Half a century in the making, the Jones Hall 50th Ball and Concert looked to the past to ensure an spectacular future for the downtown architectural icon. This Mad Mid-Century Celebration raised $1.1 million towards the master plan for the renewal of Jones Hall, while chairs Alexandra and David Pruner and James Postl made this the bash of the 21st century.
In keeping with the Mad Men-era theme the evening began with a stylish cocktail party (Manhattans for everyone) in a Mid-century modern lounge within a massive tent set on Jones Plaza. In an outside hideaway, a funky tiki bar completed the 60s atmosphere.
In keeping with that mid-century elegance, many of the guests wore gowns and tuxedos reflecting the evening’s Mad Men theme. White and black opera gloves were all the rage, but Joanne King Herring and Judy Margolis became the undisputed empresses of retro fashion by wearing the same gowns they wore 50 years ago to the Jones Hall grand opening night.
After many a toast to Jones Hall, the 350 guests headed across the street for a once-in-a-century program and concert inside the birthday building. The entertainment for the evening began with a special program honoring the Jones family and the wealth of arts performances presented in Jones Hall over the years. The film Remarkable Experiences, directed by John Carrithers and Delicia Havey of Carrithers Studio, depicted the fascinating history of Jones Hall and some of the remarkable lives that have performed in the venue.
The Houston Symphony then took the stage with Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducting and joined by internationally acclaimed violinist, and frequent Jones Hall star, Itzhak Perlman. Laughter and music mingled during the concert’s encore, as Perlman graciously accepted Orozco-Estrada’s baton to conduct, while Orozco-Estrada took up the mallets of the glockenspiel, for a lighthearted rendition of the Pizzicato Polka by Johann Jr. and Josef Strauss.
The celebration didn’t end there as guests returned to Jones Plaza to dine under crystal chandeliers in this most elegant of big tops. After an era-appropriate dinner of choice steak and twice-baked potato from City Kitchen, many guests took to the ballroom floor to dance the night away to Mid-century standards from New York’s Lester Lanin Orchestra.
Seen partying like Mad Men were Monica and John Blaisdell, Tony and Dina Chase, Estella and David Cockrell, Sarah and Doug Foshee, Christina and Mark Hanson, Jay Jones with TerryWayne Jones, Hali Jones, Malia Jones, Mary and John Jones with daughter Ali Jones, Melissa Jones, Janiece and Stephen Lasher, June Christensen, Kimberly and David Sterling, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, and Betty and Jess Tutor.
Also among the A-list crowd were Andrea and former Mayor Bill White, Tara and David Wuthrich, Lauren and Max Barrett, Jana Arnoldy, Lynn Wyatt, Joella and Houston Symphony Board Chair Steve Mach, Nancy and Charles Davidson, Melanie Gray, Janet Clark, Caroline and Perryn Leech, Margaret Alkek Williams with Jim Daniel, Harry and Cora Sue Mach, Richard and Catherine Rabinow, Marcia and Mike Feldman, Rebecca and Michael Jubashche, Gail and David Orr, Minda and Bill Caesar, Katy Caldwell, Desrye Morgan, CC Conner, Ann and Karl Stern.