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Press Release


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

Ride the wave of the last 25 years as Pacific Symphony's Gala 2015 celebrates Music Director St.Clair with an Orange County centric sunsational celebration

Orange County, Calif. — May 04, 2015

Sun, sand, surf and grand revelry! Carl St.Clair’s 25th season as Pacific Symphony’s Music Director draws to a spectacular close during the orchestra’s 2015 gala extravaganza. Taking place Saturday, May 16, “Carl St.Clair’s 25 years in Orange County,” brings the best of Orange County to the Hotel Irvine, beginning at 5:30 p.m., for this very important annual Symphony fund-raising event. One of the most anticipated social events of the season, this year’s Gala whisks guests off on a sentimental journey, as they conclude a year-long tribute to St.Clair with a look back at 25 years in Orange County. Under the direction of this year’s event chairs, Lynn Freeman and Ellie Gordon, the evening promises to be a memorable and touching tribute to the Symphony’s beloved leader. From a beach-party cocktail reception to a multi-course feast, set in the middle of an aromatic orange grove and paired with entertainment, the memorable evening climaxes with a thrilling live auction. Guests then dance the night away to live music by the popular dance band, J.T. & Friends.

“Every Symphony gala has been one of Orange County’s most favorite parties, but this year will be extra special,” says co-chair Freeman. “The theme of this year’s gala is celebrating Carl St.Clair’s 25 years in Orange County—and Carl has done so much for this community,” says co-chair Gordon. “He is responsible for enriching the lives of so many with Symphony education programs, which have been started under his watch, from Class Act to the Youth Ensembles, arts-X-press and so many more.”

St.Clair’s significant influence in Orange County over the past 25 years since he first took the helm of the Symphony has permanently entwined him with the community. The Symphony’s gala is an opportunity to spotlight the maestro through guest artists, composers, musicians and students who pay tribute to him through their performances. Always over-the-top and unique, last year’s Gala raised a record-breaking $1.6 million in support of the Symphony’s artistic and award-winning education programs. This year, attire is black tie 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

To begin the evening’s festivities, guests are offered flip-flops as they head outside to find themselves magically at the seashore, surrounded by sand, cabanas and a beach club, where they are invited to stroll the boardwalk and mingle by a giant sand castle, sip on signature cocktails and enjoy delectable appetizers. Entertainment includes the opportunity to ride a mechanical shark and surfboard, enjoy kite-flying demonstrations, a sand artist and a Frisbee performance by a clever dog, while a surf band rocks the joint. Beach games—from Frisbee golf to “Hang 10” with surfing maestros to coconut lawn bowling—keep the energy flowing and the fun factor at an all-time high. Attendees are also offered a variety of photos ops and may pose with a lifeguard, in the barrel of a wave or alongside St.Clair on his surfboard.

At 6:45 p.m., guests transport to a time gone by, when orange groves were more plentiful than malls, as they are ushered into the hotel’s ballroom, where they enjoy a multi-course dinner amid the enchanted ambiance of an orchard filed with fragrant, life-size fruit-bearing trees. Beginning with a mixed lettuce, radicchio, Fuji apples, blue cheese, red-beet curls, blanched almonds and oranges salad with blood-orange vinaigrette, followed by a delicious bread presentation, the main course boasts a seared petite filet and jumbo prawns, mashed yam potatoes, baby squash, roasted shallot, demi-glace and citrus beurre blanc with chive-oil drizzle. And if that isn’t enough, the menu ends with a mouth-watering chocolate-banana dome with caramel sauce.

After feasting on the sumptuous dinner, the exhilarating live auction gets underway! A yearly favorite, the gala auction is jam-packed with opulent items such as coveted luxurious travel packages and experiences. Lucky bidders may compete for the opportunity to visit London to attend a scoring session with film-composer James Newton Howard at Abbey Road Studios; fly to Rome for a lavish trip hosted by BVLGARI; or revel in a relaxing tropical vacation in Bora Bora courtesy of Another consummate auction favorite is the opportunity to conduct the orchestra. Then, to bring the magnificent evening to a brilliant end, the dance floor heats up with J.T. and Friends, featuring a full string section, brass, woodwinds, keyboard, percussion and myriad singers.