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Moving, Music Build Hope House

May 20, 1997|KATHRYN BOLD

The event: Bach Bay Classic, a half marathon and 8-kilometer race that featured classical musicians serenading runners as they tackled the course at Newport Beach's Back Bay. Sunday's race benefited Hope House, a residential substance abuse program in Anaheim.

Music appreciation: Dressed in traditional black concert garb and situated along the roadside in fold-out chairs, classical quartets and trios performed works by Bach, Beethoven and others while more than 2,000 runners panted by. The performance struck a chord with runners: Some applauded the musicians; some gave them a quick thumbs up, and there was at least one request--for "Free Bird."

Bach sighting: Cal State Fullerton runner Steve Frisone had more reason to sweat than other 8K participants. As designated mystery runner, he portrayed Johann Sebastian Bach and ran the race in a powdered wig. Runners who beat Frisone were promised $500 each, and there were two: First-place winner Ruben Garcia of Mexico City and Wilhelm Gidabuday of Riverside (formerly of Tanzania). Gus Quinonez of Rossmoor won the half marathon.

Working in harmony: Among the volunteers helping to stage the race were about 40 current residents of Hope House, who did everything from setting up the course to carrying water for runners.

"This is an opportunity for our clients to work and give back to the agency," said Marc Corradini, executive director of Hope House. "They do the heavy work, including picking up 18,000 cups off the street. It's a healthy environment for them to be in."

Reason to believe: Marty Bales, who has been drug-free for three years since graduating from Hope House, lent a hand. "I've done it every year," said the 36-year old Placentia resident. "Hope House has allowed me to start a new life. They helped me discover that I'm worth saving. I grew up in that house."

Faces: Don Gillman, the Hope House board member who proposed the first combined marathon and classical concert six years ago after attending a similar race in Canada; Leslie Kretzu, a volunteer counselor at Hope House who entertained on a baby grand; Chris Koerner, board president, and his wife, Shirley; Cathy Stills, clinical director; Nathan Tracy; Christi Gordon; Scott and Nanette Muirhead; and Stevette Shinkle.

Bottom line: The $25-per-person race was expected to net $20,000 for Hope House. Proceeds will go to provide long-term residential drug and alcohol treatment at the 40-bed facility.

Quote: "We provide services regardless of a person's ability to pay," Corradini said. "A private hospital would charge as much as $1,500 a bed per day."

What's ahead: Hope House helps other agencies stage races throughout the year as a way to raise money for its treatment program. For upcoming races call: (714) 776-7490.

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