With a song in her heart, soprano Camille Zamora's intent was to support the efforts of Bering Omega Community Services, which had provided hospice care for a close friend during his final days with HIV/AIDS.
Eighteen years later, Zamorra's program, "Sing for Hope: An Evening of Art Songs & Arias," has become a sophisticated, multi-layered, black-tie fundraiser that has left its humble nest. Saturday night's theme at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, "Take Flight," presented by the Fant Foundation, bowed to former Continental Airlines for transporting busy opera singers from New York for the tuneful gathering since the event's inception.
The trio of party chairs, United Airlines attorney Jessica Rossman, former Continental CEO Gordon Bethune and John Evatz, honored loyal patrons Lucia, Michael and David Cordúa, who underwrote a portion of the three-course dinner.
After champagne and specialty potations shaken by sommelier James Watkins at the Founders Club, the throng of 600 made a smooth landing onto the theater's foyer for an elegant meal of Beef Wellington, lobster and pecan pie empanadas, for which the Cordúas spared no expense. Emcee Deborah Duncan offered a touch of humor and sentimentality as she welcomed guests, including Mayor Annise Parker and Camille Zamora Award recipients Cathy Easter and Connie Dyer of the Houston Methodist Community Benefits Program.
With concert tickets that were printed as boarding passes, guests were escorted to Sarofim Hall for the in-flight entertainment under the theater's starry cupula. A melange of nostalgic and fun tunes to the likes of "Something's Coming" from West Side Story, "Ain't it a Pretty Night?" from Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, "Barcelona" from Stephen Sondheim's Company and "Jimmy Wing" by Jimi Hendrix sung by a coterie of delightful voices that included tenors John McVeigh and Michael Slattery, jazz vocalist Kristine Mills and bass baritone Timothy Jones, alongside the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Chorale, earned a thunderous standing ovation.
Enjoying a stunning panorama of downtown were Faith and Lee Majors, Tama Lundquist, Tena and Tyson Faust, John B. Connally, Dr. Edwin Cordray, Ginger and Jack Blanton, Kathryn and Hank Coleman, Shannon Hall and Marcus Sloan, Gabriela and Daniel Dror, Sylia Gallegos, Caroline Starry LeBlanc and Jared LeBlanc, Gene Wu and Miya Shay, and Peter Remington.
Check back with CultureMap for additional coverage of the after party.