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Todos, We're Not in Kansas Anymore

R S V P / ORANGE COUNTY

The St. Joseph support group creates a 'long-ago Colonial' Christmas for more than 150 guests as they partake in a dinner and auction benefit.

December 18, 1996|KATHRYN BOLD

A festive Colonial house and a gentleman in a brocade jacket and white wig helped create a Williamsburg Christmas for more than 150 guests at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Tennis Club last week. The $125-per-person dinner and silent auction staged by Todos--a support group of St. Joseph Hospital--was expected to net more than $16,000 for the hospital's Emergency Care Center, which opened in Orange in November.

Christmas in the Colony

The gala decor, music and menu reflected "long-ago Colonial America in the town of Williamsburg, Va.," said Rosalind Ostermiller, event chairwoman.

In the hotel ballroom, a snow-covered walkway lined with street lanterns led to a replica of a Colonial-style manor house built for the soiree by four members of Todos: Michael Conkey, Dave Prusch, John Martelli and Chad Richter.

"It took us a few weeks of sawing and painting. We looked at pictures of Williamsburg houses to come up with the design," said Conkey, who is president of Todos. "We wanted to add a second story, but it wouldn't fit."

Guests were greeted by a cheery Lynn Muth dressed in full Colonial garb.

"Greetings and welcome to Williamsburg. Make merry," said Muth, who was accompanied by his wife, Heidi, and parents Peter and Mary Muth.

True to Tradition

Guests sat at tables decorated simply with hurricane lanterns, berries and greenery.

"We wanted traditional centerpieces. In Colonial times they used fruit, pine cones--whatever was indigenous," Ostermiller explained.

Revelers enjoyed a feast that included a white bean soup with tomato and sage en croute, followed by a salad of assorted greens with dried fruits. The main course was sliced beef tenderloin with fennel mustard seed sauce and chicken breast with apple almond filling. Throughout the evening, guests were entertained with period music performed by Allegro Vivaci, a harpsichord soloist and flutist duo and the American Heritage fife and drum ensemble.

Todos, which means "everyone" in Spanish, is a 220-member support group of St. Joseph that has made a five-year, $500,000 pledge to the hospital's Emergency Care Center.

"We went from [an emergency room] with 12 to 16 beds to a center with 53 beds," said Dr. James Pierog, medical director of St. Joseph's Emergency Medical Services.

"The place is gorgeous. An emergency room should be light, airy, clean, with good food--which is what we tried to do."

Others attending were: William Ostermiller, Artie Killen, George and Kate Reeves, Bob and Sylvia Sunshine, Charlie and Milly Kovac, Bob and Phyllis Fiorentino, Pat and Betty Kelly and David and Debbie Johnston.

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