Between lunch, which he didn't eat, and his interview on stage with Deborah Duncan, Grammy-winning song man and producer Steve Tyrell worked the River Oaks Country Club ballroom with the fervor of a politician in a tight runoff. But rather than a pre-election fete, it was the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's "On the Move" luncheon.
Tyrell was certainly on the move as he hopped from table to table — embracing Cathy Brock, kissing Rose Cullen and squeezing the shoulders of Mary Angela Broughton. And, of course, there was a big salute to his sister, Roz Pactor, and her table mates.
"First off, it was God and Frank Sinatra in our house and not necessarily in that order."
When he arrived on the platform to be interviewed by KHOU's morning show host, he picked up a flashlight, a gift from Pactor in a playful nod to the night before when the lights went out at Jones Hall during his performance. Before the interview began, Duncan lured Tyrell into a delightful, if brief, duet of "Baby It's Cold Outside."
Tyrell allowed that his interest in singing began at a very early age. "Music has always been in my soul," he said. "First off, it was God and Frank Sinatra in our house and not necessarily in that order."
Then it was down to the meat of the luncheon — Tyrell's concern for finding a cure for MS. His daughter, Tina, has the disease and he has grown close to Katie Brass, who has MS and has counseled Tina, and to her family. In fact, Katie's mother-in-law, Joyce Brass, will host a benefit dinner in their home with Tyrell as special guest. Once offered, that jewel sold out at $300 per person in less than 10 minutes.
It was a happy day for Franelle Rogers, who has chaired the luncheon for five consecutive years. The event raised $160,000 for the MS society. The luncheon honored Penny Loyd and Frost Bank.
Joining the upbeat day were Joelle Rogers, Regina Rogers, Vicki Rizzo, Mauri Oliver, Virginia Steppe, Alissa Maples, Karen Love, Leisa Holland-Nelson, Lu Caltigirone, Shelley Reeves, Linda and Gene Dewhurst, Carol Sawyer and Betty Tutor.