PaperCity Magazine

September 2016 - Houston

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that came out of vaults for the night. "I've never seen such beautiful jewelry," she says, recalling how she turned down TV coverage due to security issues because of the sizable baubles. Making an entrance: Rather than traipsing over the suspension bridge, attendees arrived via the formal drive on Lazy Lane. The time was a civilized 8 pm. After disembarking from Rolls, Benzes and Cadillacs, guests strolled through Philadelphia Hall and several other historic rooms before heading to the terrace for cocktail hour, where Champagne flutes were raised and toasts made with Miss Hogg's libation of choice: Fish House Punch. Upon the lawn, sans tent, 65 tables awaited suites of 10 guests each, making the total in attendance a perfect 650. Please be seated: Pre-Jackson Hicks, New York chef de cuisine Jean-Pierre Briand and Houston's Bill White were enlisted to create the six-course seated dinner served al fresco among topiaries supporting chandeliers that appeared to be suspended from trees. Tables, brimming with peonies and lilies, were set with lace-overlaid pink linens; Gump's provided favors, pewter bud vases with Miss Ima's symbol, the lyre. The menu nodded to Miss Hogg's preferences: Terrine de mallard, Blanquette de veau, and Gâteau d'anniversaire were some of the French- inflected dishes, paired with lavish wine selections and Perrier-Jouët Champagne. Musical moments: At one end of the garden, the Symphony, led by Maestro Sergiu Comissiona, A Date with the Past: Bayou Bend (Continued from page 63) performed Miss Ima's classical standards — headlined by Wagner, Brahms, and Beethoven. At the other end, the Lester Lanin Orchestra struck up popular tunes that segued into dancing, from "Sweet Georgia Brown" to "Pac-Man Fever." Mishaps avoided: The question leading up to the big night was … the weather. McReynolds had foregone a tent not because of the expense — which was set to be underwritten to the tune of $35,000 — but to avoid obstructing the view on the lawn. (A rain date was noted on the invite, just in case.) The day before, a downpour came — a deluge that flooded River Oaks. But by the following evening, all had dried off, and it was a clear night where guests even commented upon seeing the stars. The other hiccup was that the Symphony was delayed; due to an accident on Waugh Drive, most of the 90- some piece orchestra was not on hand when it came time to take the stage. The chair's solution was to switch the order of the program, and Beethoven eventually got his due. T h e b e a u t i f u l b o t t o m l i n e : Within weeks of finalizing her budget, the persuasive chairman had $100,000 in a bank trust a year in advance, which yielded a tidy amount of interest by the time of the ball. The impressive six-figure sum to cover the costs of the soirée came from four lead underwriters: The Cullen Trust, Barbara and Gerald Hines, Carroll and Harris Masterson III, and Caroline and Ted Law. Each contributed $25,000 to the cause. Individual tickets began at $500, and table prices soared to $15,000 for tables of 10 — "the highest anyone can remember for a benefit anywhere in Texas," wrote Dallas Times Herald reporter Nancy Smith at the time. (This was in 1982 financials. Magnify four- or fivefold. The $25,000 underwriting gifts would be equivalent to $100,000 or $125,000 per couple today.) Without a raffle or auction, the bottom line was a handsome $750,000 — equal to about $4 million today, perhaps the most any cultural benefit in Houston has ever cleared. "Miss Ima was certainly with us," says McReynolds. "I like to think she would have been very pleased." Another takeaway: While, this was the beginning of modern fund-raising in Houston, it was also an unprecedented, never-to-be- repeated night. May 14, 1982, marked the first and only time that two of our town's grandest arts organizations have come together to share a fête — all in honor of one singular woman. For the program for this double ball showing the menu, who gave, and what was played, plus additional party pics, visit Josephine Hudson HMRC, HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY, RGD0006N1982-1228S2FR3A OCTOBER 13-16, 2016 FAIR MARKET - AU S T I N , T X POPAUSTIN.COM FOR TICKETS & INFO

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