Recap: Houston Chamber Choir Gala, All That Jazz

Carol Brejot,

(713) 503-3885

 Recap: Houston Chamber Choir Gala, All That Jazz

WHAT:    Some 160 party-goers gathered for the Houston Chamber Choir’s lively 2018 gala, All That Jazz, to honor long-time patrons, Sally Anderson Clark and her husband Michael Clark. Sally has had a passion for music since she was a child, has sung in church choirs and is especially fond of jazz. The Clarkses’ love of the music of Houston Chamber Choir and their ongoing financial support, have helped further the artistic goals of the company, which has established itself as one of the premier professional choirs in the United States, serving Houston through concerts and outreach initiatives that enlighten, entertain and educate people of all ages. These 26 singers are all compensated for rehearsals and performances, with the season running from September – May.

 Music lovers started arriving at 6:30 p.m. for a champagne reception and silent auction at the JW Marriott downtown, mixing and mingling before dinner was served in the Picasso Ballroom. Arts and culture expert St. John Flynn kept the evening moving as Master of Ceremonies, while the dinner opened with soprano Eleanora Benedict performing “I’ve Got Rhythm.” The evening was interspersed with performances by several gifted Houston Chamber Choir soloists and the entire company, featuring such jazz tunes as “All That Jazz,” “Stormy Weather,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Fly me to the Moon,” and “Blue Skies.”

 Artistic Director Robert Simpson offered a few heartfelt words to the audience, thanking them for their support of his dream, which began in 1995, when he founded the nonprofit. New Managing Director Mariam Khalili then invited guests to play a game and “raise your paddles,” in an effort to bump up the fundraising. Giving levels started at $2000 down to $100 and added a tidy sum of $17,650 to the evening’s coffers.

After a lighthearted and engaging video featuring staff and singers, Khalili welcomed to the stage the event co-chairs, Drs. Ishwaria Subbiah and Vivek Subbiah, who became avid supporters after their friends Dr. Warren Ellsworth IV and Dr. Rachel Ellworth invited them to a Houston Chamber Choir concert a few years ago. The Clarks were then called to share the spotlight onstage and were praised for their generosity and selflessness on behalf of the Houston Chamber Choir. The couple was thrilled to have several relatives and long-time friends supporting them at the gala, including one of Sally’s cherished childhood friends. The evening wound down with alto Jazmine Olwalia performing “Come Sunday.”

Jazz pianist Paul English entertained during cocktail hour, while Andreea Mut served as accompanist for the singers. Auction chairs were Antoinette Latham and James Latham.


WHEN:                 Sunday, Mar. 18, 2018 (7 p.m. – 10 p.m.)


WHERE:               JW Marriott Hotel

                                806 Main St., Houston, 77002


HONOREES:        Sally Anderson Clark and Michael Clark


CHAIRS:               Dr. Ishwaria Subbiah and Dr. Vivek Subbiah



Board Members

William McKenzie

Sonja Bruzaukas and husband Houston Haymon

Dr. Warren Ellsworth IV and wife Dr. Rachel Ellsworth 

Jack Byrom

David Whorton

Frank Hood

James Bott

Candace Axel

Matthew Stegmoyer



Robert Simpson and wife Marianna Simpson

Mariam Khalili

Grace Roman and husband Jim Roman


Additional Guests

Jessica Huff

Cece and Mack Fowler

Diane and Harry Webb

Sidney Buchanan and Nell Richardson

Diane Dillard and Andrew Hanen

Glenda Fontenot and Pat Hardesty

Drs. Corey Tu and Andrew Davis

Robin Angly

Terrylin Neale

Wick and Rob Rowland

Judy and Tom Cronin

Linnet Deily

Claudio Gutierrez

Becky McElroy and Sid Orton

Drs. Sally and David Miller

Laura and Michael Puzio

Fairfax and Risher Randall

David and Claudia Gee Vassar

Patricia Petitt and Stephen Friedman

Phillippa and Don Gard

Doe and Henry Florsheim

Janice Kellogg

Janice Barrow

Lydia and Sam Law

Ann and David Miller

Vickie and John Driscoll


PHOTOS:             Carl Cramer




About Houston Chamber Choir

The Houston Chamber Choir has established itself as one of the premier professional choirs in the United States, serving Houston through concerts and educational initiatives that enlighten, entertain, and educate people of all ages. It has been described by The Tallis Scholars founder Peter Phillips as “one of this country’s leading ensembles.”

Led by Artistic Director Robert Simpson, the Houston Chamber Choir is comprised of 26 professional singers, most of whom have studied at the top music schools and conservatories in the United States including Julliard, New England Conservatory, University of Houston, and the University of Texas. These musicians are selected through rigorous auditions from the finest singers in our region and are compensated for all rehearsals and performances.