Rockwell Schnabel officially became the United States' Ambassador to the Republic of Finland this week at the swearing-in at the State Department by Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead. Now, he and Marna are delighting in Mexican cuisine and Malibu life style before the anticipated salmon and reindeer. They also are being feted before they leave mid-February to take up residency in the embassy in Helsinki.
Rock joins the titular rank of all those other ambassadors from California--John Gavin (Mexico), William A. Wilson (the Vatican) and Geoffrey Swaebe (Belgium).
Friends William and Nadine Tilley have invitations out for a champagne reception and dinner Tuesday at the Bistro. Among the acceptances are Holmes and Virginia Tuttle, Richard and Jill Riordan, David Murdock, Richard and Janie Crane, John and Julie Karns, Ed Nelson, Michael and Suzy Niven, Peter and Becky Smith, Boni and Charles Blalack, David and Marilyn Armor, and Marna's parents, Bruce and Mary Del Mar of Corona del Mar.
During the holidays an intimate group of friends, including the Nivens, and their youngsters, had brunch together at Saddlepeak Lodge in Malibu.
The Schnabels' daughters--Mary Darrin, a student at Orange Coast Junior College, and Christy Ann, a student at New York University--flew to Washington with their parents for the ceremony. Their son Evan, 15, was away at school in Switzerland.
Andre Previn said he wasn't "used to groups this large unless they're holding instruments." Nevertheless, it was "just family" he was addressing Sunday evening at the Music Center. The occasion was supposed to be a chance for the leadership (the Chairman's Council, the Cabinet and the major gifts team members) of the Music Center Unified Fund Campaign '86 to rub elbows with the new maestro of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Joseph J. Pinola, campaign chairman; his wife Dorie; Esther Wachtell, vice chairman of the United Fund, and Harry Hufford, acting president of the Performing Arts Council, greeted guests, due to Previn's late arrival because of his afternoon concert. Then there was a gentle crush to meet the guest of honor before all sat down to chicken tarragon in the Blue Ribbon Room of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
It was clear Previn will be a huge inspiration in helping volunteers meet the final $3 million to go in the just-announced $9.5 million campaign. Said Pinola, "Campaigns fail, not because people say no, but because not enough are asked to say yes."
Previn (his wife Heather was in England) seemed to provide nice vibes: returning to Los Angeles after a 20-year hiatus, he said it was wonderful to "come back where I got the bulk of my early musical listening pleasures." The orchestra, he added, "is a truly remarkable group of musicians--they are remarkable players . . . they have to be shown off everywhere."
Liking what they heard were Pat and Walter Mirisch, Bob and Ann Wycoff, Dan and Mia Frost, John and Joan Hotchkis (he noting that Previn had played the piccolo in the San Francisco Presidio Army band), W. J. and Isabel Arnett, Peter Barker (Robin was at home with a sick child), Ernest Fleischmann (the Philharmonic executive director introduced Previn), John and Bonnie Green, Terry Herst, the Ben Kurtzmans, the David Ludwicks, the Joseph Mitchells, Dr. and Mrs. Franklin D. Murphy (she sat next to Previn, with Ann Wycoff on the other side), the Sidney Petersens, the Sydney Rosenbergs, the Dickinson Rosses (Gabriele had celebrated a "big birthday" that afternoon), the Joseph Saunders, the Richard Sherwoods, the Rocco Sicilianos, the Tim Vreelands, Tom Wachtell (he was praising his wife for staging a dinner that ended by 8 o'clock), Olive Behrendt and Roddy McDowall, Dr. and Mrs. Michael McNalley, and the people who put the artistry on the line--Gordon and Judi Davidson of the Mark Taper, John Currie of the Master Chorale, et al.
Picking a stray pine needle from the living room rug, a remnant of Christmas, it's fun to reminisce about the superb fun at Carol and Warner Henry's Twelfth Night festivities at the California Club. Betsy Egan found the bean in her white mousse cake and Terrill Gloege the pea in his chocolate mousse cake, so they'll reign as queen and king for the year.
In on the fun ("probably the 27th or 28th year" for this tradition begun by his parents) were Janice and Bob Carpenter, Suzy and Don Crowell, John and Joan Hotchkis, Bill and Daryn Horton, Dan and Joni Baker, and his parents, the Richard Bakers, Olin and Ann Barrett, Geoff and Binnie Beaumont, Clay and Barbara Sheedy, Jean Keely, Don and Betty Becker, Peter and Eliane Berger, Joe and Alice Coulombe, Phil and Mary Hawley, George and Gretchen Gibbs, Drew and Carla Fagan, Elinor Griffin, John and Lucille Hadley, Preston and Maurine Hotchkis, Hubert and Shirley Laugharn, Dee and John Maechling, Ruth and Ed Shannon, Elayne and Tom Techentin, and ever so many.