Shelby's Social Diary
Houston's Prince of Parties pulls off an afternoon tea that is straight out of the movies
Perfection. How else could one describe the beautiful afternoon tea hosted by Jackson Hicks and Milton Townsend in honor of Houston Grand Opera patron Terrylin Neale?
Even the drizzly day could not diminish the glow of this special afternoon in the gentlemen's historic home. Spring flowers in the most beguiling arrangements popped forth throughout the home. The sounds of a harpist welcomed guests. And the dining table was laden with the most luscious collection of sweets and tea sandwiches and dressed in towering spring arrangements.
And that was just the beginning of the afternoon in which HGO artistic and music director Patrick Summers orchestrated his own surprise for the lady of the hour and guests. He was joined by Bradley Moore, HGO’s head of music staff and the music director of HGO Studio, at the baby grand piano in the couple's living room to perform Mozart's Sonata in B flat major, written for four hands.
As this was a crowd of heavy opera fans, little could have been more apropos than the performance by HGO Studio singers mezzo-soprano Megan Samarin and baritone Reginald Smith Jr.
Even the drizzly day could not diminish the glow of this special afternoon.
Neal chairs HGO's 60th anniversary concert next week and she asked Jackson and Co. to provide catering, just as she did in 1987 when Wortham Theater Center, home to HGO, opened. Known as the Prince of Parties and an opera aficionado, Hicks hosted the mid-week gathering in honor of his good friend.
Of course, the tea goodies came from the talented chefs of Jackson and Co. and the flower arrangements were the handiwork of Rebekah Johnson.
Swooning over the afternoon delight were Phoebe Tudor, Nancy and Erik Littlejohn, Christopher Gardner, Lynn Wyatt, Cynthia Petrello, C. C. Connor and D.L. Groover, Dr. Steve Hamilton and Tom LeCloux, Rosie Zamora, Anne Kennedy, Laura McWilliams, Mariquita Masterson and HGO managing director Perryn Leech, a knowledgeable Brit who took issue with brown sugar lumps on the tea table. He informed that white, granular sugar is the proper accompaniment to a cup of tea.