The Master Chorale of Orange County tossed a late-night party after Saturday's "Christmas for the Family" concert at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. About 200 friends of the ensemble gathered at the Garden Bistro restaurant in South Coast Plaza's Crystal Court for a lavish buffet and goblets of wine and wassail (hot cider). The $30-per-person event raised an estimated $2,000.
The beloved patriarch of this musical family is William Hall, the pink-cheeked, sparkle-eyed music director. Santa-like, Hall swooped into the party with good tidings--and a bear hug--for all.
"We're the Bill-ettes!" said Mary Jane Coleman, who squealed with delight when Hall came over with a welcome kiss.
"We're Bill Hall's professional entourage," joked Susan McKellar, who dined with Coleman and Betsy Critchfield.
Along the same lines--if somewhat more subdued--were the comments of Cherry Rhodes, a concert organist and professor at USC.
"I'm here because I'm a fan of William Hall," said Rhodes, who attended the concert and party with her husband, concert organist Ladd Thomas. "Bill is a wonderful musician, and he gives people a very good time as well as giving them great music. He's a very special performer. He has that gift."
The pickings were particularly good for a party that didn't even begin until almost 11 p.m. (Usually when a party starts that late, guests have to make do with carrot sticks or strawberries or sweets.) Garden Bistro laid a spread that included sauteed breast of chicken with wine sauce, \o7 quesadillas, \f7 smoked salmon, an assortment of finger sandwiches, muffins, fruit, crudites and cakes.
Among revelers were Jane and Philip Winsor, of Laguna Hills. (Philip, a radiologist, conducted the "Silent Night" sing-along that ended the program--an opportunity he bought in a live auction at a previous fund-raiser.) Also partying were soloist Deborah Winsor-Williams and her husband Nick Williams of Placentia; Barbara and Bob Johnson of Fullerton; Marina and John Dupuis of Laguna Niguel; Donna and Douglas Bunce of Santa Ana; and Mary Pew and Chris Galloway of San Juan Capistrano.
Asked if her father was nervous before taking command onstage in the Performing Arts Center, Deborah Winsor-Williams--a seasoned performer--laughed. "Are you kidding? My father is a ham," she said, grinning. "He eats it up."