More than 600 supporters gathered at the Houston Omni on Friday, March 1, forSound, Soul and Rock n’ Roll, the Annual Gala benefiting The Center for Hearing and Speech (CHS). The evening raised over $1,000,000 for Houston-area children affected by hearing loss.

“The support we receive at the Gala each year continues to amaze me,” said Renée S. Davis, Executive Director of the Center. “Generous donations far exceeded our expectations and helped us triple our goal. It would not have been possible without our incredible chairmen, Michelle and Alan Smith, and the 2012 – 2013 Board of Directors. We are grateful for all of their devotion to what we do.”

The event honored three couples who are leaders in the energy industry and, with their dedicated commitment, have made a lasting impact on children with hearing loss. The dinner honorees included Barbara and Joe HudsonCarol and Michael Linn and Judy and Bobby Shackouls.

The evening was not only a dazzling party, it was a testament to the life-changing effect that community support can have on deaf children. Local news anchorTom Koch from ABC-13 returned as the emcee for the evening. He was joined by co-emcee Martin Simchowitz, a Houston litigation attorney and CHS alum. The reality of what it means for CHS children to reach their full potential struck a powerful note when Martin said, “People often ask how I am so successful despite my hearing loss and my response is that my strengths are not in spite of, but because of, overcoming my hearing loss.”

An auction bidding war ensued as Gala attendees tussled over vacation packages like a Bahamian yacht cruise, a New York fashion week trip and a gorgeous, custom-made pearl and stone cuff donated by Franco Valobra. Golfers in the group bid for a golf trip in the Hamptons and all of the fashion gurus were gaga over the designer handbags from Jimmy Choo, Fendi, Gucci and Valentino. Following live and silent auctions, the celebration was complete with the sounds of music, the soul of the Center and a whole lot of rock and roll as attendees danced to the sounds of the talented Emerald City Band.

Notable attendeesincluded Lilly and Thurmon Andress, Frank Billingsley and Kevin Gilliard, Amber and Clay Bretches, Diane Caplan and Edward Sanchez , Andrew Cordes and Brian Teichman, Kimberly DeLape, Andrea and Lyle Eastham, Sylvia Forsythe,  Shanna and Andrew Linbeck, Susan and Jimmy Olguin, Elizabeth and Gary Petersen, Cynthia and Tony Petrello and Jennifer and Will Van Loh.

Post-Gala Coverage (to date).  Watch for more articles coming soon from CultureMap, the Houston Business Journal, Paper City and Houston Health & Fitness Magazine.

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