We love the creativity that goes into every Mercury performance and love even more how the "orchestra redefined" regularly transforms the annual gala concept into something special. Case in point, the recent "Roaring Twenties — Mercury Style" evening that took a delicious musical turn on the theme.
Joined by the Richard Brown Orchestra and Met Dancers at Wortham Theater Center, Mercury musicians, led by artistic director Antoine Plante, set the mood of the evening with "Sing Sing Sing," "The Charleston" and "This Joint is Jumping" before launching into a special arrangement of "Rhapsody in Blue," featuring Rice faculty member and pianist Joseph Li. For Mercury fans and anyone who enjoys a good tune, this night truly roared as the musical finale concluded with a cascade of black, gold and silver balloons.
Gala chairs Lloyd Kirchner and Tara Wilson welcomed the 275 guests to the Brown Stage for the intimate evening of wining, dining and dancing. Warming guests up as they checked in was a quartet of students from Mercury's Yes Prep West Orchestra program. (Mercury musicians work with at-risk students attending Yes Prep, providing individualized instruction and teaching essential life skills.)
Rodney Foster conducted the live auction that included a Texas flag painting by Taft McWhorter who created the work during the evening and a private dinner with celebrity chef Monica Pope. Raffle tickets were hot sellers as guests hoped to be the lucky one to win the white gold and ruby pendant created for the evening by Uptown Diamond.
Leading the parade of guests, many in 1920s costuming, were Mercury executive director Brian Ritter and Mercury board president Stephen Wallace.
The party crowd included emcee St. John Flynn of Houston Public Media, Alison Jefferies, Deanna and Larry Blackburn, Lynn Wyatt, Peggy and Steven Klineberg, Monsour Taghdisi and Henry Richardson, Linda and Tom Sparks, Luc Messier and Christine and Jan Spin.