Pacific Symphony Hosts Oktoberfest Fundraiser

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David Kramer, Rosie Kramer, Nemie Pollack, event co-chair Brian Pollack at the Pacific Symphony’s Oktoberfest event on Oct 12. Credit: John Watkins

Do classical music and beer go together? Absolutely!

Pacific Symphony held an elevated Oktoberfest event on Oct. 12 at the Hotel Irvine that was unlike any event the orchestra has ever presented. The event was co-chaired by longtime Symphony supporters and Newport Beach residents Mike Kerr and Brian Pollack.

Michele Forsyte and John Forsyte, President of the Pacific Symphony, at Oktoberfest, presented by the Pacific Symphony on Oct 12. Credit: John Watkins

Guests — many wearing authentic German Oktoberfest garb — were greeted by a polka band called West Coast Prost before strolling into a lush outdoor Biergarten. Dozens of top wineries poured tastes of premium vino while local breweries offered samples of a variety of beers. There were also beers imported from Bavaria. Highlights of the beer tastings: Hofbrau, Paulaner, Spaten and Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan, the oldest brewery in the world, dating back to 1040.

During the reception, guests dined on Bavarian pretzels and mustard, sizzling bratwurst and other sausages, cheese and charcuterie, and other delicious traditional dishes.

Greg Bates and his wife Joann Leatherby, President of the Pacific Symphony Board, at Pacific Symphony’s Oktoberfest. Credit: John Watkins

A silent auction offered the opportunity to bid on a variety of travel experiences, fine wines, and other luxury goods. Live entertainment was provided by a German brass band.

Once inside the event room, guests sat at Oktoberfest-themed tables and enjoyed a dinner of smoked salmon on a German potato pancake, beef roulade, bread crumb and potato dumpling, and apple strudel.

After dinner came a live auction with more exclusive trips, and vintage bottles of wine.

The event raised $142,000 for Pacific Symphony education and artistic programs. Prost!

For more information, visit

(left to right) Jacqueline Kerr, event co-chair Mike Kerr, and Jenny Backhaus at the Pacific Symphony’s Oktoberfest event on Oct 12. Credit: John Watkins
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