Party-Goers Get Early Start on Their Weekend

Tennis shoes, anyone? A high-heeled version (in basic black, but of course) would have been nice last week. Things were hectic. Used to be that weekday bashes were unheard of. Big party nights were Fridays and Saturdays. And that was that.

But no longer. With the advent of the Orange County Performing Arts Center and its attendant openings, not to mention dozens of new support groups in the county, a serious party hopper can hop from Monday to Sunday if he or she wants.

Things started popping Wednesday, when a crush of Pacific Symphony lovers swept into Alfredo’s at Westin South Coast Plaza to dine on Peking duck crepes after the symphony’s 10th anniversary bow at the Performing Arts Center.

Also on the menu: steak tartar, chocolate truffles and torte with hazelnut sauce. Greeting guests, who included conductor Keith Clark and pianist Misha Dichter, was reception chairwoman Lorraine Lippold--a study in peacock-blue bugle beads.


Also in the crowd: Michael Gilano, chairman of the symphony board; Stewart Woodard, board president; Ann and Tom Key; Marcy and Maurice Mullville; Ed and Floss Schumacher; Ruth Ann and John Evans; Jechart Waltraut, and Mary Johnson.

Thursday morning, supporters of the Pegasus School in Fountain Valley filled the ballroom at the Balboa Bay Club for their annual fashion show and luncheon.

On the ramp? Some of the county’s most socially prominent yuppies: Joanne Hunt--wife of Irvine Co. Senior Vice President Gary Hunt, for one (Gary is president of the private school’s executive committee). Shawn Elliott, wife of Dr. Eugene Elliott (the Fountain Valley plastic surgeon who is adjusting some of society’s most prominent faces) for another. And Sherry Schulman, wife of Newport Beach attorney I. Michael Schulman, and Ann Bales, wife of UC Irvine chorale director Bruce Bales.

The school has made all the difference for her son Patrick, 4, said Joanne--sleek in a white wool sheath. “Already this week he has learned about the nervous system, the brain and the stomach. It’s incredible!”


The school teaches bright, curious learners who are in kindergarten through third grades, said Laura Katz, its founder and director. Katz established the school because she had grown tired of “watching children in public schools lose their motivation and drop out.”

“They come to school with such excitement,” she said. “And somehow it gets turned off. I always felt there had to be a way.”

For about 92 students, the Pegasus way means limited class size, lots of individual attention and a tuition range of $2,000 to $3,800 per year.

“Patrick wouldn’t do well in public schools,” Joanne said. “It’s just not challenging enough. He is not gifted, but he is really curious. At public school he would just fall through the cracks.” She said she was considering home education until she learned of Pegasus.

Katz said she named the school Pegasus because the winged horse was the mythological figure that best represents her philosophy. “We believe in the concept of reaching as far as you can reach, being the best you can be. Pegasus wanted to be on Mount Olympus with the gods.”

Saturday night, United Way’s prestigious Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award was presented to Dick Ruiz, a volunteer director at the South Community Clinic in San Juan Capistrano.

Guests such as Gail and Peter Ochs and Ninetta and Gavin Herbert gathered beside the pool at the William Lyon home in Coto de Caza to dine on rack of lamb and lemon and raspberry tartlet while they listened to the Jonathan Dysart Trio.

Other guests included Gus Owen with Kathryn Thompson, Carl and Margaret Karcher, Jeanne and Merritt Johnson (president of United Way of Orange County), Nora and Charles Hester and Kathy and Roger Hobbs.


And in Newport Beach on Saturday night, supporters of Olive Crest Treatment Center gathered at the Four Seasons hotel for its annual Black and White Ball.

The nonprofit organization in Anaheim provides treatment for abused, abandoned and neglected children. Richard Nunis, president of Walt Disney Attractions, was honorary chairman of the $150-per-person benefit, which raised about $80,000. Proceeds will go into the Olive Crest Fund, which provides music, art, and abuse therapy along with educational scholarships and emergency medical needs.

Among those on the guest list: Murray Macleod and his wife, Stephanie Edwards; Dennis Weaver, and actor Perry King, gala emcee.

Finally, Sunday it was time for supporters of the Orange County Philharmonic to feel up, up, up about the performance of “the great orchestra Down Under,” said a smiling Stuart Challender, conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Philharmonic devotees and orchestra members filed into the Center Club in Costa Mesa after the symphony’s breathtaking performance--its first in this country--at the Performing Arts Center.

No. 1 on the party agenda? The clipping on of koala bears. “Here, you need this,” said Floss Schumacher, affixing one of the tiny favors onto the suit lapel of Henry Segerstrom.

Also among the guests was Erich Vollmer, executive director of the Orange County Philharmonic Society. “That was one of the finest concerts I’ve heard,” he said. “How wonderful for Orange County to be able to hear an orchestra from Sydney one week and two weeks from now hear the Moscow State Symphony. What could possibly bring the world more closely together?” What indeed.