The Wayne Foster Orchestra played a selection of Strauss waltzes that made impatient feet cry out to be taken to the dance floor, but through the dinner Saturday in the Hotel del Coronado's Crown Room, the floor remained as empty as the most forlorn corner of the Gobi.
Not until the arrival of the Princess Christina almond torte, which coincided with the orchestra's commencement of "Moonlight Serenade," did the floor flood with dancers sinuously winding through Glenn Miller-esque arabesques.
The fancy footwork became possible when Her Royal Highness Princess Christina of Sweden, sister to King Carl XVI Gustaf, decided that the time to step out had arrived. Form and tradition dictate that the dancing at a ball be inaugurated by the ranking royalty present (a most rare consideration in these parts), and, since the princess was both the inspiration and the honored guest of The Royal Jubilee Ball, this final and most festive portion of the evening followed her lead.
Princess Christina visited San Diego as part of the nationwide New Sweden '88 celebration, which, by an act of Congress, commemorates the 350th anniversary of the founding of New Sweden, a short-lived colony that is now the state of Delaware. The ball brought her brief official visit to a close.
Some 250 San Diegans, most of Swedish ancestry, attended the event, which was conducted with an unfamiliar formality and followed the rules of international protocol adopted in the 19th Century at the Congress of Vienna. Since the event took place not in San Diego but in Coronado, it fell to that city's mayor, R. H. Dorman, to propose a toast--quite correctly--not to the princess, but to her crowned brother, the king. Princess Christina responded with a toast to President Reagan.
The evening also constituted a plunge into unfamiliar waters for San Diego's new twin chiefs of protocol, Anne Evans and Jeanne Lawrence. Evans said the women had a couple of busy days as official escorts to the princess, which began with the presentation of a bouquet of blue and yellow posies at Lindbergh Field, but grew rather more demanding by the hour.
Their duties included attending a lecture given by Nobel laureate Linus Pauling (his topic was "Metals and High Temperature Superconductivity," and Evans said Pauling spoke "neither Swedish nor English, but his own scientific tongue"), and escorting the princess and her husband, businessman Tord Magnuson, to dinner at the San Diego Chart House.
Lawrence said she expects the protocol job to require her not only to receive dignitaries, but to "make San Diego known through the country and through Europe as one of the best cities in which to live in the United States."
For the majority of the guests, however, protocol was a distant consideration--the mood of the moment was nostalgia for a place they or their forebears had left behind. Most guests adhered to the black-tie dress code, but a few took advantage of the ethnic dress option and turned out in bright peasant costumes. The Swedish national anthem followed the singing of "The Star Spangled Banner," and an observer noted that on many faces, rivulets of tears carried away small cargoes of mascara.
Gayle Edlund Wilson, wife of Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.) served as honorary ball chairman. Numerous other dignitaries attended, including Count Peder Bonde, chairman of the Swedish New Sweden '88 committee; Margareta Hegardt, Swedish Consul General to the Western United States; and honorary consuls in San Diego John Norton (Sweden), Bert Salonen (Finland), Dan Larsen (Denmark) and Oswald Gilbertson (Norway).
Britt Lundberg chaired The Royal Jubilee Ball with the assistance of Ingrid Alwerud, Margareta Orchel, Birgitta White, Dagny Weber, Margareta Norton and Anne-Marie Kocherga.
RANCHO SANTA FE--Developer Ernest Hahn has built a few dozen shopping centers, including San Diego's Horton Plaza, but he left it to his wife, Jean, to construct a town on their 130-acre spread, Tierra Feliz.
Jean Hahn's Wild West outpost was hammered together in time for "New Frontiers for Children's Hospital," a benefit given Sept. 25 for some 350 guests. The town--a collection of 14 false-fronted buildings, some backed by tents--housed an assortment of Spaghetti Western-type establishments, including a saloon, a bank (where gamblers withdrew sacks of wooden nickels to risk in the poker palace) and an edifice called the "World's Oldest Profession Building."
Personas bloomed at what was essentially a mid-afternoon costume party for grown-ups. Most women found the temptation to spend the day as a dance hall girl (or worse) irresistible, and the men turned out as the baddest lot ever to drift across the high Plains.
Professional actors filled in where needed: There were saloon brawlers and bank robbers, for example, as well as a grizzled prospector who mumbled a good deal and led around a burro while generally making an ass of himself.
Jean Hahn dressed demurely in calico, rather as might befit a sheepherder's wife. "Building the town was an awful lot of work, but we've had so much fun over the last four months that we haven't stopped giggling yet," she said. "Best of all, we've netted more than $140,000, all because so many people wanted to do something for Children's Hospital." Hahn promised that the town will rise again next year.
Children's President Blair Sadler said the day was essential to the support of the hospital's child protection and trauma programs, which he termed "key programs that can never support themselves but are part of our commitment to take care of all kids in our community." He added that the event was specifically designed to introduce a wider range of potential supporters to the hospital, especially those drawn from North County and East County.
The invitation to be wildly Western for an afternoon provoked quite a response. Several men participated in a five-week beard-growing contest, and had their mixed results shaved and judged just before dinner; an award was given for the scrawniest. One of the bearded, businessman Phil Blair, carried Virgil, his son's stick horse, which he said had been "rid hard and put away wet."
Texan Chuck Arledge wore a treasured 10-gallon hat that has been in his family for 150 years; his wife, Barbara, called it "a testimony to the Arledge family" that the hat showed no evidence of bullet holes. But among all the loose women, school marms and gunslingers, the one costume that showed the most daring was the pair of red long johns that one fellow wore, along with a cowboy hat and a big cigar.
Among town sponsors were Joanne and Frank Warren, Susan and Harry Summers, Anne and John Gilchrist, Carol and Mike Alessio, Maureen and Allen Blackmore, John Lynch, Nina Hazard Baker, Judy and Vince Bartolotta and Cindy and Mike Padilla.
LA JOLLA--Former San Diego Symphony music director David Atherton said he had played the piano publicly just twice in the past dozen years, but having offered that caveat, he sat down at Laurie and Lawrence Waddy's baby grand and coaxed out convincing renditions of a Mozart sonata and minuet.
Atherton starred at a small formal dinner given to launch the "Mainly Mozart" concert series to be inaugurated on the Festival Stage of the Old Globe Theatre next June. The guest list included a number of longtime music supporters invited by former Symphony President Laurie Waddy and her "Mainly Mozart" co-founders, Martha Gafford, Veryl Mortenson-Frederiksen, Jacqueline Powell and Ramona Sahm. Sahm, at whose Rancho Santa Fe estate the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art's "A Night in Monte Carlo" ball was founded, said she intends to host a "Mozart Ball," probably in costume, not long before the commencement of the "Mainly Mozart" performances.