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Music at Luncheon Was in Tune With Fashions

January 16, 1992|DAVID NELSON

SAN DIEGO — If there wasn't quite a harmonic convergence on the temporary stage erected Friday in Marriott Hall at the San Diego Marriott, there was at least an agreeable harmonizing among the members of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. The group had dutifully showed up to play for the annual "Symphony of Fashion" luncheon given for the performing arts group's benefit by the San Diego Symphony League.

Some higher power chose black-and-white costumes for the musicians--black skirts and white blouses for the women, and out-of-season white dinner jackets for the men--and posed them against a dramatic background of black hangings at one end of the cavernous ballroom, which also accommodated seating for about 500 Symphony supporters. In what has become a command reprise of a format introduced several years ago, the orchestra provided musical narration for the fashion show, a presentation of designer Eva Chun's spring collection. Saks Fifth Avenue/La Jolla sponsored the showing.

In a room that glowed faintly with the colors of pale orchids (potted, and flown in specially from Hawaii earlier in the week), the orchestra whirled through a program that opened with the overture to Dvorak's "First Sublime Dance." Since coffee arrived at many tables only as the opening bars were struck, the high-pitched tinkling of spoons striking the sides of cups added tinny obbligatos at unexpected moments.

The wonder of it all was that the event proceeded without the direction of a chairman. The name of Symphony League President Ruth Beamish appeared above the list of committee members, but she did not chair the benefit. Insiders said no one wished to accept the obligation. Committee spokeswoman Elaine Steidle said "the committee knew how to work together, and the results show it." It is certainly true that the committee was composed of veterans of the charity fund-raiser circuit, and the results did demonstrate this.

Although there was no titular chairman, "Symphony of Fashion" did boast a pair of honorary ones, Ellen Revelle and Rachel Grosvenor. The two women, who provided substantial financial assistance to the Symphony when it faced bankruptcy several years ago, were paid tribute by Symphony President Warren Kessler and introduced by Executive Director Wesley Brustad.

After assuring the audience that the organization today is on sound footing, Kessler praised the two honorary chairmen.

"The names of Ellen Revelle and Rachel Grosvenor are inextricably tied not only to the success but to the existence of the Symphony," he said, adding, "We can't thank them enough." A standing ovation followed.

In reflection of a growing trend to involve men, at least peripherally, in daytime fund-raisers, the committee recruited a squad of males and suited them in black tie to sell chances in a raffle that included a $1,000 cash prize, an Eva Chun outfit and other items.

Among the "Symphony Sirs," as the group was titled, were Chuck Allen, Judson Grosvenor, David Porter, Jack Morse, Dan Veale, Les Smith, Burt Trower, John Parrish, David Dorne and George Morgan.

While some guests still nibbled on the chocolate tenor saxophones that garnished the dessert, the Symphony opened the musical program and introduced the parade of models. There were moments when "The Flight of the Bumblebee" might have seemed the most suitable narration, particularly with a circular, armpit-to-knee "cage dress" that one observer mistook for a shower curtain, but the orchestra contented itself with the "Hungarian Rhapsody," the "Condo Loggia" and similar pieces. Chun's daring offerings, often polka-dotted and in some cases slit high on the thigh, did provoke occasional applause; at the end of the show, the designer hesitantly walked down the ramp between two lines of applauding models, blowing shy kisses to the audience.

Among committee members were Marion Allen, Roberta Hill, Mim Sally, Phyllis Kraus, June Barrymore, Maxine Trimble, Beth March, Sally Beacom, Marie Palmer, Mary Wayne, Joyce Quintana, Sally Fuller, Faith Gladkoff, Brenda Hayward, Dodie Rodgers, Phyllis Parrish and Juanita Rutemiller.

A large number of guests attended in the patron's category, including Merrilyn Arn, Marion Bateson, Linda Owen, Vivian Bradley, Mary Swanby, Betty Cooper, Florence Goss, Denice Lathrop, Mary Nohrden, Ann Ratner, Mary Smyk, Ralphine Greaves, Barbara Bloom, Nancy Hester, Francie Starr, Jane Lang, Dorothea Garfield, Barbara Hunter and Ingrid Van Moppes.

LA JOLLA--Pastry swans bowed their graceful, chocolate-drizzled necks beneath a prototype of the centerpiece for the upcoming Charity Ball at a tea for former chairmen given Monday by Nell Waltz, chair of the 83rd anniversary Charity Ball, "Let's Go Fly a Kite."

The event, given by the Children's Hospital and Health Center Foundation, will be held Feb. 1 at Hotel del Coronado.

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