Rio’s Carnival Gets Its Own Houston Version Thanks to Mercury’s Post Oak Hotel Takeover — Keeping It Musical

Flamboyant Salsa Dancers Turn Up the Heat

BY Shelby Hodge // 03.20.23

What: Mercury Chamber Orchestra “Carnival of the Animals” gala

Where: The Post Oak Hotel

Mise en Scène: It was a night of beautiful and energetic music with Mercury artistic director Antoine Plante leading Mercury musicians in performing famous selections from Saints-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals,” Paganini’s dazzling “Carnival of Venice” and Pink Martini’s rousing samba “Brazil.”

The grand finale earned the company a standing ovation for the ensemble that featured Donna Bella Litton on vocals, Carmon Kerl on trombone, Jesus Pacheco and Charlie Perez on percussion and flamboyant, colorful samba dancers from Houston’s LD Dance Company.

This 15th anniversary gala, which honored ConocoPhillips as longtime Mercury and local arts supporter, saved the best for the last as the evening began with cocktails and dinner amid an ebullient setting that played off of the color and spirit of carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Decor was in the hands of Art Attack.

In the hands of gala chairs Julie and Keith Little, the event raised more than $250,000 for Mercury’s concerts and educational programs. Mercury music presentations can be heard in downtown and neighborhood concerts across Houston. Upcoming monthly concerts feature Tchaikovsky, Klemzer and Beethoven.

Shane & Marissa Gilroy at the Mercury Chamber Orchestra Gala.

Adding to the bottom line were auction items that included a L’Isle Verte Quebec Getaway, a chance to be Mercury Conductor for a Day and a stay in a fairytale chateau in Bordeaux, France. The raffle of a spectacular sapphire and diamond necklace donated by de Boulle Diamonds & Jewelry brought even more sparkle.

PC Seen: Kelly and David Rose, Ginny Hart and Robert Navo, Mercury board president Blake Eskew and Martha Eskew, Lori Muratta, Mercury executive director Brian Ritter, Luvi and Carlos Wheelock, Christopher Michael Stribling, Rebecca Fieler, Gaby and Kenny Owen, June and Steve Barth, Jensen and David Kerley, Marcia and Tom Faschingbauer, Gretchen and Ken Penny, and June and Steve Barth.

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