Tuesday evening's gathering at the home of John and Becca Cason Thrash wasn't about Lynn Wyatt's timeless couture, Tony Mandola's delectable cuisine nor whether Houston's sassy social scribe, CultureMap's own Shelby Hodge, would be seen on the scene.
What the 240 guests were dying to know was whether these divas and troubadours could carry a tune and look smashing while doing so. So much so that they paid upwards of $20,000 a table to witness the mayhem and cast a vote at the first-ever "Singing with the Houston Idols" to benefit Houston Grand Opera.
This was no run-of-the-mill karaoke party. Think live music, backup chanteuses, glittery costumes, an anything-goes fete where even a riotous pink shimmering Elvis belting "La donna è mobile" was par for the course.
This was no run-of-the-mill karaoke party. Think live music, backup chanteuses, glittery costumes, an anything-goes fete where even a riotous pink shimmering Elvis belting "La donna è mobile" was par for the course. That was long-time HGO supporter Harlan Stai.
When Hodge channeled her inner Motown girl — donning an off-the-shoulder sparkling black dress, knee-high boots and black bob cut wig — with a glam rendition of "Stop in the Name of Love," along with two Supremes, the crowd went wild. Hubby Shafik Rifaat waved a placard that read, "Make some headlines Shelby!"
Was Tony Bennett in the house? Perchance it's Mandola's Italian panache that bestows his vocal prowess. Also joining in the spotlight were Bobby Tudor singing the traditional American folk song "Shenandoah" and Robin Angly, singing a Verdi aria.
And then there was the always-classy Wyatt, who closed the show with pizzazz and sparkle, singing "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend." She was accompanied by a chorus of six men in tuxes. The audience showered her with roses at the end of the song.
Amidst these fabulous displays of showmanship, guests delighted in a four-course menu that included offerings from Convivio, Max's Wine Dive, Tony Mandola's and Triniti. Salted warm chocolate tart with olive oil ice cream? Yes, please!
Becca Cason Thrash, who chaired and orchestrated the event modeled after her two successful Houston Ballet's "Dancing with the Houston Stars" fundraisers, was thrilled with the outcome, as it netted HGO $300,000 from patrons and the event sponsor, Fendi.
Adding to the event's zest were Sue and Lester Smith, Diane Stai, Donna and Bob Bruni, Cynthia and Tony Petrello, Beth Madison with Ralph Burch, Phyllis Mandola, Alexander Bramlett, Rosemarie and Matt Johnson, Isabel and Danny David, Phoebe Tudor, Susan Plank, Sallymoon and Dr. Alan Benz, HGO's managing director Perryn Leech, Sixto Wagan and Matthew Dirst.