Great Age Movement Hosts 2nd Annual Jazz Luncheon Honoring Buzz Aldrin and Joanne King Herring

Luncheon will be held on Sunday, June 3rd at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Houston

Proceeds from the event benefit the capital campaign of the Great Age Movement to raise funds to build senior playgrounds and support development of programs in community green spaces.

Great Age Movement will honor Herring and Aldrin for their never-ending contribution and dedication to the world and the Houston community.

Guests are invited to mingle alongside multi-award winner, local PBS host and Master of Ceremonies, Ernie Manouse for a jazz-filled luncheon with music by Bubba McNeely Duo.

Mercedes Ellington

The Second Annual Jazz Luncheon is a tribute to famed musician Duke Ellington, with his granddaughter, Mercedes Ellington, legendary choreographer and dancer as one of the special honorees.

The jazz luncheon will also feature luxury items and experiences in the form of a live and silent auction. Honorary Chairs include Dr. Carolyn Farb, hc and Peter Martino with co-chairs, Staci Henderson and Barbara Reyna. Find a silent auction filled with lavish packages including fine wines, spa getaways, hotel and resort stays, dinner certificates, autographed collectibles and more.


The Great Age Movement is working with private developers and public organizations to fulfill its mission to build senior playgrounds that promote health, learning and socialization in Houston and surrounding areas.

Currently, two senior initiatives are in progress: (1). program development for the only senior playground in Texas in partnership with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension and Galveston County Parks & Recreation – Carbide Park in LaMarque, Texas; and (2). setting the groundwork for first future senior park in America in partnership with Wm Dillard & Associates LP on donated land in the City of Jersey Village.

Great Age Movement, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization founded by Fritz McDonald, is committed to mobilizing the senior population through sustainable community projects in Houston and surrounding areas. The organization aims to build senior playgrounds in green spaces and develop programs lead by volunteers that promote health, learning and socialization. The organization also plans to expand outdoor activity programs and educational classes focused on mental and spiritual wellness at the senior playground sites.


Buzz Aldrin:  A graduate of West Point, Air Force fighter pilot and Korean war veteran, Aldrin nextearned his PhD from MIT in 1963.  Elected by NASA to become an astronaut in that same year, Aldrin piloted the final mission of the Gemini program – Gemini 12 – where he embarked on three extracurricular vehicle activities, aka spacewalks. Aldrin made history in July 1969 when he stepped foot on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, catapulting America to ultimately win the “space race.”

Upon returning from space, Aldrin has received numerous awards and medals from around the world such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom and even has an asteroid and moon crater named after him. Aldrin has also written 9 books about space and life. As the most senior of the five surviving Apollo moonwalkers, Aldrin is still very active in the space community advising many boards and corporations, serving as Chairman of Buzz Aldrin Ventures and the Human SpaceFlight Institute, poised to be the premier innovation center for the space industry, launching in Houston in 2018.

Joanne King Herring:  Although Julia Roberts has played her role in the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War,” Herring has had an impactful career of playing multiple roles in her own life as an international socialite, global political activist and former Texas television anchor. Herring hosted the Joanne King Show on television for 15 years and has appeared as a guest on multiple media platforms for her work and stance in diplomacy. 

Herring has been recognized for forging new paths for women in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the U.S. Herring has been appointed as Ambassador of Pakistan and has received the Quaid-e-Azam award, the highest honor given by the nation of Pakistan among many other awards and recognitions. Herring plans on helping rebuild Afghanistan through her Marshall Plan Charities group in one village at a time through food, water and education.


Mercedes Ellington:   As an international award winner, Ellington’s career has taken her all over the U.S.and around the world. The range of her work includes theatrical productions, jazz festivals, gospel shows, symphony concerts and dance workshops. Recently, she has successfully competed in major Ballroom Dance Competitions around the country. Ellington is the founder and president of the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts.

Tickets may be purchased online at

For information on the Great Age Movement including benefits and opportunities, sponsorship, and general donations, please email, visit