Houston Symphony scores $1.1M in lively, rockin’ (yes, rockin’) ball

The line was heard more than a few times in the ballroom of Tilman Fertitta’s Post Oak Hotel: “This symphony ball is rockin’!”

Indeed, one might not ordinarily equate “rockin’” and “Houston Symphony,” but the symphony’s recent event, dubbed the 2022 Symphony Ball: The Symphony World in Harmony, was anything but ordinary. Nor was the final tally: the ball raised $1.1 million for the symphony’s education and community engagement initiatives.

Despite chilly temps, Houstonians dazzled in grand gowns and formalwear. Nearly 350 packed the silent auctions and snapped pics and selfies amid stunning floral arrangements courtesy of Richard Flowers.

Then, it was off to the ball, with a presentation of the 2022 Symphony Ball honorees: Margaret Alkek Williams, recipient of the Lifetime of Philanthropy Award; Janet F. Clark, recipient of the Ima Hogg Philanthropy Award; and John Mangum, recipient of the Raphael Fliegel Award for Visionary Leadership. Houston society mainstays and event chairs Cheryl Byington, Bull Stubbs, and Beth Wolff welcomed guests and got the evening started.

A gourmet multi-course dinner by the hotel’s executive chef Jean-Luc Royere — with wine pairings selected by Lindy and John Rydman of Spec’s — won praise, a highlight was the chocolate mousse encased in an edible chocolate piano.

Speaking of piano, multi-instrumentalist Dave Bennet used his as a stool as he did his best Jerry Lee Lewis impression and wowed the crowd with his rockin’ quartet. The dance floor quickly filled as Bennett and company brought the house done; a perfect leadoff to veteran rocker Sammy Hagar.

Hagar, who flew in as a favor to the symphony, strummed up an acoustic performance with his longtime guitarist Vic Johnson. (Rumor had it Fertitta stayed late to dine with Hagar after the show.)

A hot night indeed on a brisk January night, one that spells exciting times as Houston returns to society season.

Seen at the ball: Margaret Alkek Williams, Scott Mclelland, Alex and Reagan Bregman, John Mangum, Brigitte Kalai, Heather Almond, Carrie Brandsberg-Dahl and many, many more.

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