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.