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Houston Symphony Ball 2017:

Stir it up in Vegas


 Photo Credit: Priscilla Dickson, Wilson Parish, Anthony Rathbun,

The Texas Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis Houston hosted Houston Symphony Ball 2017: Stir it up in Vegas on Friday, May 12, 2017. The evening’s chairs were Christina and Mark Hanson. Marie Taylor Bosarge was the honorary chair, Beth Wolff and Farida Abjani were the auction chairs, Danielle and Joshua Batchelor were the entertainment chairs, and Candace and Brian Thomas were the after-party chairs.

Honorees Jane and Robert Cizik, Janice H. Barrow, Barbara and Pat McCelvey and family, Barbara J. Burger, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander K. McLanahan, Richard Flowers and the Event Company, Vinson & Elkins LLP, and Margaret Alkek Williams were recognized for their outstanding contributions. Benefitting the Houston Symphony’s education and community programs, the festive occasion was sponsored by Phillips 66 for the third consecutive year.

And what an occasion it was. Richard Flowers and The Events Company outdid themselves by turning the Texas Ballroom into a replica of the old Las Vegas Strip circa Frank Sinatra. The over 630 guests were greeted with the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign and authentic paintings of iconic hotels. There was even a glittering wedding chapel to complete the scene. Attendees were then delighted when the curtains opened on the Vegas of today shimmering with crystal walls, sparkling chandeliers, and murals of Las Vegas Boulevard, and featuring an electric-violin-playing aerialist. 

The scent of 3,700 peonies and 30 rose balls containing 150 roses each permeated the ballroom as guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and perused the unique silent auction items. Sought-after packages included a two-night stay for four in a Spa Tower suite at The Golden Nugget Las Vegas featuring dinner and drinks at Vic and Anthony’s Steakhouse and Grotto Ristorante with limousine transportation and first-class airfare, courtesy of Landry’s Inc.; a trip to Paris to visit the exclusive Van Cleef & Arpels workshop and the storied company’s school of jewelry arts, L’Ecole; a seven-night stay at the Grand Estate in Nantucket; and a week-long getaway to the Mountain Song Retreat in Aspen.      


When the dinner chimes peeled, guests were ushered to their tables for a seated dinner and honoree presentation, which was preceded by a brass fanfare performed by a quintet of Houston Symphony brass musicians. The classic dinner show that accompanied the meal featured a knockout performance by Las Vegas Showman Frankie Moreno. 

While enjoying the show, guests were served a memorable meal created by the Marriott’s Executive Sous Chef, Brian Bailey. Beginning with a “Blue Suede” peach salad, the offering moved seamlessly to its main course of “Fly Me to the Moon” airline chicken with marble potato hash, rainbow cauliflower, and baby carrots. The dessert, aptly named Puttin’ on the Ritz, featured sumptuous flourless chocolate cake decorated with berries. Wines specially selected by Lindy and John Rydman and Lisa Rydman of Spec’s Wine, Spirits & Finer Foods were the perfect accompaniment to the delicious meal.

The fabulous after-party got under way at 10:30 p.m. Guests danced to the lively sounds of the Jordan Kahn Orchestra, and enjoyed late-night snacks of chicken and waffles, crepes, donuts, and cupcakes  into the wee hours. The jubilant evening was a roaring success raising over $1.6 million.

Guests: Barbara and Pat McCelvey; Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel; Richard Flowers; Cynthia and Tony Petrello; Joella and Steve Mach; Cora Sue and Harry Mach; Darrin Davis and Mario Gudmundsson; Dr. Sippi and Ajay Khurana; Robin Angly and Miles Smith; Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah; Ralph Burch; Susan and Andrew Truscott; Valerie and Tracy Dieterich; and Zane and Brady Carruth.

About Houston Symphony

Founded in 1913, the Houston Symphony has played an important role in Houston’s cultural and civic life for over 100 years. It is one of America’s oldest arts organizations, and has a distinguished musical history. Today, the Houston Symphony performs approximately 300 concerts and recitals for over 330,000 Houstonians annually. Along with its regular season, the Houston Symphony also brings concerts to the region during the summer, many of them free. And through over 200 education and community engagement performances and events, the Houston Symphony works ceaselessly to fulfill many of the community’s needs.

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