You have to give Carl St.Clair, music director of the Pacific Symphony, big points for grace under pressure.
Case in point: At last week’s Opening Night for the symphony’s 33rd season, at the pre-concert dinner for major donors, St.Clair – less than an hour from a demanding performance with world-renowned violinist Sarah Chang – moved easily among the guests, shifting effotlessly from a conversation with a top-tier donor to greeting a bright-eyed teen girl, urging her enthusiastically to continue with her piano studies.
He’s a class act, and so are the symphony he leads – which delivered a knockout opening night performance – and its board and financial supporters, who gathered for the night’s special festivities at the Westin South Coast Plaza before and after the big show.
Guests began the evening with a cocktail reception, followed by an elaborate dinner, concert, intermission reception and post-concert party. Thanks in part to presenting sponsor South Coast Plaza, the event netted approximately $200,000 for the Symphony’s artistic and educational programs. Special recognition was accorded the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation for underwriting this year’s Classical Series, as well as its history of support for the symphony.
Among the many supporters in attendance were Pacific Symphony President John and Michele Forsyte; John and Sandy Segerstrom Daniels with Steven and Susie Perry, representing the Segerstrom Family Foundation; Tom Rogers and symphony Board Chair Sally Anderson; event underwriters Bill Gillespie, David and Suzanne Chonette, Jim and Catherine Emmi, Rondell and Joyce Hanson, Hans and Valerie Imhof, Bill and Pat Podlich, Ted and Janice Smith and John and Elizabeth Stahr; Kathryn Glassmyer of South Coast Plaza; and David and Darrellyn Melilli.