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Journey headlines a record-breaking benefit for the L.A. Phil

The Event: Iconic rock band Journey launched the Hollywood Bowl’s 2015 summer season Saturday with a concert of the band’s hits, accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Choir and, for the first three numbers, YOLA, the Youth Orchestra LA.

A benefit for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s education and community programs, the event netted proceeds reaching a record-breaking $1.6 million.

The program: Conductor Thomas Wilkins led the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in a fanfare, as video clips breezed through previous opening nights, featuring Kristin Chenoweth, John Legend, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Reba McIntyre, Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli and Bernadette Peters, among other music superstars.

Danny DeVito then introduced YOLA, but not before taking a seat and photographing his foot against a backdrop of the audience. With that task accomplished, he said he came to “shine a light on the transformative power of music education” and reminisced about his piano lessons as a kindergartner with a nun. “She kept time with a ruler --- on my knuckles.”

Journey, consisting of Neal Schon, Ross Valory, Arnel Pineda and Jonathan Cain, performed a full set of the band’s most popular songs, with Omar Hakim filling in for Deen Castronovo on drums. As a finale, as fireworks lit the sky, the band played their anthem “Don’t Stop Believin.’ ”

The crowd: Teena Hostovich and Doug Martinet served as gala chairs, and Jonathan Weedman and Raymundo Baltazar, as sponsorship chairs. The audience included Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo, former Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum, TV personalities Wendy Burch and Michaele Schon, Merle Dandridge of the Bowl’s upcoming “Spamalot,” actors John Savage and Anne Jeffreys, L.A. City Council member Mitch O’Farrell, LA Phil supporters Connie Gavin and former U.S. Ambassador John Gavin, Sandy and Barry Pressman, Sutton and Christian Stracke, Linda May and Jack Suzar, Lynn Booth, Lynda Oschin, Marilyn Ziering, board chair Diane Paul and executive director Gail Samuel.

The numbers: This year’s proceeds came from 1,500 patrons in boxes ranging from $2,300 to $15,750. “You collectively have raised more money for music education than at any of our previous opening night concerts,” Wilkins said.

Quote of note: “When I was a kid, I used to sit up top for $1,” Weedman recalled during the patron party. “I’d spend my last dime for a ticket and even today, you can buy a seat for $1 and hear world-class music. The Hollywood Bowl is L.A.’s refuge.”


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