The Crowd: Aldrin speaks at WAC event

On July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin became the second astronaut to walk on the surface of the moon.

More recently, on Dec. 19, he fronted the Orange County World Affairs Council as the keynote speaker for a holiday-themed event attracting some 300 guests at the Westin South Coast Plaza. The astronaut shared memories of his experience, commenting on the extreme desolation of the moon, which he described in detail for the audience.

He went on to express the opinion that United States space exploration efforts should be focused on Mars.

"United States leadership in future space exploration is essential to the future of mankind," he said.

WAC Orange County Chapter Chairman Michael Moodian led the annual holiday event, which was billed as "The Past, Present and Future of Space Exploration." Distinguished guests in attendance included WAC National Chairman Sir Eldon Griffiths, Judge James P. Grey, Brandman University Vice Chancellor Charles Bullock, Mayor Steven Choi of Irvine, and Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine).

Brandman University and the California Science and Engineering Corp. sponsored the evening. Wagner presented special honors to WAC member Michael Withrow for his longstanding support of civic issues.


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They called it "'Tis the Season," the annual holiday concert and dinner known as "A Dickens Feast" presented to Orange County benefiting the Pacific Chorale.

Vina Williams and Tom Slattery chaired the Sunday evening gala, netting an impressive $150,000 in support of the Pacific Chorale's education and community outreach programs.

The evening began with a marvelous holiday concert in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall followed by dinner at the Center Club attended by some 230 guests. Upon arriving at the club, revelers were greeted by the Southern California Children's Chorus directed by Betsy Olson. Center Club Chef Lewis Butler prepared a Dickensian Christmas feast of braised goose with apple sausage and cranberry stuffing, followed by a traditional English plum pudding with brandy sauce.

Pacific Chorale Artistic Director John Alexander joined President and Chief Executive Kelley Ruggirello in welcoming dedicated donors, including board Chairman Martin Hubbard and his wife, Margie; Sally Anderson and Tom Rogers, Maralou and Jerry Harrington, William Gillespie, Ruth Ann and John Evans, and Mary and Phillip Lyons.

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

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