I was invited to a membership brunch yesterday for Divas World, a fascinating Houston nonprofit that has crafted some big plans from what began as extremely small concerts. While classical music started out as coin of the realm at Divas World, the organization clearly also now traffics in jazz, pop, folk, country and a little bit of rock, with a special fascination for “singer-songwriters” working in any genre. In the photo above, Divas artistic director Sonja Bruzauskas (who also offered a wicked “Habanera” from Carmen) performs with Aaron Kaufman.
In addition to arias from Carmen and Rigoletto (the ever-catchy “La Donna e mobile,” sung with enthususiasm by tenor Kennth Gayle, accompanied on the piano by Rodney Waters), classical music fans got some of their best stuff from Divas World violinist Sophia Silivose. She knocked out two lovely pieces that called fin de siecle Vienna to mind.
Not to be outdone, most of the music to brunch by was supplied by Horace Grigsby and the Just Jazz Ensemble. This music included many nifty background numbers throughout the event at Rockefeller Hall on Washington Avenue, as well as various accompaniments to various vocal numbers.
And since all good things must come to an end, the Divas World brunch did so with a fairly grand finale. In this photo, Kenneth Gayle sings “Seasons of Love” from Rent with Aaron Kaufman, David LaDuca (who’s collaborating with Divas patron Marie Bosarge in an ongoing evening devoted to Marilyn Monroe, no doubt coming to a splashy charity gala near you) and singer-songwriter Ray Younkin.