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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

It’s The Cat’s Pajamas! Guests of Pacific Symphony’s 2017 Gala Are in for a Roaring Good Time, Full of the Glitz, Glamour and Decadent Celebration of 1920s’ Great Gatsby Era!

Orange County, Calif — April 13, 2017

Grab your knees and prepare to Charleston your way through a “Roaring ‘20s” night of glitter and glam for Pacific Symphony’s 2017 Gala, promising to be the “bee’s knees!” Could there have been a more thrilling time to be alive? Think “The Great Gatsby,” The Jazz Age, flappers and speakeasies! It’s flying tassels and a Lindy Hop back to the 1920s—called “roaring” because of the exuberant, freewheeling popular culture of the decade. It was a time when people defied Prohibition, indulged in new styles of dancing and dressing, and rejected many traditional Victorian standards. This period of dramatic social and profound political change was—perhaps most of all—a rip-roaring good time! Featuring a thematic evening that includes a ritzy, stylish reception, scrumptious gourmet dinner, spiffy entertainment by Symphony musicians and the Jazz Age sounds of JT & Friends. “Know your onions!”—this is a gala not to be missed!

Chaired by Symphony Board Member Ginny Davies (who was also last year’s Gala co-chair), and sponsored by Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin Newport Beach, Luxury Automotive Partner and Regency Air, Private Charter Partner, this swanky event takes place at the Hotel Irvine (17900 Jamboree Road in Irvine) on Saturday, May 6, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Attire is “Gatsby era” or black tie, and valet is hosted. To RSVP (tables are $15,000-$100,000; individual seats are $1,000), please contact the special events department at (714) 876-2364 or

“Last year I was the gala’s co-chair with Joann Leatherby,” says Davies, “and she did all the heavy lifting. This year, I wanted to help out more so that Joann had time to focus on other aspects of her role as chairman of the Symphony’s Board. I have conducted many meetings with our Gala committee, and through their suggestions, we have sought to bring out the best in contributions for our auction. The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts, and everyone has been a true treasure. The live auction items are going to be fabulous!”

Along with the Gala committee, Davies has designed a lavish evening that sparkles with raucous, good-natured fun—bringing to mind a time when at the end of World War I a new sense of prosperity and freedom emerged and life picked up momentum. Guests of the Symphony’s Gala will arrive to find themselves in the midst of a hotsy-totsy speakeasy—once known as an illicit establishment that sold hooch (alcoholic beverages) during the 1920s when Prohibition was in full stride. The practice of speaking quietly in public (so as not to alert the police or neighbors!) gave rise to the term “speakeasy” and reportedly originated with a saloon owner who ran an unlicensed bar was often heard telling her rowdy customers to “speak easy.”

“I was racking my brain for themes for this gala, when someone suggested the theme of the ‘Roaring ‘20s,’” explains Davies, whose imagination ran with the idea. “As guests arrive, the first thing they will see are gorgeous vintage cars, and as they head into the reception, they will find a very fun speakeasy. Inside, there will be a champagne fountain manned by beautiful ladies; also a full bar with cocktails from that era and delicious hors d’oeuvres. And there will be some unusual and fun entertainment!” Guests of the Symphony’s speakeasy will enjoy a little “giggle water,” a band, singer and dancers, a gaming table and photo opportunities that include posing in front of a paper moon.

As the reception draws to a close, everyone will be ushered into the grand ballroom. Decked out in opulent décor and glistening in shades of white and gold, guests will feel as if they have stumbled into a swanky party thrown by Jay Gatsby himself!

“Guests will be part of an evening set in the ’20s, very ‘Great Gatsby-esque,’” says Davies. “The dining room will be opulent and very elegant. Entertainment will have exciting, new elements—sure to enliven the conversation! Of course, there will also be a Symphony presentation, followed by JT’s Band, with some great moments on the dance floor. Food will fit with the theme, all ‘first-cabin’ presentation. This year will be a celebration of life—as one can only enjoy by participating in the beauty and community of Pacific Symphony that we are privileged to share.”

The dinner menu is sure to be the “cat’s meow,” created specially for this event by the hotel’s executive chef, Michael Beck, with cuisine featuring courses reminiscent of the 1920s. Anyone wearing socks will be in danger of having them knocked off when the entertainment begins and a sultry, jaw-dropping aerial act takes place high overhead. Guests will also enjoy music by Symphony musicians and jazzy tunes by JT & Friends, courtesy of Symphony supporter and good friend, John Tu of Kingston Technology.

Following dinner, the enticing live auction begins! It will be time for attendees to take out their “mazuma” and participate in this yearly favorite, brimming with extravagant items, extraordinary travel packages and one-of-a-kind experiences! Among the vast array of offerings, this year’s lucky guests have the opportunity to bid on a spectacular week-long SeaDream Yacht Club Mediterranean Cruise for two; a lavish, private dinner package for 12 at the Disneyland Resorts beautiful new 21 Royal, which includes park admission and an overnight stay at the hotel; and a dreamy, exotic Fiji Adventure for two!

Or maybe the “big cheese” of the family will prefer a week’s stay in a private residence at the luxurious Montage Resort in Maui or a luxury trip to New York for the Symphony’s Carnegie Hall debut! Also available to the highest bidder will be a celebrity-chef prepared dinner for 10 that includes a private concert by Symphony musicians; a Maestro Experience: a private conducting lesson led by Music Director Carl St.Clair and an opportunity to conduct during an upcoming Pops concert; a decadent private luncheon; or a sports extravaganza package. And the opportunities go on! Whatever the case, don’t be a “bluenose” and miss all the fun of bidding!

Following the auction and heart tugging fund-a-dream, the spectacular evening wraps up with the Symphony’s favorite band, J.T. & Friends, heating up the dance floor before sending guests dancing into the night! If that doesn’t sound like “berries” to you—there’s only one possible response: “Applesauce”!

For those who already have their Gala tickets—well, now you’re on the trolley!!