Culture Map Houston
Lady Luck once again smiled on the Memorial Hermann Foundation as the entity raked in $2.3 million with its “Viva Las Vegas” gala on Saturday at the Hilton-Americas Houston. The funds will go to pediatric and adult Centers of Excellence in Neurosciences.
Of course, it’s never a gamble when the powerful forces behind the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System put their fundraising prowess to the test.
Year after year, the black-tie dinner dance has easily surpassed the seven-figure mark and year after year, the guest list has mushroomed beyond 1,500. With Alina and Roberto Garcia, Donna and Tony Vallone and Sheridan and John Eddie Williams at the helm, the annual “Circle of Life” gala filled the ballroom with an energized crowd that packed the dance floor from the moment that the popular Wayne Foster of Beverly Hills, Calif., troupe took the stage.
The show band is a fave of the Memorial Hermann crowd and has been lighting up the night at this gala for a number of years. Enhancing the entertainment Saturday night was a hint of old Las Vegas — Elvis and Rat Pack impersonators, plus authentic sequin-clad showgirls from Vegas’ Flamingo Hilton. The Vegas talent was fun but once again it was Wayne Foster and friends that clearly stole the show.
Guests partied in a vibrantly-decorated ballroom, recalling Vegas supper clubs, created by Darryl Murchison with Ward & Ames Special Events, Danny Ward and Nancy Heitshusen on the scene. Their special touch included an elevated bar area in the reception foyer that morphed into a Vegas lounge complete with leather sofas and chairs for late-night schmoozing.
The evening honored Celia and Albert J. Weatherhead III, the Cleveland, Ohio, industrialist and philanthropist who has a long and generous history with Memorial Hermann. Their praises were sung by Dan Wolterman, Memorial Hermann president and CEO. Also on the program was the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell.
Now back to that packed dance floor. We spotted Sue and Lester Smith (of course), Ann and Kenny Friedman, Patsy and Greg Fourticq, Soraya and Scott McClelland, Karen and Mark Johnson, Janiece Longoria and Steve Lasher, Dr. Kelli Fein and Martin Fein, Melissa and Dr. Charles Brunicardi and Carol and Michael Linn and hundreds more!
Impressive Memorial Hermann players and guests in the mix included board chair Gerald Bennett and wife Sandy, Ileana and Michael Trevino, Lori Wolterman, Margaret Williams and Jim Daniel, Randa and Charles Williams, Sherry and Jim Smith, Dr. Larry Kaiser, Vicki and Dr. Gary Friedman, Jolynn and Gregg Falgout and Jana and John Scott Arnoldy.