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Society / Featured Parties

Rocking After-Party Turns Up the Heat After $1.3 Million Houston Gala — When the Night Doesn’t End

Symphony Ball Morphs Into a Wild Circus

BY // 05.14.19

For those who left the Post Oak Hotel before the Houston Symphony Ball after-party kicked in, our condolences. You missed a rocking party. Post-dinner, the genteel “Vintage Music Garden” start to the night revved into high gear with a circus-themed blast that had the black-tie throng merrily on its toes.

Characters on stilts, carnival games, even a sword swallower combined with the sounds of the Jordan Kahn Orchestra to carry this night to a fever pitch. It was the perfect finale to the gala, chaired by Dr. Courtney and Bill Toomey, who wrangled proceeds of $1.3 million. Applause, applause to the Toomeys who reached that spectacular figure with the assist of Phillips 66’s sponsorship and Tenenbaum Jewelers‘ wildly popular raffle of “His and Hers” Rolexes. That alone earned $41,000, the lucky winner Emina Kobiljar. And, of course, the silent auction, chaired by Allison Harper, contributed its share to the bottom line.

The lavish garden theme saw Richard Flowers and The Events Company dress the hotel ballroom in murals that gave forth to bouquets of fresh flowers and centerpieces of vintage gramophones bursting with spring blossoms. Before guests entered the flower-decked ballroom, they paused for photo ops beneath a gazebo framed in arches of fresh blossoms. Flowers everywhere!

Many among the fashionable set embraced the garden motif, dressing in ball gowns billowing with floral prints including the next-gen after-party chairs Lexie Sakowitz and Elise Lubanko, plus Jana Arnoldy in beaded floral splendor, Hallie Vanderhider in a gown of flowers en rouge, and others among them including Kimberly Scheele, Phoebe Tudor, Rini Ziegler and Susan Hansen, all sporting florals.

The evening honored Houston Symphony Society presidents, each of whom answered a roll call that had them taking bows on the dance floor — John T. Cater, 1978-1980; Robert M. Hermance, 1989-1992; Janice H. Barrow, 1994-1996; Rodney H. Margolis, 1999-2001; Ed Wulfe, 2003-2006; Jesse B. Tutor, 2006-2009; Robert B. Tudor III, 2009-2012; Steven P. Mach, 2015-2017; Janet F. Clark, 2017-present.

Between the presentation and the after-party, Houston Symphony music director Andrés Orozco-Estrada and symphony executive director and CEO John Mangum worked the room making a special point to welcome Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and his wife, Whitney.

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It was a big sports night in Houston with the Astros beating the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park and the Rockets falling to the Golden State Warriors at Toyota Center. Sports fans need not have felt they were missing out. The Events Company lined the ballroom with flat-screen TVs that intermittently broadcast both games.

PC Seen: Lindy and John Rydman and Lisa Rydman of Spec’s Wine, Spirits & Finer Foods, who paired wines with Chef Jean-Luc Royere’s dinner; plus Tenenbaum’s’ Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black, BeDesign’s Adrian Duenas and Marcelo Saenz, Margaret Alkek Williams, Alie and David Pruner, Cora Sue and Harry Mach, Viviana and David Denechaud, Mary Lynn and Steve Marks, Lilly and Thurmon Andress, Valerie and Tracy Dieterich, Robert Sakowitz, Katie and Bob Orr, Christie and Bill McCartney, Catherine and Brian James, Jennifer and Doug Bosch, Kelley and Stephen Lubanko, and Ray and Orlando Ocanas.

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