A glass of champagne, sexy music and a fabulous dinner-and-dancing plus wine affair bedecked with stylish exotic décor: That would be "The Perfect Evening!" as scored by the Houston Symphony "Opening Night with Boléro."
More than 450 supporters stepped out in post-Labor Day formal fashions bestrewed with a soupçon of red, a nod to the program's sassy pièce de résistance by Ravel on Saturday night.
Multiple standing ovations welcomed a smiley Hans Graf to Jones Hall to lead his 12th and last year as music director with the ensemble. It's the Houston Symphony's 99th year overall. The tuneful portion of the gala, sponsored by ConocoPhillips, showcased the virtuosic talents of principal and section musicians.
After the musicale guests were shuttled to The Corinthian, where vibrant red rose centerpieces, flickering iron lanterns and crystal chandeliers anchored the backdrop of a celebration of the 2012-13 season. Ladies were offered abanicos (Spanish hand fans) with black lace leaves — because a flamboyant accoutrement always stimulates better social photography.
It was the perfect evening, one that broke fundraising records for opening night, bringing in more than $403,000.
Alongside honorary chair Margaret Alkek Williams, whose passion for the performing arts is mused by her roles with the Gilbert & Sullivan Society in Philadelphia and as a member of the Houston Grand Opera Chorus in the '60s, gala chairs Linda and Gene Dewhurst and co-chairs Fran Fawcett-Peterson and Gloria Tenenbown orchestrated a delightful Spanish-themed soiree honoring former Continental CEO Larry Kellner and his wife Susan.
The organizing group had a helping hand from key figures on the gala committee, including Ulyesse LeGrange, Ralph Burch, David Wuthrich, Salient Partners' Andrew Linbeck and Carla and Cole Dawson.
It was the perfect evening for executive director Mark Hanson and his wife Christina and chief development officer David Chambers, one that broke fundraising records for opening night, bringing in more than $403,000.
Savoring the sounds were Betty and Jesse Tutor, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and wife Tricia, Beth Madison and Ralph Burch, Marie and Ed Bosarge, Nancy and Bob Peiser, 2013 Houston Symphony ball chairs Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Cathy and Dougal Cameron, Max and Rochelle Levit, Daniela and Manolo Sanchez, Mariquita Masterson and Mike Stude, Lorraine and Ed Wulfe, Helen Shaffer, Marie Bosarge, Carolyn and Mike Mann, Justice Brett Busby and wife Erin, Katie Flaherty, Sidney and Don Faust, Almira and Allen Gelwick, Susan and Ed Osterberg, Gary Tinterow and Christopher Gardner and Joanne King Herring.