Benefit: Pacific Symphony Opening Night Celebration Hits a High Note

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Susie Perry, Sally Segerstrom Andrews, Toby Andrews, and Sandy Segerstrom Daniels.

Pacific Symphony’s 2017-18 Classical Opening Night Celebration & Concert was a night of elegance and opulence from the moment 320 guests arrived at the Westin South Coast Plaza hotel.

Attendees decked out in black-tie and stunning ball gowns began celebrating the Symphony’s outstanding musicians and the start of the 2017-18 Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series.

Hosted by the Symphony’s board of directors and co-chaired by longtime supporters, husband-and-wife team Susan and Sam Anderson, the successful opening event raised nearly $200,000 for the Symphony’s award-winning artistic and education programs.

Guests arrived via a red carpet to find an abundance of fragrant white roses and white orchids. Guests mingled to music by an enchanting wind trio while nibbling on appetizers and sipping champagne. Opera singers in Wagnerian costumes posed with guests for photo ops.

Pacific Symphony’s Music Director, Carl St. Clair and his wife Susan St. Clair.

As the reception concluded, guests were ushered into the ballroom, which was decked out in shimmering décor of black linens with white embroidery and platinum and mirrored pillar-candle runners. Tables showcased lush white rose installations and orchid arrangements.

President John Forsyte welcomed everyone before Symphony cellist László Mezö performed a mesmerizing “Hungarian Rhapsody” by David Popper, dedicated to Symphony supporters Haydee and Carlos Mollura.

The feast began with wild mushroom soup with goat cheese, honey drizzle and micro-greens crostini, followed by Chilean seabass with morel mushrooms dripping in a white wine sauce.

John Forsyte, President of the Pacific Symphony, Susan Leonard, and Toren Segerstrom.

Honors went to the Symphony musicians and special guests Sally Segerstrom Andrews and Toby Andrews, Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, Susie and Steve Perry and Rae and Ted Segerstrom, Catherine Emmi and Cameron Emmi, and Haydee and Carlos Mollura.

Maestro St.Clair offered inspiring words before introducing “Forte Duo,” a performance by Symphony violinist Bridget Dolkas, accompanied by a guitarist.

The guests made their way to the Segerstrom Concert Hall for an exceptional opening performance by the orchestra, led by Music Director Carl St.Clair and spotlighting Beethoven’s mighty “Fifth Symphony,” Strauss’s lushly romantic “Don Juan,” and selections from Wagner’s thrilling “Die Walküre.”

Susan and Sam Anderson, Event Co-chairs of the Pacific Symphony Opening Night Celebration.

With excitement from the night’s music still swirling in the air, guests returned to the hotel for post-concert entertainment and decadent treats.

Presenting Sponsor South Coast Plaza, and Musician Sponsor Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin of Newport Beach helped make the evening’s festivities possible. Catherine Emmi and Cameron Emmi generously provided sponsorship for the Opening Weekend concerts in honor of Maestro Carl St.Clair.

“The evening was everything we’d hoped for and more,” said event co-chair Susan Anderson. “Beautiful rooms, a plethora of flowers, delicious food—and spectacular music! The evening’s festivities were the perfect complement to the concert. The greatest reward for me was seeing everyone truly enjoying themselves and a full house at the concert. It met my expectations in every way.”

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Cameron Emmi, Catherine Emmi, Pilar Wayne and Gary Raehu


Ling and Charlie Zhang, major supporters of the Pacific Symphony.
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