Houston philanthropists, artists, designers, and loyal supporters attended the Great Age Movement’s SecondAnnual Jazz Luncheon on June 3 at the Four Seasons Hotel Houston. More than 200 guests helped the Great Age Movement pursue their goals this year to help fund playgrounds in green spaces for senior citizens and develop programs led by volunteers who will promote health, learning, and socialization.

The luncheon began with a jazz performance by the Bubba McNeely Duo, which played a tribute to famed musician Duke Ellington. Robin Rettig Carlson and Jerry Foote with Dance Force Production showed off their swing moves. Local PBS host and emcee Ernie Manouse welcomed guests and Great Age Movement founder Fritz J. McDonald shared a few words about the organization’s commitment to mobilizing the senior population through sustainable community projects in Houston and surrounding areas. Fritz introduced honorary chairs Dr. Carolyn Farb, and Peter Martino, along with co-chairs Staci Henderson and Barbara Reyna.

While guests enjoyed brunch, business titan introduced international socialite, global political activist, and honoree Joanne King Herring, and KHOU’s Deborah Duncan had the pleasure to introduce honoree Mercedes Ellington, a legendary choreographer, dancer, and granddaughter of Duke Ellington. The luncheon also honored former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was introduced by Carolyn Farb. The Great Age Movement honored Herring, Ellington and Aldrin. 

Mercedes Ellington and Antonio Conde of the River Oaks School of Dancing dazzled the crowd with a special ballroom dance performance which left everyone on the edge of their seats. Ellington and her dance partner gave an encore performance followed by a heartfelt tribute to the late longtime supporter Connie Warner by her husband, Red Warner. The Dance Force Production headed to the dance floor for one last performance while supporters got active on bidding in the silent auction with items that included. Jazz hands filled the room during the live auction, which included exotic trips, luxury goods, and live paintings by Patti Lennon Potter and Edgar Medina. Fine jewels were on display by Peter Martino.

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