We love it that Houston Grand Opera stepped out of its comfort zone in naming Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt as one of its 2013 Ovation Award recipients, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year recognized for his Justin J. Watt Foundation. The awards are traditionally presented to youthful community leaders with a philanthropic bent, sports figures not so much.
We were slightly disappointed that Watt didn't make the announcement party held in the Decorative Center showroom of Abrahams Oriental Rugs. The other seven recipients, however, joined the party.
Taking bows for their philanthropic-minded leadership were Cordúa Restaurants executive chef David Cordúa, St. Luke's Episcopal Health System Young Professionals' Kathleen Flaherty, Houston Young Professionals Society founder Freddy Goerges and Team Bering Omega Services AIDS Walk Houston co-chair Liz Gorman.
Also, ChildBuilders Nightshift Young Professionals Group co-founder James Phelan, Houston Young People for the Arts membership chair Shavonnah Roberts Schreiber and Blondes vs. Brunettes Alzheimer's Awareness event co-founder Kate Stukenberg.
The eight will be feted at the Opera Ball Encore party (the late-night, after-party for young opera patrons) on April 13. Leslie Jackson and Marcus Carter will chair that event that starts at 10 p.m., cranks up with DJ Little Martin and breakfast at midnight and rocks on until 2 a.m. Information and reservations are available here.
The gathering included HGO's Rebecca Koterwas and Kelly Laning, who presented the awards, as well as Lucia and Michael Cordúa, Valerie and Tracy Dieterich, Caroline Starry LeBlanc, Edward Sanchez, Dr. Rolando Maldonado, Claire Cormier Thielke, Ting Bresnahan, James Glassman, Lori Freese and Alex and Astley Blair.