What's a singer to do when he or she has a sore throat on the eve of a major performance, or a dancer has a painful metatarsal? Just ask Celine Dion, who made a call to Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine prior to her show at Toyota Center last year. Or ask the Alley Theatre's Todd Waite, whose vocal cords were suffering right before a big run recently.
The center saved his voice, saved his role and saved the production (no understudy, thank you).
These are just a few of the gems we picked up Sunday night when CPAM (as it is affectionately called by supporters) held a fete in the Memorial area home of Nanette and Jerry Finger. The garden party aspect of the gathering might have been rained out (she had planned a lovely outdoor dinner), but the enthusiasm for the non-profit was nonetheless palpable. More than 70 friends of the center and advisory board members listened with rapt attention as founder Dr. Richard Stasney and executive director Todd Frazier spoke on the valuable role of CPAM in the Houston arts community.
Their words on behalf of the center flowed in tandem with performances by strings from Mercury Baroque and by songs from a Houston Grand Opera Studio grad. Applauding the musical talents was a heady guest list including Lois and George Stark, Ginger and Jack Blanton, Peggy and Bill Barnett, Joella and Stewart Morris, Patty Hubbard, Ann Trammell and Dr. Bud Frazier. Folks from various performing arts groups were on hand, including Rice University's Shepherd School of Music Dean Robert Yekovich, the Alley Theatre's Dean Gladden and HGO staffer David Chambers.
Supporters of Taping for the Blind were prepared for the possibility of rain during the annual luncheon at Susan Krohn's River Oaks chateau on Monday, which is why the outdoor luncheon tables lining the swimming pool were tucked safely beneath white party tents. What no one counted on was the mercury dropping so fast that the Ladies Who Lunch fairly froze in their spring frocks. Temps dipped into the low 60s while the touching program, led by executive director Krista Moser and development director Brian Teichman, steamed full speed ahead.
As hostess inviting close to 200 supporters in for lunch by Tony's catering, Krohn earned the designation of honorary chair. The event that spilled from the French-style mansion onto gardens overlooking the River Oaks Country Club golf course honored Sidney Faust and Cora Sue Mach, a formidable philanthropic duo, for their litany of good works. For the entertainment of the ladies and sprinkling of gents on hand, Neiman Marcus provided a fashion show of serious baubles and beads from the precious jewels salon.
In the mix were Neiman's GM Bob Devlin, Diane Lokey Farb, Darlene Bisso, Mary Ann McKeithan, Scott Evans, Patti Dale Tye, Barbara and Ulyesse LeGrange, Judith Oudt, Paul-David Van Atta, Melissa King, Merele Yarborough, Franelle Rogers and Neiman's Stacey Swift, who serves on the Taping for the Blind board.
Party in the woods
Kids and their parents romped through the woodland setting of the Houston Arboretum on Sunday when the Ambassadors for Texas Children's Hospital group held a book drive for the hospital, hosted by Nidhika and Pershant Mehta. Young and not-so-young alike were entertained with a petting zoo, book readings, face painting, arts and crafts, a zip line and carnival games. The hundreds of books collected are headed for Texas Children's Project Medical Home Clinics for underserved communities.
Joining the picnic fun were Lindsay Holstead, Jennifer Tellepsen, Carolyn Dorros, Shelley Barineau, Laura Shuford, Rosemary and Matt Johnson, Christina and Michael O'Shell and Joan and John Scales.
Running with the big dogs
Hold on to your discretionary dollars! Here is your chance to rub elbows with some of the city's legendary athletes including Yao Ming — in Tilman Fertitta's swell backyard playground. Houston Children's Charity holds its annual "A Gathering of Champions" al fresco dinner April 30 on Fertitta's vast River Oaks spread. And the best of his Landry's Signature restaurants provide a lavish buffet that you just can't believe.
Stars in your midst will include Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Nolan Ryan, Larry Dierker, Ray Childress, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Clyde Drexler, T.J. Ford, Chester Pitts and a bunch more. Add NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Mark Kelly.
The tariff is high but the rewards for sports buffs and those looking for a dinner feast are high. You'll need $1,000 a person to make this swank party. Tickets are limited to 100.