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Alta Bahia Unit Rallies to Boost Cause of Music

December 11, 1986|JODY BECKER

Members and guests of the Alta Bahia Committee of the Orange County Philharmonic Society enjoyed an evening of wining and dining and song and dance on Friday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach.

The more than 200 peopleattending "Las Luces de Navidad" included William and Barbara Roberts, who jetted in from Paris, and Ed and Floss Schumacher, only just back from a trip to the Orient.

Chatting with friends kept guests busy during the cocktail hour, but it was during dinner that the real happy hour came as Orange County's energetic Celebration youth chorale took the stage.

The chorale's appearance came after a dreamy menu of prime rib (who says no one eats red meat these days?), baked potato and onion flan.

Clad in ear muffs and scarfs, the chorus members, ages 9 to 17, musically declared that "We need a little Christmas right this minute!" and then provided it with a brightly sung medley of holiday songs.

Event chairwoman Rickie Richley said the selection of entertainment tied into the society's theme because each of its 31 women's committees promotes musical education for Orange County schoolchildren.

Among those enjoying the evening were Erich and Patricia Vollmer (he's executive director of the society); Stephen and Kit Toth; society president Eva Schneider and her husband, Fred, and Alta Bahia chairwoman Susan Beechner with her husband, Robert.

Ballroom tables were seasonally set with centerpieces of red anthurium, white freesia and greens. Each male guest received free kisses--of the chocolate sort--and the ladies received perfume samplers.

Though some guests worried about how quickly the singers would gather their props to clear the floor for dancing, no one seemed to mind biding time while indulging in final bites of white chocolate mousse flooded in raspberries.

Before long, women in glitter gowns and men in black ties were gliding across the dance floor for a good cause. The evening was expected to put $10,000 in committee coffers to augment existing musical programs.

Supporters of the Orange County Mental Health Assn., a private, nonprofit agency, gathered at the newly revamped Pacific Club in Newport Beach on Sunday for a gala wine and travel auction.

Furious bidding revealed that exotic destinations were foremost on the minds of these party-goers. Nothing like a little getaway to improve one's mental health. Guest Ronald Melville left the auction $1,200 poorer but rich with anticipation. He would spend a summer week in Tahoe. Bidder Norbert Schranz won the coveted week in Hawaii, having paid a whopping $1,700 for the privilege.

The crowd spent much of the evening sampling wines and nibbling on the cheeses and pates spread on platters in the club's main dining room.

One guest making the most of the evening was Phyllis Dillion, who scooped up two door prizes, saying she would give her children the complimentary haircuts. She, however, would hold onto the dinner at China Palace in Newport Beach. Also seen imbibing and bidding were Maclay Burt, president of the association's board; Cliff and Carol Raney; Ho and Beverly Thompson-Coil, and Judge Bruce Sumner and Virginia Donohugh, also advisory board members.

Judy Strauss, agency director of development, said the evening's $14,000 in proceeds would be used to supplement the group's programs aimed at providing and promoting better care and treatment for Orange County's mentally ill.

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