Gala Raises $1.3M for Symphony

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Symphony President John Forsyte with event co-chairs Hope Miller, Pat Poss and Vivian McCluney.

As we arrived for last Saturday evening’s Pacific Symphony Gala, it felt like we were walking on to the set of “La Boheme”.  The theme –“La Fête du siècle” (“the party of the century”) was made complete by a good majority of the 350 guests being dressed in 1890’s Parisian evening attire, traveling back in time to one of the most exciting and innovative periods in the history of the arts: turn-of-the-century France

Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair and is wife, Susan, pose with one of the Gala entertainers.

Entering the reception, we were greeted by a line of beautiful can-can dancers. The patio area was transformed in to “the city of lights” in mid-winter and there was even snow on the ground. During the reception, we strolled through a Parisian marketplace, encountering a Cirque d’Hiver (“Winter Circus”) featuring musicians, a tightrope walker, sword-swallower, marionette artists, jugglers and other circus acts. Guests enjoyed boulangerie delicacies, a French patisserie, a crêperie and fresh roasted chestnuts, while surrounded by brightly colored Parisian flower carts, and famous Bohemian artist look-alikes Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Chaired by Vivian McCluney, Hope Miller and Pat Poss, the extravagant evening of music, dancing and French-influenced cuisine was inspired by the Symphony’s first concert opera last April, Puccini’s “La Bohème.” The result was a sensuous and gregarious scene out of La Belle Époque (“beautiful era”).

J.T. (John Tu) and California Dreamin’ returned for a second year to provide music with its full string section, brass, woodwinds, keyboard, percussion and myriad singers filling the ballroom with dance tunes from the 1960s to the present. In a stunning display of generosity, Tu pledged to match the amount of money raised during the auction and gave an additional $100,000 to Fund-a-Need—sending the numbers soaring!

The evening was a feast for the senses and successfully netted a record-breaking $1.3 million in support of the Pacific Symphony’s award-winning artistic and education programs.

– Special to the Indy from

Walkie and Janet Ray with Sheila and Jim Peterson.
Symphony board member Nick Greenko and his wife, Karlyne, with Bob Celio and board member Christopher Tower.


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