Grammy-Winning Ensemble Hits a High Note, Honors Founders at its First Gala Since 2019

Jeff Grass
Grammy-Winning Ensemble Hits a High Note, Honors Founders at its First Gala Since 2019

Marianna Parnas-Simpson and Robert Simpson

MORE THAN 150 supporters of the Grammy-winning Houston Chamber Choir filtered into the Petroleum Club for a magical, musical evening honoring founder and artistic director Robert Simpson and Marianna Parnas-Simpson.


A VIP cocktail reception — complete with bubbly and bourbon — preceded the main event, which kicked off with a silent auction accompanied by pianist Marvin Gaspard. Magician Scott Hollingsworth made his way around the room, wowing guests who were simply pleased to be gathering in person for the first time since 2019.

Following a performance by the Houston Chamber Choir, gala-goers enjoyed dinner and a video tribute to the Simpsons, who gave remarks to the audience. Marianna’s emotional and gracious speech included references to her birth in Ukraine and upbringing in Russia, while Robert thanked the board and donors profusely for their support.

Thanks in part to a unique live auction — items included things like an opportunity to guest-conduct a rehearsal — the evening garnered more than $160,000. Talk about a high note!

Jack Byrom, Greg Goedecke

Emily Hobson, April Harris

Yesely Love, Masha Field

William and Heather Orr

HCC singers

Paula Cordoba, Carolina Borja

Dean Barkley Thompson, Jay Jones

John Catalani, Doreen Stoller, Bill McKenzie, Cece Fowler

Joshua Wilson, Kelli Lawless, Rebecca Castillo, Rachael Castillo

Amanda and Jacob Malinoff

Alli and Sean Bittner

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