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By Chief Contributing Writer Petrina Friede
Photography by Sally CoombsThe Ocean Institute is an Orange County jewel nestled at the tip of Dana Point that has a mission to introduce the county’s school children to the ocean and its marvelous creatures. Some of the children who visit the Institute have literally never seen the ocean. Not only does the Institute do a great job educating more than 100,000 children per year to become responsible stewards of our ocean, it can also stage a jazz jam session and culinary extravaganza that draws an eclectic group of ardent supporters to its annual Ocean Institute Jazz Festival and Fundraiser held at the Institute. One of the great aspects of this exciting three-day gig is that it accommodates nearly everyone’s budget as well as interests. Jazz lovers can had the choice of attending the Friday evening, moderately-priced opening complete with elegant appetizers and wine featuring jazz greats David Benoit, Peter White, Eric Marienthal and Spencer Day. Always popular, this one sold out with 300 attendees! Another 200 guests enjoyed the upscaled Saturday night Premier Gala with four-course dinner and the same amazing jazz artists. An excellent array of wines paired with extraordinary appetizers was served in the aquarium as guests perused the silent auction items and gawked at the tanks filled with denizens of the deep. The elegant seated dinner with gourmet courses prepared and donated by the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, the Balboa Bay Resort, the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa, the Montage Laguna Beach, and the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel was savored by all. For Sunday enjoyment, guests chose an Encore Performance for another 130 guests. For event Chair Bob Beaulieu and his committee plus a host of volunteers, the $260,000 net proceeds from the Festival was jazzy news indeed!]]>
“This event has gained the respect of wine enthusiasts across the U.S., especially in our local area,” says co-chair Van de Zilver. “Numerous wineries have asked to pour at our event, and some have supported us continuously through the years. The level of wineries/vineyards has been raised so that we have attracted more hard-to-find wines for our pouring part of the evening.”In an effort to raise the standard of excellence each year, this year the chairs enlisted the expertise of Tristen Beamon and Kyle Meyer of Orange County’s BestWinesOnline.com, who carefully curated the tastings and wines included in the live and silent auction. To provide guests with a memorable experience, Beamon and Meyer contacted friends across the world to donate items and attend the auction. Their passion for the arts and community is acutely felt and contributes to their efforts to craft an astonishing array of wines. “Kyle and Tristen did an amazing knock-your-socks-off job of putting together auction lots of wine as well as the trips to Bordeaux and Rioja (Spain),” says Van de Zilver. “Their enthusiasm, class, knowledge of wines and ability to obtain incredible auction lots was a real plus. Having auction lots such as a case of 100 point wines put us in a whole other league and rates us among the country’s best wine auctions. An auction lot of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti is another example of wines found in only the most prestigious auctions.” Throughout the night, guests had the opportunity to bid on and taste a meticulously selected collection of wines from wineries and winemakers across the world including Bruno Giacosa, Fattoria Felsina and Tenuta dell’ Ornellaia from Italy; BW Direct Bordeaux and Domaine Faiveley from France; Clos Figueres, La Rioja Alta, Vega Sicilia and Vibrant Rioja from Spain; Margaret River and Leeuwin Estate from Australia; Cantena Wines from Argentina; Peter Koff, Fairest Cape from South Africa; and Dragonette, Iron Horse Vineyards and Nickel & Nickel from California. By 7:15 p.m., the silent auction had closed and guests were ushered into the grand ballroom to enjoy a multi-course feast perfectly paired with wines and crafted by the Island’s Executive Chef David Mann. The evening culminated with a thrilling live auction led by auctioneer Jim Nye and featuring some of the finest and rarest wines, as well as one-of-a-kind experiences. A video spotlighted the most valuable auction item of all—a trip to France’s historical Bordeaux wine region created exclusively for the festival by sponsor BestWinesOnline and hosted by Beamon. The package went to one individual and three couples for $16,000 each: Joel Sheiner; Ginny and Bill Davies; Maria and Ray Francis; and Suji and Reggie Gilyard. To end the evening, guests were treated to port and a decadent chocolate tasting. PCWF supports the Symphony’s education and community engagement programs, including Heartstrings and Class Act. Heartstrings is a major community-wide program providing free access to concerts, hands-on enrichment activities and transportation for a range of underserved local residents in partnership with Orange County agencies. Class Act connects Pacific Symphony to a number of Orange County elementary schools each year, enhancing existing school music programs by providing additional musical experience through the Symphony. “The event has grown bigger and better—as in quality of wines poured at the tasting stations and higher-end auction items,” says co-chair Salter. “Any time you can exceed the amount raised from the previous year, goal exceeded! We are starting a wine/dinner series and the first stop is Big Canyon Country Club on April 11. It will feature the cuisine of Chef Nick and the Bordeaux wines of Count Stephan Von Neipperg. He will attend and pour the 2010 La Mondotte and his 2010 Cannon La Gaffeliere.” Pacific Symphony, located in Orange County, Calif., and celebrating its 35th anniversary this season, is led by Music Director Carl St.Clair. The largest orchestra formed in the United States in the last 40 years, it is widely recognized as an outstanding ensemble making strides on both the national and international scene, as well as in its own burgeoning cultural community. The Symphony has played a central role in the phenomenal growth of the performing arts in Orange County. Presenting more than 100 concerts a year and a rich array of education and community programs, the Symphony touches more than 275,000 Orange County residents—from school children to senior citizens. www.pacificsymphony.org
After viewing the splendid performance of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, we were invited to the Cast Party held at the Center Club, just a stone’s throw from the entrance to Segerstrom Hall.
We had just seen the American Premier of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo’s production of LAC [lake], which is based upon the Swan Lake story. It is a different interpretation of some of the symbolism and relationships, but still true to the beautiful Tchaikovsky score. The talented dancers mixed modern and traditional ballet moves with sensual routines by the beautifully costumed swans to the delight of the audience. The ballet troupe’s previous visit and SoCal debut was in 2012 at which time artists danced Jean-Christophe Maillot’s production of Cinderella.
Soon the cast, patrons, and directors were enjoying SoCal hospitality. Center President Terry Dwyer and Executive Vice President Judy Morr were congratulating the troupe for an exceptional performance. And what says welcome better than a good party and good food after the artists have danced their hearts out?
During the Cast- and Patron Party, we posed the following question of LAC’s Director-Choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot: Why are we in Costa Mesa so blessed to have your beautiful ballet premier here?
Monsieur Maillot replied:
“Costa Mesa in the ballet world is really a place that everyone wants to come. It has a world-wide reputation as a place that really loves dance. For a big company it is an achievement and it is true! It is unreal! Can you imagine that all this is [financed] privately here. It is an example of what people can do to bring their desire into reality! …You can feel it is an audience that deserves what they see and they fight for it. That is not so evident everywhere else. It is really nice and I am very happy!”
The cast party was attended by all of the company members as well as Segerstrom Center dance fans/aficionados and underwriters Mary Harward (whose daughter is studying at the Royal Ballet in London), Terry and George Schreyer, Patricia Ann Marshall, Susan and Tim Strader, and new Center board member Yuri Vanetik.
Why not ramp up your cultural perspectives and make ballet a part of your enjoyment?]]>
The evening celebrated the opening night of U.S. premiere of The Hamburg Ballet’s production of Liliom with a spectacularly talented cast headed by Carsten Jung and Alina Cojocaru. Not surprisingly, the premiere received rave reviews.
Neumeier, the company’s director and chief choreographer, based his work on Ferenc Molnár’s play of the same name, which was also the inspiration for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway classic, Carousel. The music for the ballet is an award-winning original score by the Academy Award®-winning composer Michel Legrand.Liliom was commissioned by The Hamburg Ballett and the Hamburg State Opera. Following the 2011 world premiere, the creators of the ballet’s two leading roles, Carsten Jung (The Hamburg Ballett) in the title role and Alina Cojocaru (The Royal Ballet) as Julie were honored with the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse for their respective performances. Legrand received the Prix Benois de la Danse for his composition. Following the premiere, Horst Koegler of danceviewtimes.com called Liliom “… a spectacular show ….” Since 1973, American-born John Neumeier has been director and chief choreographer of The Hamburg Ballett and "Ballettintendant" since 1996. Under his direction, The Hamburg Ballett became one of the leading ballet companies of the German dance scene and quickly received international recognition. As a choreographer, Neumeier has continually focused on the preservation of ballet tradition, while giving his works a modern dramatic framework. In February 2006, Neumeier established the John Neumeier Foundation with the goal of bringing together his collection of dance and ballet related objects and his vast oeuvre. The Foundation will maintain and secure his life's work. In 2011, Neumeier founded the National Youth Ballet in Germany. The company of eight young dancers is based at the Ballettzentrum in Hamburg. In 2013, Neumeier was the recipient of the Prix Benois de la Danse award for his lifetime achievement. The award ceremony took place at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The Center's International Dance Series is made possible by: Audrey Steele Burnand Endowed Fund for International Dance and The Segerstrom Foundation Endowment for Great Performances. Classical KUSC is the Media Partner of the International Dance Series.
Members of the Shady Canyon Golf Club Charitable Foundation gathered last month in the beautiful Sycamore Room of the club to present checks totaling $120,000 to six local charities.
Representatives from Orangewood Children’s Foundation, Age Well Senior Services Meals on Wheels Program, Families Forward, Infinite Hero Foundation, Angel Flight West and Irvine Classical Players each received a $20,000 check.
“We received 42 applications for grants from worthy charities and organizations,” said Shady Canyon General Manager Steve Buck. “After much consideration and review, we awarded six.
“The Members of Shady Canyon Golf Club can be very proud of the success of our Foundation in providing for those in need within the Orange County community,” continued Buck.
Several events held at the club raised the money. First, there was a Gucci Fashion Show that sold out faster than any other function held at the club in 2013. The show was spectacular and featured the latest fashions and products offered by Gucci.
Additionally, the club held the Charitable Foundation Golf Tournament. The event also included a live auction that generated better than anticipated funds, according to the club.
“I would like to thank those members who have served on the Charitable Foundation Committee,” added Buck. “Without the committee members’ diligence and follow through in securing contributions and auction items, the events and subsequent grants would not be possible.”
Orangewood Children’s Foundation COO & CFO Chris Simonsen was on hand to accept their check.
“We are so appreciative of these funds which will allow us to sponsor another event that will triple the amount,“ said Simonsen. “So we plan to make this $20,000 donation into $60,000.”
Orangewood also received a similar grant from Shady Canyon in 2012.
Irvine Classical Players also were on hand to receive their grant and provided a young and talented violinist for the entertainment.
Fourteen-year-old Bradley Adam J. Bascon, a ninth grader from Chaparral High School in Murrieta, entertained the 30+ attendees with two incredible solos.
Bascon has won competitions throughout the world and performed in such places as Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and at the London Olympics.