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R S V P / ORANGE COUNTY : A Century Flies By : Students Race 'From Hip-Hop to Barbershop' to Benefit Chapman University

November 07, 1995|KATHRYN BOLD

Performing arts students from Chapman University condensed a century of music and dance into a 45-minute multimedia show when the school staged its 14th annual American Celebration.

"From Hip-Hop to Barbershop" was the theme of the production, in which students celebrated the best-loved songs and dances of the 20th Century before a crowd of about 650 guests at the Anaheim Marriott on Saturday. The $250-per-person gala netted about $230,000 for the private university in Orange.

Eight Seconds of Fame

As in years past, Chapman students, faculty and alumni showed off their talents by producing and directing the entire show, including costumes, choreography, lighting and set design. Still, this show was different. "We're not honoring any one entity, like Disney or last year's Salute to MGM Studios," said Ron Thronson, producing director. "This show is a little more lighthearted. We're dealing with 100 years of music. We're giving everyone eight seconds."

The 55 students sang and danced their way through the decades, performing a medley of favorite songs from "The Charleston" to Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation."

Chapman president Jim Doti was a surprise star of the show. In a video, he played a Chapman football player able to fell his opponents by merely running in their direction.

Thanks to high-tech trickery, Doti appeared to walk off the video onto the stage wearing a letterman's jacket. There, he phoned Chapman athletic director Dave Currey to see how the real Chapman football team was faring against Azusa Pacific (it was winning, 24-0; final score: 45-9).

The audience gave the production favorable reviews: "In my view, this is as good as any professional show," said Phyllis Rodgers, who co-chaired the event with her husband, Barry.

Red, White and Blue

In a tribute to the barbershop and American Celebration themes, party planners decorated the tables with red, white and blue barbershop poles. Guests dined on medallions of pheasant, lamb chop and beef tenderloin followed by a dessert of Swiss praline with chocolate sauce or apple tart.

Proceeds from the gala will go to the Chapman Annual Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to students, and to the university's School of Communication Arts.

Not all of Chapman's strongest supporters are alumni. Richard and Hyla Bertea, who recently established a chair in Chapman's school of music, have been longtime supporters even though they never attended the school.

"When I first came to Orange County, Chapman was the only private institution of higher learning," Richard Bertea said. "It was small enough where a person could make a difference."

Other guests were William Hall, the show's musical director and dean of Chapman's School of Music, Zee Allred, Clement and Lynn Hirsch, Harry and Lynn Rinker, Ed and Bea Buster, Julian and Gloria Peterson, Dick and Sally McDowell, Don and Dee Dee Sodaro, Roger and Kathy Hobbs, Philip Case, Doy and Dee Henley, Russ and Sue Leatherby, Joann Leatherby and Dennis and Mary Lou Savage.

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