Talk about stacking the deck for success. That would be Zarine Boyce, who orchestrated a masterful list of 20 honorees for the Virtuosi of Houston gala concert and dinner, honorees guaranteed to draw a crowd and the dollars needed to keep Virtuosi's young musicians in tune.
The black-tie gala filled the Royal Sonesta ballroom with music as the young artist chamber orchestra, enhanced by a handful of professional musicians, played their hearts out for the gathering of 450. The students, under direction of conductors Andrzej Grabiec and Franz Anton Krager, were fresh from a an exchange program in Paris.
On this night rather than chamber music, the young talents entertained with musical themes from the silver screen. At the concert's end, closing with John Williams' "Superman's March" from the Superman film, the conductors opened their tux jackets to reveal Superman T-shirts.
The stars of the "Heroines & Heroes" gala were the the honorees, each recognized in their field of expertise:
- Margaret Alkek Williams for philanthropy
- Dr. Devinder Bhatia for medicine
- Marie Bosarge for music
- Corp. Euselio Collazo, Marcus Walden and Jacqueline Hess for military
- David Dewhurst for politics
- David Eller for entrepreneurship
- Charles Foster for law
- John Hofmeister for energy
- Monzer Hourani and Jason Johnson for real estate development and philanthropy
- Samantha Kennedy for banking
- Harrison Manyoma for military
- Dr. John Mendelsohn for medicine
- Shafik Rifaat for architecture
- Bobby Tudor for finance
- Carmina Zamorano for entrepreneurship
- Dominique Sasche and Shelby Hodge for media
Sasche and Peter Remington, publisher of Houston magazine, served as emcees of the evening that included a presentation by Virtuosi board president Meherwan Boyce,. The event raised $250,000 for student programs.
Applauding the orchestra and the honorees were Nick Florescu, Philamena and Arthur Baired, Gina Bhatia, Robin and Alex Brennan-Martin, Joella and Steve Mach, Nathalie and Francois Bonneté, Carolyn Farb and Catherine Mosbacher.