Symphony Gala Rocks Out

Black-tie crowd goes bonkers over Huey Lewis while raising $1.57 million for Houston Symphony

Gala crowd goes bonkers over Huey Lewis while raising $1.57 million

Symphony Ball, May 2015, Jim and Sherry Smith; Huey Lewis; Lisa and Jerry Simon
Jim and Sherry Smith, from left, Huey Lewis and Lisa and Jerry Simon. Photo by Wilson Parish
Symphony Ball, May 2015, David and Viviana Denechaud
David and Viviana Denechaud. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Divya and Chris Brown;
Divya and Chris Brown. Photo by Wilson Parish
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Steve and Joella Mach; Faith and Lee Majors
Steve and Joella Mach, left, with Faith and Lee Majors. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, 6840_Margaret Alkek Williams; Jim Daniel
Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, 6679_Harry and Cora Sue Mach; Betty and Jesse Tutor
Honorees Harry and Cora Sue Mach, left, with Betty and Jesse Tutor. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Christopher Dewhurst; Gene Dewhurst; Andrew Dewhurst
Christopher Dewhurst, from left, Gene Dewhurst and Andrew Dewhurst. Photo by Wilson Parish
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Jana and Scotty Arnoldy
Jana and Scotty Arnoldy. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Sue and Lester Smith
Sue and Lester Smith. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Ken Freeman; Hallie Vanderhider
Ken Freeman and Hallie Vanderhider. Photo by Jacob Power
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Christina and Mark Hanson
Christina and Mark Hanson. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Andrés Orozco-Estrada and Julia Orozco-Estrada
Andrés and Julia Orozco-Estrada. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Bill and Courtney Toomey
Bill and Courtney Toomey. Photo by Jacob Power
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Kathleen and James Jennings
Kathleen and James Jennings. Photo by Wilson Parish
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Audrey Cochran; Catherine Matthews
Audrey Cochran, left, and Catherine Matthews. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Charles and Tiffany Masterson
Charles and Tiffany Masterson. Photo by Jacob Power
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Robert and Nancy Peiser; Lindsay Canning; Edward Heap
Honorees Robert and Nancy Peiser, left, with Lindsay Canning and Edward Heap. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Terry Smith; Eileen Moody; Kathleen Charmen; Leila Mischer
Terry Smith, from left, Eileen Moody, Kathleen Charmen and Leila Mischer. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Steve and Jennifer Dolman; Bill Dolman
Steve and Jennifer Dolman, from left, and Bill Dolman. Photo by Wilson Parish
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Jim and Sherry Smith; Huey Lewis; Lisa and Jerry Simon
Symphony Ball, May 2015, David and Viviana Denechaud
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Divya and Chris Brown;
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Steve and Joella Mach; Faith and Lee Majors
Symphony Ball, May 2015, 6840_Margaret Alkek Williams; Jim Daniel
Symphony Ball, May 2015, 6679_Harry and Cora Sue Mach; Betty and Jesse Tutor
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Christopher Dewhurst; Gene Dewhurst; Andrew Dewhurst
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Jana and Scotty Arnoldy
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Michael Cavanaugh
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Sue and Lester Smith
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Ken Freeman; Hallie Vanderhider
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Christina and Mark Hanson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Andrés Orozco-Estrada and Julia Orozco-Estrada
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Bill and Courtney Toomey
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Kathleen and James Jennings
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Audrey Cochran; Catherine Matthews
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Charles and Tiffany Masterson
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Robert and Nancy Peiser; Lindsay Canning; Edward Heap
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Terry Smith; Eileen Moody; Kathleen Charmen; Leila Mischer
Symphony Ball, May 2015, Steve and Jennifer Dolman; Bill Dolman

With rocking Broadway star Michael Cavanaugh on piano as warm-up act for the still powerful Huey Lewis and the News, the typically sedate Houston Symphony Ball erupted in blast-from-the-past ferver. Add to that the $1.57 million raised and you have a night truly to remember.

Once the welcomes and lengthy honoree presentations were over, the "Hip To Be Square" gala flipped into high gear as Cavanaugh filled the Hilton Americas-Houston ballroom with the sounds of Jimmy Buffett, Elton John and even a few Beatles tunes. (We want this performer back!)

Applause, applause for gala chairs Lisa and Jerry Simon and Sherry and Jim Smith for having the daring to transform the venerable symphony ball into a rock-and-roll bash. Even the after-party, targeting a younger crowd, electrified guests with the talents of acoustic violinist Bobby Yang.  Further applause to the chairs and to auction chairs Ileana and Michael Trevino, who all aided in surpassing the symphony goal.

Symphony CEO Mark Hanson introduced the honorees, each with a video tribute. The Ima Hogg Philanthropy Award was presented to Betty and Jesse Tutor, the Mike Stude Award for Enduring Artistic Vision to Cora Sue and Harry Mach, the Raphael Fliegel Award for Visionary Leadership to Nancy and Bob Peiser and Special Honoree Award to Julia and Andrés Orozco-Estrada.

Making the rounds of the party tables were Sen. Ted Cruz and wife Heidi, the largely Republican crowd pleased with his presence. It's not often that U.S. senators much less presidential candidates make the black-tie party circuit in Houston.

When Huey Lewis and his gang took over the stage, the dance floor was instantly packed. For the record, despite a few gray hairs, the band sounded as good as it did during their heyday.

Grooving on the '80s themed evening were guests including Christina Hanson, Linda and Gene Dewhurst, Margaret Alkek Williams, Lindy and John Rydman, Joella and Steve Mach, Jana and Scotty Arnoldy, Sue and Lester Smith, Monica and John Blaisdell, Vicki West, Lilly and Thurmon Andress, Diane Lokey Farb, Y. Ping Sun and David Leebron and Courtney and Bill Toomey.