Arts / Performing Arts

Houston’s Jazz Champions Bring a New Orleans Legend to Town — How Terence Blanchard Ruled the Night

DACAMERA Knows Jazz and Opera Come Together Beautifully

BY Mia De Los Reyes // 01.14.24
photography Katy Anderson

Houston’s jazz and chamber music concert producers and presenters DACAMERA hosted a high-spirited reception celebrating the iconic New Orleans native and jazz musician Terence Blanchard. His band graced Houston’s Wortham Theater Center with Blanchard’s opera Fire Shut Up in My Bones. The successful 2021 composition enabled Blanchard to become the first Black composer to have an opera performed in New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. The memoir of New York Times columnist Charles Blow inspired the piece.

Blanchard remains one of the jazz genre’s most recognizable jazz trumpeters and composers. He has created many acclaimed film score compositions for accomplished director Spike Lee and Lee’s HBO documentary series When the Levees Broke. In 2023, Blanchard’s opera composition Champion was also performed at The Met, making Blanchard the first living composer to have an opera staged at the historic opera house in back-to-back seasons.

Breathtaking opera suites of Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones also featured his touring band E-Collective and the impressive string work of the Turtle Island Quartet. Attendees were captivated by the soprano voice of Adrienne Danrich and the bass-baritone skill of Nicholas Newton. The DACAMERA Fall jazz after-party in the neighboring Houston Eldorado Ballroom began after the mystifying performances.

Kenzel and Tio Fallen (Photo by Katy Anderson )
Kenzel & Tio Fallen at the DACAMERA Terence Blanchard Eldorado reception (Photo by Katy Anderson)

Chairman and DACAMERA president Collin Cox with wife Jacquelyn Cox stepped up as lead sponsors of this big music night. As the night continued, artistic director Sarah Rothenberg and general manager Brandon Bell thanked the assembled crowd. This lively celebration was also made possible through the support of Denmon Sigler, Peter Chok, Nina and Michael Zilkha, Annette and Arthur Bracey, Erin and Chet Farmer, Heidi and David Gerger.

Sponsors Arthur and Annette Bracey (Photo by Katy Anderson )
Sponsors Arthur & Annette Bracey at the DACAMERA Terence Blanchard Eldorado reception (Photo by Katy Anderson)

The ballroom was full of live music — DACAMERA young artist Brooke Wyatt played piano backed with bass and drums — and everyone was treated to artisanal desserts. Lucille’s renowned chef Chris Williams, operator of the handsomely restored Eldorado Ballroom and its newly opened Rado Market, catered this significant musical evening. The after-party never missed a beat with mingling among the celebrated musicians and guests.

PC Seen: Annette and Anthony Brissett, Charlene and Tym  Tombar, Jakeen and Garfield Johnson, Maureen and Adel Chaouch, Crystal and Randy Wright, Lillirubin and Geoffry Oshman, Garvin Davis, Stephanie Franklin, Kenzel and Tio Fallen, Justice Meg Poissant, artist LaMonté FrenchKaren and Ramon Manning (he is the Emancipation Park Conservancy board chair), Desiree Palacios and Alban Proietto, and Suzanne Sippel who heads up individual giving.

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Check out DACAMERA’s spring calendar and upcoming events here.

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