Hutchins Consort Holds Western-Themed Gala at Balboa Bay Resort

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Hutchins Consort in action / photo by Ann Chatillon

The Corona del Mar-based Hutchins Consort may perform on classical music instruments, but that doesn’t mean they limit themselves to classical music.

Case in point: the Hutchins Consort’s annual fundraising gala concert and dinner, held this year on Sunday, April 23 at the Balboa Bay Resort and attended by more than 100 Hutchins Consort devotees.

For last year’s gala, the Hutchins Consort focused on “Sea Shanties and Scalawags.” This year’s theme was “Ballads, Broncos and Buckaroos,” and the music matched the theme, as did the décor and the dress code.

Quick explanation: The Hutchins Consort is a group of musicians that play on different sized violins, from a tiny treble violin to a large seven-foot contrabass, all designed and built by the late luthier Dr. Carleen Hutchins. Her research into the acoustic properties of string instruments resulted in an innovative process called free-plate tuning—a precise method of refining the top and back plates of a violin before it is assembled to bring it to peak acoustic performance.

This year’s gala began with a reception and a silent auction. Many attendees donned western wear and bid on a variety of silent auction items ranging from concert tickets to logo wear from the Boot Hill museum to western-themed coffee mugs, puzzles, and other items.

Hutchins Consort performs at the gala / photo by Chris Trela

Next came a performance by the Hutchins Consort, who performed familiar western music including Rossini’s William Tell Overture (the theme to The Lone Ranger), music from Sergio Leonne westerns including “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” several Fandangos (many American cowboy tunes are based on music with a Spanish origin), and a sing-along to “Home on the Range.”

After the performance came dinner. Table centerpieces were western-themed. Dinner featured a wintergreen salad, and entrees of glaze short rib, seared Atlantic salmon, or stuffed portobello mushroom.

Adding to the theme of the evening. The program listed the names of the lawmen and outlaws – and their bios – after whom the tables were names. The names included Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Kit Carson, Calamity Jane, Billy the Kid, and several other famous names of the wild west.

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Joe McNalley (artistic director), Andres Martin / photo by Ann Chatillon
Auction items / photo by Chris Trela
Table centerpiece / photo by Ann Chatillon
Susan, Cam, Alanna, Campbell and Barbara Woods / photo by Ann Chatillon
The Chris Crosson family (Chris, Laura, Stephanie) with Tom Vanasse / photo by Ann Chatillon
Ruthanne and Dr. Bob Burns (co-chairs), Sharon McNalley, Barbara Woods / photo by Ann Chatillon
Jan Landstrom, Salli Melilli / photo by Ann Chatillon
John and Kerry McCarthy / photo by Ann Chatillon
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