The Crowd: Corralling Pacific Chorale donations

When it comes to community spirit there is arguably no more dedicated confederation of folks than the ardent and steadfast supporters of Pacific Chorale.

Recently in Newport Beach they came together, as they have done year after year, for an underwriting event in advance of the chorale's annual holiday concert and dinner affectionately and traditionally known as "A Dicken's Feast" set for Dec. 16 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Center Club.

What is remarkable is the generosity of the loyalists, most notably the hosts of the underwriting dinner, Martin and Margie Hubbard, at an event at Big Canyon County Club in Newport Beach.

Joining the Hubbards were Ruth Ann and John Evans, Valerie and Hans Imhof, Tom Rogers and Sally Anderson, Vina Williams and Tom Slattery, and Mary and Phil Lyons.

"I cannot imagine my life without music," said Mary Lyons, a primary benefactor of the chorale and in particular its leader John Alexander. "I love my husband, and I bless him every day for supporting me and enabling us to support this organization. My life simply would not be the same without this music."

The concept behind the underwriting dinner is to request benefactors to cover all costs of producing the holiday concert and dinner, which is a very important annual fundraiser. The congenial and charitable Ed Arnold, TV anchor for PBS SoCal, served as master of ceremonies and chief donation solicitor.

Placards detailing the needs and the associated costs for underwriting were arranged on easels.

"Do I hear $6,000 for Christmas goose?" Arnold asked. No, he wasn't kidding, and that was just a drop in the enormous bucket, which eventually filled with donations totaling $164,350 underwriting all costs of the concert and dinner enabling the Chorale to raise a maximum dollar amount for its 2013 budget.

Talented and humble artistic director Alexander, considered one of America's most outstanding conductors of choral music, thanked the dinner crowd for the unrestricted support and shared some of the Chorale's highlights over the past year including a triumphant tour of Europe with sold-out concerts in such cities as Paris.

Among the giving folks raising their hands to contribute to everything from table linens to holiday pudding were Elizabeth Stahr, Karen and Mike Carroll, Bob and Kimberly Bernatz, Warren Coy, Sharon Fair, Margaret Gates, and the much loved Jan Landstrom working to pull the event together and produce a smashing success for the Chorale.

Following a wonderful dinner of roasted beef tenderloin and pan-seared salmon topped off with Arnold's favorite dessert key lime pie, Arkansas style, the dinner crowd was treated to a mini Broadway review by talented Pacific Chorale singers Kellee King and Aaron Mosley accompanied on piano by David Clemensen.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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