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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

A Magical Swirl of Cocktails, Dinner and Marvelous Music Highlight Pacific Symphony’s Opening Night Party and Concert Paying Tribute to the Orchestra’s Remarkable Musicians

Orange County, Calif. — August 23, 2016

Evening Celebrates the Symphony’s 38th Season and 10th Year in the Acoustic Wonder of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

A very special and elegant evening celebrating Pacific Symphony’s exceptional musicians and the 10th anniversary of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall marks the arrival of the much-anticipated 2016-17 Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Classical Series. Festivities for this over-the-top celebration take place at the five-star Westin South Coast Plaza and surround the evening’s concert spotlighting the brilliant pianist, Olga Kern. Chaired by longtime Symphony supporter Jo Ellen Chatham, the black-tie affair features a stylish cocktail reception and delectable pre-concert dinner, prior to the start of the concert. During intermission, guests are treated to an exclusive reception in the Box Circle lobby. Post-concert, the fun continues as attendees return to the hotel for more merriment and an opportunity to mingle with musicians. All proceeds from this event support the Symphony’s award-winning artistic and education programs.

The “2016-17 Classical Opening Night Celebration and Concert” (dinner, concert and party) takes place on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m. Tables for 10 may be purchased for $7,500-$25,000; individual seats are $500. Tickets for the concert are $25-$110. For more information, please contact special events at (714) 876-2375 or The event is generously sponsored by South Coast Plaza with musician sponsor: Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin of Newport Beach.

 “Working with the committee last year was exhilarating,” reflects event chair, Chatham, who also headed last year’s highly successful opening soiree. “The Pacific Symphony family works so well together to bring the best to our community. And this year, the 10th anniversary of the Symphony’s move into the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall is such a great opportunity to celebrate all that the Symphony does for our community. Acoustically, we have one of the finest concert halls in the world, so we not only get to hear great music, but we hear it in its purity and perfection.”

Like the keys on a piano or notes on a score, the opening night décor announces itself dramatically in black and white. Reveling in the excitement of the 2016-17 Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series, the party begins at 5 p.m. with a lively reception, where guests mingle while enjoying cocktails and scrumptious appetizers. Guests are then ushered into the beautifully adorned Plaza Ballroom for a decadent gourmet dinner inspired by the bounty of the season. Throughout the evening, honors go to the Symphony’s musicians and special guests: Sally Segerstrom Andrews and Toby Andrews, Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, Susie and Steve Perry, and Rae and Ted Segerstrom.

“Our theme is ‘We are Pacific Symphony,’” says Chatham, “and that applies to the musicians, our staff, our volunteers and board—to the entire community. The Symphony really encompasses the entire community through all of the programs they do in the schools, with numerous service organizations and beyond. We took our orchestra to Europe; we took our Youth Orchestra to Bulgaria and China. We are having an impact not only in Orange County but also on people who love music in other parts of the world. In that way, we are also ambassadors for Orange County.”

After dinner, a procession of guests makes its way up the red carpet to the concert hall for the Symphony’s opening night performance, which gets underway at 8 p.m. Beginning with Dvorák’s festive “Carnival Overture” and concluding with the Symphony’s exquisite rendition of Italian composer Respighi’s richly colored symphonic poem, “Pines of Rome,” the evening’s concert also includes the intriguing world premiere of “I Got a Little Wiggle That I Just Can’t Shake,” by world-renowned pianist Conrad Tao, who is rapidly emerging as a composer of great promise. At the center of the Symphony’s program is a breathtaking performance of Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” by Olga Kern, whom The New York Times calls “an absolute whiz at the piano.”

During intermission, partygoers are invited to an exclusive reception offering more enticing goodies at the Box Circle Club, one level up from the concert hall lobby. Post-concert, the fun still continues—as all are welcomed back to The Westin’s poolside Terrace Pavilion for entertainment, dessert and a champagne toast to the musicians who make it all possible. Guests have the opportunity to interact with musicians and dance the night away to tunes by a live jazz ensemble, before heading home with their memories of a very special evening.

“Those of us who support opening night by attending the dinner and sponsoring our musicians will have the opportunity to interact with many of the orchestra members and tell them how much we appreciate the music,” says Chatham. “It also gives the musicians the opportunity to express their gratitude for the support that the community gives to them and their work.”

Inaugurated by the Symphony in September 2006, the magnificent Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall—with its exceptional acoustics and beautiful architecture—changed the world of symphonic music forever in Orange County. Both the orchestra and its audiences suddenly felt the ceiling to their musical opportunities open up to limitless possibilities. The trajectory of the orchestra sped up, allowing for broader choices in repertoire, greater ensemble excellence and immersive audience experiences—culminating, 10 years later, in this momentous season, the ideal occasion for celebration.

“It’s all about the music,” concludes Chatham. “And not just enjoying the music because it’s so beautiful and inspirational, but for what it does for the human soul. This kind of music helps children in their academic pursuits; it helps people with diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia; and we know what music does for all of us spiritually and emotionally. The music has such an impact on all of us.”