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PARTY HOPPING

Rounding Up Some Fun, Fanfare at Mozart Camerata's Ranch Picnic

July 07, 1988|ANN CONWAY

The nerve. Charlie Paap dressed Hawaiian at the Western-themed Fourth of July picnic staged by the Mozart Camerata Society.

"I'm tired of Western," said Paap, event chairman. "I need a reprieve."

Paap was pooped. He had just spent three hours--decked out in highfalutin Western finery--aboard a sweet old horse in the Orange Park Acres holiday parade.

"I'm not movin'," he said, sprawled on a grassy knoll at Jill and Scott Richmond's ranch in Santiago Canyon. "My horse was soooooo broad. And I'm sooooooo sore. Not to mention the fact that every time somebody waved a flag, she went faster. It was hard work holdin' her back!"

Paap and his wife, Carolyn, joined about 100 supporters of the Mozart Camerata Orchestra to roam the Richmond's 1.5-acre ranch--situated under Rattlesnake Peak on the Santiago Creek bed-- feast on chili and chicken, listen to the Countryside band and watch cowboy Montie Montana perform tricks with his rope.

"I learned this in the state of Montana 60 years ago," said Montana, twirling a rope for friends Henri and Eve Foussard, society president. "And I've been in a state of confusion ever since."

Montana first performed on the Fourth of July in 1925. "In Miles City, Mont.," he said. Since then, he has performed for thousands, among them, President Reagan, whom he "roped" when Reagan was governor of California.

"And I roped President Eisenhower in 1952, when he was in the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C. I rode up to him, tipped my hat, and said: 'Mr. President, with your permission, can I throw a rope around you?'

"He said: 'OK. If you don't throw it too far. ' Later that night, the Secret Service told me that if I hadn't asked permission, I would've looked like a sieve in a second."

Montana's glitzy Western attire more than made up for Paap's luau look. The front of the cowboy's cream-colored shirt glittered with rhinestone-studded American beauty roses. And the back blazed with a trail of red, white and blue sequins that formed two American flags. "They always told me if I didn't have talent, I should wear a fancy shirt and ride a fast horse," Montana said.

Also at the roundup: Gayle and Bob Anderson (who loaned their horse, Becky, to Paap); Sigrid Hecht; Lynn Newton (who took a trip to Mexico to buy committee members straw hats for the affair) and Connie Quarre and Joy Heidemann. Party underwriters were the Andersons; James Baker III; Steven Balbeck; Howard and Lucille Clark; George and Joan Dashiell; Jerome and Lisa Dreesen; Lock and Ruth Ding; Norm and Myril Kreuder; Ron and Shona Manning; Phillip Quarre; the Richmonds; Walter and Jerry Schroeder; Ralph and Georgene Smith and Bud and Katrina Stanchfield.

New World Symphony: Talk about charisma. When conductor Michael Tilson Thomas swept into Brandon's at the Beverly Heritage Hotel last Thursday night, the restaurant lit up like a klieg light. In fact, Tilson Thomas had just left the spotlight at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, where he led the New World Symphony in its first Orange County performance.

"They played brilliantly," Tilson "They played brilliantly," Tilson Thomas said. "Sensationally. They have this quality of playing with brilliance but with a sense of reserve and style, which is precisely the kind of musicality and polish we want them to develop." The orchestra, which performed for the first time in February, is composed of musicians who are recent graduates of some of the country's best-known music schools and conservatories.

The performance marked the kickoff of the New World Music Festival, staged by the Orange County Philharmonic Society, UC Irvine and the Performing Arts Center.

"I couldn't feel more optimistic," said Erich Vollmer, executive director of the Philharmonic Society (and an undergraduate student with Tilson Thomas at USC in the '60s). "This is the first time a summer music festival has been tried here. And I'm optimistic that it will grow. People (here) aren't really used to this kind of event this time of year. They're all tuckered out from seeing so many other things.

"But we hope that the festival will grow and we'll be able to put it right up there with important summer music festivals such as Aspen and Tanglewood."

Tilson Thomas pronounced Segerstrom Hall "amazing."

"I truly think the work I'm doing with this orchestra is one of the most important things I've done in my whole life, " he added.

"We're trying to create what we feel is a much-needed national resource. All great countries of the world with a high level of musical culture have long since established such national youth orchestras, a kind of reserve where outstanding musicians can meet one another and work with one another. And I so appreciate that Orange County has faith in us, to come in on the ground floor with us on the very first days of the creation of this orchestra."

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