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BEHIND THE SCENES / Orange County

Highs in the 20s

Pacific Symphony gets Classical Raves for its newest subscription series. The discounted concerts and related activities target young adults.

January 01, 1998

Ask young adults why they're not orchestra subscribers, and they may say something like this:

* "It's for old people."

* "I don't have the cash."

* "I can't plan that far in advance."

* "It's not my idea of fun."

The Pacific Symphony has added an "OK, but . . ." response to any of those reasons with Classical Raves, a discounted subscription series for people 20 to 29.

The group meets in the ersatz living room at the Lab, a mall in Costa Mesa, before each performance. They drink coffee, discuss the work they're about to hear and do whatever cool thing comes up, such as getting henna tattoos.

Then they caravan north on Bristol Street to the Orange County Performing Arts Center, where they sit together in orchestra or first-tier seating.

Dan Chueh of Sunset Beach is a subscriber.

"When you talk about going to the symphony, you sound so dry to most people," he said before attending a Tchaikovsky piano concert in late November. "In Orange County, the interest in the arts is low. I go to a lot of plays, and the average age is 50."

Chueh, 29, is a psychiatrist and is on the board of trustees of Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. "People say that young people don't want to buy season tickets because they can't plan that far in advance, but I encourage my friends to go, and I'm making more of an effort."

And what does he think of Classical Raves? So far so good.

"I hate going to concerts by myself, and it's hard to find people who want to go to the symphony, so it gives me a chance to meet others who are interested in the arts," he said.

The cost for a subscription to the orchestra's '97-98 season is $15 per concert based on the series.

Upcoming concerts are Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody, Feb. 5; Glazunov's Violin Concert with violinist Gil Shaham, March 5; Tchaikovsky's Fifth, April 16; and Mahler's Fifth performed with baritone Thomas Hampson, June 4.

For information, call (714) 755-5799.

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