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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Marketing & Communications
(714) 876-2380

It's a far-east extravaganza when Pacific Symphony takes guests on a mesmerizing voyage filled with ancient surprises for Gala 2013, "An Evening in China"

April 09, 2013

Visions of lotus blossoms float through the air! Pacific Symphony invites guests to revel in “An Evening in China” and be entertained by the rich cultural offerings and fascinating, mysterious art forms of this ancient country for an enchanting Gala 2013. Taking place Saturday, May 11, beginning at 5:30 p.m., at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, this important annual Symphony fund-raiser is one of the most anticipated social events of the season! This year’s lavish celebration is festooned in orange and gold lanterns, colorful kites and parasols, all setting the scene for an elegant cocktail reception and multi-course dinner chock full of inspiring entertainment. The evening climaxes with an exhilarating live auction, followed by music from the popular dance band, J.T. and California Dreamin’ (generously underwritten by John Tu of Kingston Technology)—and culminates in a dazzling display of fireworks!

This year’s event chairs are an imaginative trio of Symphony supporters—Hope Miller, Pat Podlich and Patricia Steinmann—who promise to deliver an array of astonishing acts in Chinese art, music and dance, including a stunning lion dancer and a Kung-Fu master. As attendees arrive, they are invited to mingle, sip on cocktails and enjoy delectable appetizers, all the while surrounded by traditional Chinese instruments, stilt walkers and calligraphy artists lining the promenade. Guests are then ushered at 6:45 p.m. into the Pacific Ballroom, transformed into an exotic Chinese paradise, to savor a gourmet feast with a distinctly Asian flair—featuring a watermelon salad, long noodles and a duo of beef filet and shrimp—while being enchanted by the mind-boggling illusionary art of mask changing, as well as an exquisite cultural dance.

“Our theme this year offers an exciting new approach and is a tribute to our Chinese-American heritage Symphony supporters,” says co-chair Miller. “From ancient treasures to modern splendors, we will celebrate the best of China. The St. Regis Monarch Beach is a fabulous new venue for this year’s Gala. I especially look forward to dancing to John Tu’s incredible band.”

Always over-the-top and unique, last year’s Gala raised more than $1.3 million in support of the Symphony’s artistic and award-winning education programs. This year, attire is black tie or traditional Chinese, and valet is hosted. Tables are $15,000-$100,000; individual seats are $1,000. For more information or to reserve tickets (deadline April 27), please contact the Special Events Department at (714) 876-2364 or

"I thought China would be a really interesting theme because of the variety of entertainment possibilities, most of which would be new to our guests," says co-chair Podlich. "Our orchestra and community have a large number of Chinese participants, who I thought might like to be involved in the Gala and it is also a way of recognizing them. We have also seen a big increase in our friends visiting China in the last few years so bringing a little feel of it here seemed appropriate. We’ve been attending the Symphony’s Gala’s for at least 15 years and there has never been a theme like this. Something new and different is always fun! Everywhere you turn, there will be a surprise—everyone will be thinking: 'How did they do that?'"

After dinner, the thrilling live auction begins! A yearly favorite, the Gala auction is packed full with luxurious items, extraordinary travel packages and one-of-a-kind experiences. Lucky bidders may win the opportunity to fly business class to London to attend a scoring session with film-composer James Newton Howard at Abbey Road Studios for Angelina Jolie’s new movie, “Maleficent,” a remake by Disney of “Sleeping Beauty.” Other auction items include an exclusive luncheon with the hot, young pianist Conrad Tao; a South Coast Plaza package featuring a made-to-measure suit from event sponsor, Ermenegildo Zegna; opportunities to conduct or play with the orchestra and so much more! Then, the dance floor heats up with J.T. and California Dreamin’, featuring a full string section, brass, woodwinds, keyboard, percussion and myriad singers for a grand ending to the evening.