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Ann Conway

Pacific Symphony Makes Doubly Sure That Things Go Right

January 05, 1989|Ann Conway

"How to Get to the Party." That was the headline on the program insert at the Orange County Performing Arts Center on New Year's Eve. A map spelled out the route to the Westin South Coast Plaza hotel.

The Pacific Symphony was taking no chances. Last year's apres-concert celebration at the Westin was more fizzle than fizz, an ad-libbed attempt to ring in the new year in cramped quarters (with party favors doled out from cardboard boxes).

This year, the map highlighted two hot spots where guests could kick up their heels--one in the hotel ballroom, another in a tented (and perfectly heated) pavilion erected near the hotel parking lot. And, there were two bands to swing to, two sprawling parquet dance floors, complimentary champagne and at least a quartet of food stations.

Who could ask for anything more? About 200 guests, that's who. Too late for decent seats, they ended up sitting on chairs in the hotel foyer. Some of the chairs had been shoved up to narrow shelves--"tables" on which they were supposed to dine while facing a wall. A sorry sight, those guests--resplendent in snazzy party wear and unable to hear either band or be part of either scene.

There were compensations. The concert had been a rousing upper, "one of the most wonderful I've heard," said Bill Lund, partying with Connie Stewart and Pacific Symphony board chairman Michael Gilano.

And the fashion show had been the Center's best yet: A flurry of kicky and slinky black dresses were on parade, some revealing, some definitely not--but all paired with thrilling party coats, many of them elegant mink.

"My dress has glitter on the shoulders," said Marcy Mulville, opening her fur coat wide to show off a rainbow of sparkling sequins. "It's a night to shine for! The symphony is starting a new era, a second decade!"

What a gas: There was no dance floor and the fashions were decidedly tailored, but guests at the Chapman family Christmas party last Thursday proclaimed the gathering a gas.

The reason? The Gassers, a Dixieland band composed of trombonist Stan Chapman and friends, provided the entertainment.

About 120 guests gathered at the Chapman family's El Dorado Ranch in Fullerton, continuing a party tradition begun years ago by Chapman's late mother, Alice. Benefit proceeds of $9,000 were earmarked for Florence Crittenton Services of Orange County.

On the homey scene: Kittie and John Rau, president of Florence Crittenton Services; Agnes Trinchero, Crittenton's executive director; Zada Taylor; Ernestine White; Molly McClanahan and Jean and Merrill Gregory. Chapman family members included Diane Semans, Winifred Semans, Cathy Semans with Edward Donnellan, Amy and John Semans, and Carol Chapman, wife of Stan.

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