Spirit of giving

When the Spirit of Houston performs, they are either marching on the John O’Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium or roaring in the stands at Hofheinz Pavilion.

The band, however, descended on a different venue for a benefit concert Friday evening at the Moores Opera House.

In addition to the band, the UH Cheer team, Cougar Dolls dance team, UH Twirlers and UH Air Force ROTC Color Guard members showcased their talents at the intimate venue. The concert combined more than 350 students, who coordinated their performances together.

The band came out with energy and electrified the packed opera house as it burst into its set and wasted no time getting the audience worked up.

The Twirlers followed the band’s opening performance with a routine set to selections from the musical “Chicago,” which was then followed by the color guard performing flag rifle routines.

The audience included members of the Cougar Band Alumni and students from the Spring Oaks Middle School band, who were able to get a taste of what a major university band can do.

They also found out how expensive it is to operate a large marching band.

“For our recent trip to Reliant (Stadium), it cost $10,000,” said Spirit of Houston Director Troy Bennefield. “It’s quite expensive to move a band.”

Roy Monk, a 1951 alumnus, was honored by the band at the event as a Golden Cougar — an award bestowed upon individuals who are generous donors.

Monk has also established endowments for the C.T. Bauer College of Business and the Moores School of Music.

The band also received funds from a silent auction that was held during the concert.

Members of the Cougar Marching Band Alumni Association collected items that included athletic memorabilia, such as steins from several Southwestern Conference championship teams, programs from some of the football program’s memorable bowl games, a football signed by former UH football head coach Bill Yeoman and a football helmet signed by the 2012 football team roster.

A short intermission followed where the auction bidding concluded.

A tribute to Ann Ostrow — an accomplished musician, teacher and Moores school patron who passed away Oct. 25 — came after the intermission.

The Cougar Dolls took the stage to re-lift the crowds spirits followed by the cheer teams and a saxophone quartet in honor of Monk.

The band concluded the evening with a rousing performance and a playing of The Alma Mater.

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