Thirty-six visitors from the Golden Orange sat front and center in the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday night, wining and dining and listening to Mozart symphonies and concertos. The group--a dozen members of the Performing Arts Fraternity and their wives, dates and friends--filled 10 prime boxes no more than a dozen paces from the stage.
The frat pack convened at the Performing Arts Center, where a chartered bus stocked with champagne and snacks awaited. Commencing promptly at 5:30 p.m.--minus four tardy guests--the ride from Costa Mesa to Cahuenga lasted one completely painless hour. "Very cushy," reported fraternity staffer Millie Muzzy. "It's nice to let someone else do the driving," said Paula Andersen of Corona del Mar, who attended the concert with Bob Divine of Newport Beach. Ann and Wolf Stern, also of Newport, had a chance to talk with Christi and Grant Bettinger of Corona del Mar. "We discovered we were going to be in Hawaii at the same time in August," said Stern. "So that was nice. We made plans to get together in Hawaii and have some fun."
Because It's There
The $75-per-person event was one of many such get-togethers for members of the Performing Arts Center support group. According to Reed Royalty, president of the 87-member fraternity, the charter's checklist goes like this: 1) raise money for the Center; 2) learn about the arts; 3) have fun; and 4) network. "I hate that word network, but there's really no other word for it," said Royalty, who sat with his wife, Gina, and Andersen and Divine. "This is a great bunch of guys, and we like to go out and do things." Royalty said events range from sponsoring lectures by local music critics to renting a luxury railroad car for a sightseeing jaunt in San Diego. Why the Bowl? Why Mozart? "Well, for one thing, we hadn't done it before," said Royalty, smiling.
Although many in the group were veteran Bowlers, none had put in more time than Bonnie Smith, whose husband, Roger, is a fraternity member. Smith, a soprano with the L.A. Master Chorale, comes to the Bowl frequently, but, she said, "I never get to hear what it sounds like from this side ." From that side she's seen some strange sights. "Birds fly in and get in the rafters," Smith said. "Raccoons come in from the back of the stage and climb into the risers with the chorus. You can see them sitting there, cleaning their little paws." One night, she said, a cat walked onstage during a performance and sat down near the piano. "It was terrible for (the pianist) because he could hear laughter cropping up here and there in the audience but he didn't know that everybody was watching the cat," Smith said.
Enjoying bottles of Chardonnay and boxed dinners of cold poached salmon or grilled chicken were Bonnie and Don Christeson, Cindy and Denis Retoske, Mary and Walter Frome, Jacquelyn and Jerry Miles, Joanne and James Grant, and Terry Lee and his date, Terry Goldfarb.
Quote This is the first time I've ever been to the Hollywood Bowl," said Jean Macino of Newport Beach, who sat with her date, Laird Blue, and Louise and Edward Zutler (they were the four dawdlers who missed the chartered bus). "I think it's wonderful! I think it's fabulous! I wish my mother were here!"