Society / Featured Parties

$400,000 Wine Dinner On the Main Stage of Cynthia Woods Is a Theatrical Win For Art Students In The Woodlands Area

Making Studying the Arts a Little Easier

BY // 04.04.24
photography Scott Shaver for The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

The Pavilion Partners, the official volunteer organization of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, raised more than $400,000 at its 24th Annual Wine Dinner and Auction. The wine dinner, chaired by Sonya Nicholson and Jill Krueger, is held on The Pavilion’s main stage, adding something of a theatrical thrill to the proceedings.

This spring’s dinner drew more than 325 supporters who raised the record $400,00 plus to fund scholarships for local students in The Woodlands area pursuing fine arts degrees in college.

Auctioneer Pat Tully led the group through spirited bidding on several enticing items, but a $75,000 winning bid for a dinner for 8 at Tris donated by chef Austin Simmons drew plenty of attention.

A piano performance from Matthew Nell, an accomplished pianist and percussionist composer and former Pavilion Partners scholarship recipient studying at the University of Texas, proved to be another major highlight. Nell thanked the group, noting the difficulties of pursuing a degree in the arts today.

University of Texas-Austin senior Matthew Nell delighted the crowd with two pieces - one an original composition. Nell is a graduate of Willis High School.
University of Texas-Austin senior Matthew Nell delighted the crowd with two pieces – one an original composition. Nell is a graduate of Willis High School.

“There’s such a high barrier of entry into the arts, I think a lot of people get discouraged,” Nell says. “So to see this level of support for something that’s very abstract is very validating for young artists. That support helps us invest in ourselves and educate ourselves to bring something new to music and the arts.”

Other scholarship recipients got spotlighted in a video presentation.

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Pavilion Partners Wine Dinner chairs Jill Krueger (left) and Sonya Nicholson flank Pavilion CEO Jeff Young at the Pavilion Wine Dinner.
Pavilion Partners Wine Dinner chairs Jill Krueger (left) and Sonya Nicholson flank Pavilion CEO Jeff Young at the Pavilion Wine Dinner.

This annual wine dinner continues a tradition of raising funds for scholarships for local high school students planning to study in the arts in college. This special wine dinner began when Vince and Sylvia Caracio were searching for a way to support students pursuing arts degrees. They partnered with Sol Sachs and raised $10,000 in that very first year.

Since its start in 1998, The Pavilion Partners has given out more than $2.2 million in fine arts scholarships. Scholarships are awarded to students in the following categories: vocal music, instrumental music, theater arts, dance, visual arts and computer graphic arts. The awards, based on talent and academic performance, are presented each spring.

PC Seen: George Lindahl, Dennis and Michelle Leary, Dr. Ann and Jerry Snyder, Jim and Leigh Ann Carman, John and Alysia Robichau.

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