What: Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s Power of Literacy Luncheon
Where: The Post Oak Hotel
The scoop: The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s Ladies for Literacy Guild, along with this year’s luncheon co-chairs, Lilly Andress and Vicki West, hosted the fourth annual Power of Literacy Luncheon at The Post Oak Hotel.
The event featured Oscar-winning actress, singer and author, Julie Andrews, along with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. Nearly 800 guests were in attendance; the event raised more than $600,000.
The ballroom was decorated by The Events Company led by Richard Flowers, while the backdrop for the stage was a hand-painted scene from Mary Poppins. The 80 guest tables were dressed in light and royal blue linens with floral centerpieces, and a copy of Julie Andrews’ new biography Home Work – A Memoir of My Hollywood Years was placed on every chair.
Houston Public Media host Ernie Manouse kicked off the luncheon by welcoming guests to the event, which shines the light on the cause former First Lady Barbara Bush championed for nearly 30 years: literacy. Event co-chairs Lilly Andress and Vicki West then took the stage and thanked the luncheon committee for their hard work, as well as the donors and table sponsors for their support.
Guests also had an opportunity to vie for a double-strand of Barbara Bush-inspired pearls donated by Tenenbaum Jewelers and access to the VIP champagne reception with Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton by purchasing raffle tickets. Guests purchasing tickets were given an umbrella pin with a pearl signifying their support.
Attendees enjoyed a delicious lunch catered by The Post Oak Hotel including a mixed green salad with chicken, pancetta chip, and blue cheese crumbles. Dessert was a trio of mini vanilla cream profiteroles, a chocolate chip cookie and chocolate bon bon. Following the meal, a 6-minute video played showcasing a montage of Julie Andrews’ career.
The conversation with Andrews and Hamilton, moderated by Manouse, spanned a variety of topics including Andrews’ worldly-recognized entertainment career, her family life and relationships. The mother-daughter duo kept the crowd entertained with sharing personal experiences from Andrews’ career, as well as the time they spent together writing more than 30 bestselling children’s books and Andrews’ new biography, Home Work – A Memoir of My Hollywood Years.
“Reading and writing has played an important role in both my professional career and my personal life for many, many years. Through our own books, Emma and I strive to not only entertain readers, but also to inspire them to experience the wonder of life,” said Julie Andrews. “We were so pleased to make Houston the first stop in our book tour and support the cause of literacy, which we are both so passionate about.”
The program closed with Houston Children’s Chorus performing “So Long Farewell” from The Sound of Music while dressed as the children in the movie. Guests also took photos with four period vignettes of Andrews’ starring roles in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Victor Victoria, and Princess Diaries, as eight students from the Kinder High School for Performing and Visual Arts roamed dressed in costumes from Mary Poppins.
Who: Maria Bush, Lilly and Thurman Andress, Vicki West, Julie Baker Finck, Nancy Ames and Danny Ward, Donatella and Fred Benckenstein, Sarahbeth Bush, Cathy Cleary, Sidney Faust, Paige Fertitta, Laurel D’Antoni, Diane Gendel, Rhonda Graff, Iris Griffiths, Sheri Henriksen, Betty Hrncir, Lisa Jakel, Susan Sarofim, Sue Smith, Stephanie Tsuru, Trish Morille, Betty Hrncir, Rania Daniel, Sany Barrett, Bobbie Nau, Deborah Cannon, Martha Adger, Twila Carter, Laurie Vander Ploegh, Jane Wise, Margarite Culpepper, Ann Bookout, Mary Erwin, Linda McReynolds, Sue Conway, Laura Ward, Alice Mosing, Ginger Blanton, Melissa Sandefer, Joanne King Herring, Jan Duncan, Hallie Vanderhider, Pam Sengelmann, Amy Pierce, Sheila Miller, Leslie Blanton, Anne Neeson, Marth Carnes, Dan D’Armond, Grace Givens, and Limor Smith.