Chinh Phan
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News_7_Ovation Awards_January 2012_Cara Crafton_Liz Gorman.jpg
News_2_Ovation Awards_January 2012_Jared LeBlanc_Sarah Starry_Victor Mendoza.jpg
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News_12_Ovation Awards_January 2012_Nick Espinosa_Rachel Walton.jpg
News_3_Ovation Awards_January 2012_Jessica Chipman_Caroline Urquhart_Mary Liz Urquhart.jpg
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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.