While some would say that 20 years of the same thing is enough, what engenders generous party-goers to have much affection for Bering Omega Community Service's "Sing for Hope" three-act musicale are the tuneful surprises that always rouse a deluge of applause.
Soprano Camille Zamora first created the concert fundraiser to honor her dear friend Frank Logan, an HIV-positive musician who received compassionate care at Omega House hospice during his last days. This 20th anniversary gala, themed "Destination Dublin," welcomed more than 350 guests to the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts for a melange of timeless classical arias and Broadway selections that made audiences smile from ear to ear.
Particularly when Jennifer Walsey serenaded artist liaison Brian O'Leary with a hilarious interpretation of "If I Weren't Married . . . " It was even more special for those who know that O'Leary is charmingly gay.
Chaired by restaurateur family Michael, Lucia and David Cordúa, the evening honored Carolyn Farb, whose passion-fueled speech about the early days of the care center, plus the gusto of emcee Ernie Manouse of Houston Public Media, helped collect an additional $25,000 during an appeal for funds. Geri Murgola and Dr. Catherine Flaitz were awarded with the Camille Zamora Award for their service to Bering Omega's hospice and dental clinic. United Airlines was also recognized for its support of the organization's community programs.
Once the introductory dinner and performance were over, it was time for after-party chairs Vivian Wise, Sergio Morales, Shannon Hall and Marcus Sloan to scheme a quick decor change for "Divine Descent," a rowdy dance fete in which young professionals joined in the theater lobby — all and all bringing in $190,000.
In the crowd were Caroline Starry LeBlanc and Jared LeBlanc, Minnette and Peter Boesel, Ken Christie, Carlos Meltzer and Nick Espinosa, Jerry Jaggers, John Evatz, Michelle Baden, Scott Miller, David Reed, board president Ann Reed and Troy Brooks.