Society / Featured Parties

String Music and a Rock Legend — Houston Symphony Ball Makes a Full Return With a Sweet Twist

Inside a $1.1 Million Night at the Post Oak Hotel

BY // 01.31.22

Saturday night’s Houston Symphony Ball was a far cry from the COVID-induced eerily intimate event of 2021. The Post Oak Hotel ballroom gyrated over the weekend with the enthusiasm of 350 partygoers and the rocking sounds of Sammy Hagar. Guests schmoozed with enthusiasm. Air kisses became cheek brushes. And hugs were allowed.

More than $1.1 million was raised. Ball chairs Cheryl Byington, Bill Stubbs and Beth Wolff were on hand to welcome their guests unlike last year when the chairs had to stay home due to the COVID threat and health concerns.

In 2021, a rather subdued 115 guests, temperatures taken before entry, were scattered across the same ballroom where masks were required for those not dining. It was the first black-tie post COVID lockdown and restrictions were in place.

So it was with a bit of abandon that this night’s merry throng (we suspect mostly fully vaccinated) joined in the spirit of celebration that honored two of the Houston Symphony’s most important patrons and one of its leaders.

Beth Wolff, Bill Stubbs and Cheryl Byington at the Houston Symphony 2022 Ball_Photo courtesy of Houston Symphony, taken by Wilson Parrish 12
Houston Symphony ball chairs Beth Wolff, Bill Stubbs, Cheryl Byington (Photo by Wilson Parish)h

All eyes were on the city’s leading philanthropist Margaret Alkek Williams not only for her honor as recipient of the Lifetime of Philanthropy Award but also for her magical ensemble — a lavender ballgown shimmering in lavender beading, her bejeweled collar of amethysts and diamonds and matching earrings and her wrap of lavender-dyed chinchilla. Her beauty, her style and her energy once again belying her octogenarian years.

Next in the spotlight was energy executive and longtime symphony board leader Janet F. Clark, who received the Ima Hogg Philanthropy Award, followed by Houston Symphony executive director and CEO John Mangum, honored with the Raphael Fliegel Award for Visionary Leadership.

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Mangum was recognized for his steadfast and brilliant leadership of the orchestra taking up the reins only months after Hurricane Harvey and then treading the rough waters of the pandemic.

Each course of the dinner in the talented hands of Post Oak Hotel executive chef  Jean-Luc Royere was elegantly paired with select wines by Houston Symphony board president John Rydman of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods.

The talented Dave Bennett Quartet entertained through most of the evening, inspiring a few dancers to the floor. When the headline rocker — the great Sammy Hagar — and his longtime guitarist Vic Johnson took the stage, the dance floor was crowded with fans not dancing but rolling with the rhythms and cheering the Grammy Award winner. It was a rocking switch from the genteel music of the string quartet that welcomed guests into the ballroom.

PC Seen: Lilly and Thurmon Andress, Lindy Rydman, Betty and Jess Tutor, Susan and Denis DeBakey, Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black, David Wuthrich, Regan and Alex Bregman, Leila Perrin, Beth and Nick Zdeblick, Joanne King Herring, Soraya and Scott McClelland, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin, and Betsy and Rick Weber. 

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