Diana Ross Dazzles

Diana Ross brings her own piano and hit tunes to record-breaking Houston Children's Charity gala

Diana Ross brings her own piano and hit tunes to record-breaking gala

28 Diana Ross at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Diana Ross at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
3 Penny and Paul Loyd at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Penny and Paul Loyd at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
18 Leticia and Steve Trauber at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Leticia and Steve Trauber at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
34 Laura and Dave Ward, from left, with Tilman Fertitta at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Laura and Dave Ward, from left, with Tilman Fertitta at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
32 Sue and Lester Smith at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Sue and Lester Smith at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Diana Ross in blue dress November 2013
Photo by Carol C. Sawyer
33 Clyde Drexler and Maria Moncado Aloui at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Clyde Drexler and Maria Moncado Aloui at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
26 Norelle and Brian Becker at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Norelle and Brian Becker at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
24 Brian Teichmann, from left, Dancie Ware and Andrew Cordes at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Brian Teichmann, from left, Dancie Ware and Andrew Cortes at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
23 Richard Flowers and Margaret Alkek Williams at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Richard Flowers and Margaret Alkek Williams at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
22 Amy Stanton, from left, Melissa Juneau and Donna Peak at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Amy Stanton, from left, Melissa Juneau and Donna Peak at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Diana Ross in orange gown November 2013
Diana Ross made several costume changes. Photo by Carol C. Sawyer
20 Sandy Barrett, from left, Susan Krohn and Kelly Khron at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
 Sandy Barrett, from left, Susan Krohn and Kelly Khron at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
16 Becca Cason Thrash and Frank Billingsly at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Becca Cason Thrash and Frank Billingsly at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
15 Gail Flynn, left, and Laurie Schaub at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Gail Flynn, left, and and her daughter, Laurie Schaub, at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
14 Kellie Letsos and Gary Becker at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Kellie Letsos and Gary Becker at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
6 Scott Kelly and Amiko Kauderer at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Scott Kelly and Amiko Kauderer at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
5 Monty Meave, from left, Karen Klucznik, Mark Sahagun and Nicoh Anzaldua at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Monty Meave, from left, Karen Klucznik, Nicoh Anzaldua and Mark Sahagun at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
2 Trish and Rock Morille at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Trish and Rock Morille at the Houston Children's Charity Gala. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
28 Diana Ross at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
3 Penny and Paul Loyd at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
18 Leticia and Steve Trauber at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
34 Laura and Dave Ward, from left, with Tilman Fertitta at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
32 Sue and Lester Smith at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Diana Ross in blue dress November 2013
33 Clyde Drexler and Maria Moncado Aloui at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
26 Norelle and Brian Becker at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
24 Brian Teichmann, from left, Dancie Ware and Andrew Cordes at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
23 Richard Flowers and Margaret Alkek Williams at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
22 Amy Stanton, from left, Melissa Juneau and Donna Peak at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
Diana Ross in orange gown November 2013
20 Sandy Barrett, from left, Susan Krohn and Kelly Khron at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
16 Becca Cason Thrash and Frank Billingsly at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
15 Gail Flynn, left, and Laurie Schaub at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
14 Kellie Letsos and Gary Becker at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
6 Scott Kelly and Amiko Kauderer at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
5 Monty Meave, from left, Karen Klucznik, Mark Sahagun and Nicoh Anzaldua at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013
2 Trish and Rock Morille at the Houston Children's Charity Gala November 2013

Hospitality mogul Tilman Fertitta's comment Saturday night, "You can tell that the economy in Houston is back," seemed something of an understatement at the Houston Children's Charity gala as the live auction bidding kept going up and and up and up. By the time the final gavel fell in the Hyatt Regency ballroom, the non-profit's coffers were enriched by a record half million dollars.

As HCC board chair, Fertitta kept his pen to paper throughout the bidding led by pro auctioneer Randolph Holford. Few can have been more excited by the total proceeds, which would surpass $1.5 million by night's end, than executive director Laura Ward. Kudos to her gala chairs Penny and Paul Loyd and honorees Leticia and Steve Trauber for helping bring in the dinero.

Adding a bundle to the auction take was Momentum BMW West & Southwest, which for the sixth year donated a car outright. This year's model was the new 2014 4 Series, MSRP $40,000. The package, which included a tour of the BMW plant in Munich, air travel and a two-night stay in Munich, sold for $75,000. Kaching!

The diva made four high-speed costume changes, each a heavily beaded number said to cost in the range of $30,000.  

Once the business of fundraising was completed the evening kicked into high gear with Diana Ross rocking the ballroom for more than an hour. With her elaborate stage set, her own musicians and back-up singers, this lady packed a powerful musical punch. Almost the entire ballroom of black-tie attired guests were on their feet from the very start of her concert that included all of the Supremes hits as well as tunes of other pop artists.

The diva made four high-speed costume changes, each a heavily beaded number said to cost in the range of $30,000. She even traveled with her own Steinway. (In years past when Burt Bacharach and Frank Sinatra performed for this gala, HCC rented pianos from Forshey.)

Front and center at the base of the stage, crowded with fans, was Becca Cason Thrash, who only last summer had Diana Ross as the headliner at her Liaisons au Louvre III fundraiser in Paris. With iPhones flashing and feet gyrating to the familiar tunes, few remained in their seats. Carol Sawyer, Trini Mendenhall-Sosa, Maria Bush, Trish and Rock Morille, Barbara and Lance McKnight, Sherry and Jim Smith, Roz and Alan Pactor were among those on their feet either at the stage or on the dance floor. Sue and Lester Smith joined the dancing throng when Ross closed her set with the Smiths' theme song, "I Will Survive."

Houston Children's Charity board president Tad Brown, the Houston Rockets CEO accompanied by wife Janice, welcomed the enthusiastic crowd that included Clyde Drexler, Paige Fertitta, NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly and Amiko Kauderer, Brian Teichmann and Andrew Cordes, Ileana and Michael Trevino, Dr. David Poplack, Edna Meyer-Nelson, Grant Guthrie, Kellie Letsos and Gary Becker and Chanel 13 KTRK news anchor Dave Ward, who served as emcee.