Orange County philanthropists David and Darrellyn Melilli opened their coastal estate in south Orange County on behalf of the Pioneer School of Music. The late summer evening gathering attracted 125 guests, including a significant contingent of Newport-Mesa donors coming together to support the music programs of a school considered, "The best-kept secret in Orange County", according to Newport's dynamic Jan Landstrom.
Part of the mission of the evening was to get the secret out. Landstrom and David Melilli both serve on the Salvation Army's advisory board, and the Pioneer School of Music is an adjunct to the Salvation Army where young people are given instruction in music.
"No one knows about this wonderful program," exclaimed Landstrom, adding, "The high quality of the music resulting from this school, impacting children as young as 7 years old is simply amazing."
The gathering was in fact a debut of sorts. Not a fundraiser, but rather a coming-out party for the talented young people ranging in age from 7 to 17 performing their hearts out. Leading the young musicians were school director David Dunford and string teacher Sarah Koo.
Post performance the students mingled with guests over a lavish dessert table prepared and provided by the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary. In the crowd were Sharon McNalley, Elizabeth and John Stahr, Nora and Jim Johnson, Don Trevino, Mary Frome, Burton Karson, Wanda Castillo Cou, Joan Sue Betson, Lydia Sarandon and Jan Eversmeyer. Event committee members included Newport-Mesa residents Janet Zaugg and Sharon Morrison, and from the Salvation Army, Majors Lee and Michele Lescano.
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.