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Ana Maria Martinez Concert raises $250,000 for Performing Arts Center

Ana Maria MartinezIn the Hobby Center’s Zilkha Hall, about 370 friends of the University of St. Thomas gathered for a special performance by Grammy Award-winning opera favorite Ana Maria Martinez on Dec. 14. The concert, Cantos De Mi Corazón: Songs of My Heart, raised $250,000 for the University’s planned Performing Arts Center.

Martinez, a Houston Grand Opera performer, delighted the audience with a collection of songs she says have inspired her during critical moments of her life, ranging from Broadway favorites to Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.

Kelli Cohen Fein and Martin Fein chaired the event, which honored Margaret Alkek Williams for her generosity to the arts.
On stage, the University President Dr. Robert Ivany unveiled plans for a new Performing Arts Center, designed by Studio Red Architects with a generous gift from the Alkek Williams Foundation.

In keeping with St. Thomas’ philosophy that fine and performing arts are essential to its mission of educating leaders of faith and character, the design will include a black box flex theatre for dramatic productions, a proscenium theatre for musical performances and lectures, academic classrooms and offices, and additional meeting spaces. This world-class Performing Arts Center will occupy a block of University campus, and will add another jewel to Houston’s Museum District.

Ana Maria Martinez Concert raises $250,000 for Performing Arts CenterSupporters included Jes and John Hagale, and Jes performed as one of the cellists. The students of the University Singers also performed.

Marianne Ivany and Priscilla Plumb, co-chairs of the University’s Performing Arts Society, attended, and other guests who enjoyed the music were Jim Daniel, Jan Duncan, Phyllis Williams, Raye White, Donna and Bob Bruni and the Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza. Restauranteurs Lucia and Michael Cordua and Phyllis and Tony Mandola attended, as well as former Fiesta Mart, Inc. principal Trini Mendenhall Sosa and Frank Sosa. The Kickerillo family, Mary and Vincent, and daughter Kelli and husband Todd Forester, were also present.  Other guests included Shelby Hodge, Ginger and Jack Blanton, Caroline and Perryn Leech, Betty and Jesse Tutor, Isla and Tommy Reckling, Evelyn Griffin, Mariquita Masterson, Beth Madison and Ralph Burch, Cora Sue and Harry Mach, Denise Bush Bahr and Philip Bahr, and Olga and Gerald Bush.

USTView photos from the concert

Top Photo: Opera singer Ana Maria Martinez. Bottom Photo: Event chairs Kelli Cohen Fein and Martin Fein, and honoree Margaret Alkek Williams.