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Hospital Associates Take a Gamble--and Win

August 03, 1989|PAMELA MARIN | Pamela Marin is a regular contributor to Orange County Life.

The Associates of Saddleback Hospital pitched a tent in a parking lot in Laguna Hills on Saturday and held their fourth annual Monte Carlo night--an evening of gaming that raised $13,000.

More than 220 guests paid $60 each for a shot at gambling tables, regionally themed buffets and a parquet dance floor set up on the pavement just outside the tent.

Tom O'Connor, who co-chaired the event with his wife, Eileen, said he didn't have a gambling bone in his body. As for the pale-pink cummerbund, bow tie and pocket square he wore, a blushing O'Connor explained: "My wife put me into this stuff."

Norman Freestone, the Associates' president, was also appointed in pink, which he attributed to his wife, Dora. "She's the one who chose this," he said, pointing to his rose-colored bow tie and matching silk cummerbund. "You take one look and you know that ."

Guests were greeted at the entrance to the tent by Dolly and Art Briggs, who pointed the way to the raffle-ticket table. "We butter 'em up first," joked Dolly.

Inside, the perimeter of the tent was lined with buffet tables, offering selections that included crab profiteroles and shrimp empanadas (at the Caribbean food station); dim sum and roast pork (China); duck pate, blinis and apricot Brie en crout (France), and crepes suzette, fresh fruit and cheesecake (Vegas).

The Caribbean table was the culinary hit of the night, with the longest line at dinner time. Among those stocking their plates with spicy savories were Gary and Nancy Hultman of Laguna Niguel, who came to the benefit with friends George and Rose Wollinger.

Velma Brittain picked her way along the French-food line, while Jean Rearden, a hospital executive and member of the associates, scanned the Vegas desserts. Rearden--one of the more formally attired, in a black chiffon dress with beaded bodice--said she was dining with friends Ruth and Al Hally and Sue Steel.

Committee members were Meryl Bonney, Lillian Bynum, Tasile Carter, Mary Hugar, Betty and Oliver Kolstoe, Nell and Joseph Laschober, Carol and Rex Perkins, Gloria Smolinsky, Edna and Nick Ugrin, Skip and Johnnie Vance, and Ethel and Frank Vavroch.

Art for Everyone's Sake: A group raising money to open a performing arts academy in Orange County held its first fund-raiser last Friday at the Hyatt Newporter in Newport Beach.

Opus One kicked to life with a dinner-dance and silent auction attended by 115 guests at $50 each, raising estimated net proceeds of $5,000, according to Douglas Thompson, founder of the arts group.

Thompson, a Huntington Beach resident, said he envisions an academy that offers "first-class rehearsal and performance space" for local arts groups. He said he and his administrative and advisory board members are also planning to offer educational programs to residents of all ages. Programs for school-age children are a priority "because of the great need created by recent (school) budget cuts," he said.

If all goes as planned, Thompson said, the Opus One academy will open by the end of the year. Thompson's fund-raising goal is $100,000. He said he is in negotiations now for space in existing buildings, although he hopes the group will ultimately be able to build its own headquarters.

"An Evening of Swing" began with cocktails and a silent auction outside the hotel ballroom. Guests bid on arts-related items--such as a piano, theater and concert tickets, paintings by local artists and hand-crafted jewelry--then proceeded into the ballroom for dinner and dancing to jazz and swing tunes played by the Riffs.

Among those attending the benefit were Mike Bower, Ronnie Brown, Stan Brunner, Kathleen Cortesa, Don Hawkins, Bill Nelson, Charles Rutherford and David Weston III.

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