Pacific Symphony’s Glamorous Gala Benefit Raised Funds for Music Education and Artist Programs
Pacific Symphony presented “A Night in Old Hollywood” on Saturday, June 18 at Potocki Center for the Arts World Cup Field in Mission Viejo. One of the premier philanthropic events in the Southland, the Symphony’s Gala Benefit honored Valerie and Hans Imhof for their dedicated philanthropy and advocacy of Pacific Symphony’s music education initiatives.
The festive evening featured a chic red-carpet entrance leading to an elegant reception on a black-and-white silent movie set, gourmet dinner of cuisine inspired by the iconic Brown Derby restaurant associated with the Golden Age of Hollywood and a lively auction of luxury items and experiences. Broadway star Lisa Vroman made a surprise appearance performing such Judy Garland favorites as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “The Trolley Song” as well as classics from the American Songbook The event finished with late-night dancing under the stars to the sounds of the JT and Friends with bandleader and tech executive John Tu of Kingston Technology on the drums. In addition to making beautiful music, John Tu and his wife Mary announced the pledge of a $1 million challenge grant to encourage Orange County donors to match their gift dollar-for-dollar.
The sold-out Gala Benefit Evening event, chaired by Joann Leatherby, Judy Whitmore and Pat McAuley, was attended by 380 guests. It raised $2,313,200 with proceeds benefiting Pacific Symphony’s education and community engagement programs and artistic programming.
Gala-goers arriving at Potocki Center for the Arts found themselves transported back in time to the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood. Garlands of white flowers—peonies, Phalaenopsis orchids, tulips and baby’s breath—were draped dramatically throughout the entire setting. Black-and-white movie impersonators Charlie Chaplin, Mae West, Gene Kelly, living “Oscar” statues and feathery show girls posed for photo ops with the guests. Additional pre-dinner entertainment included a strolling saxophonist and tuxedo-clad tap-dancing Top Hat Dancers. Artists Creating Entertainment (A.C.E.), an experiential entertainment booking agency based in LA, provided all the performers.
Here are some photos from the event. You may want to consider attending next year!
Row 1. L-R. Photo 1: Gala entrance. Photo by Annie White. Photo 2: Pre-concert performers. Photo 3: Charlie and Ling Zhang.
Row 2. L-R. Photo 1: The Imhofs with Ben Smolen. Photo 2: Richard Kaufman, Carl St.Clair and Jake Sustaita. Photo 3: Diana Martin, John Forsyte, and Heidi Zuckerman.
Row 3. L-R. Photo 1: Scharrell Jackson and friend. Photo 2: John and Mary Tu with Carl St.Clair. Photo 3: Feathered showgirls. Photo by Annie White.