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BENEFITS O.C.

Dressing Young : Masquerade Ball Benefits Under-40 Groups of an Orchestra, Theater, Museum and Center

November 03, 1998|KATHRYN BOLD

The event: Masquerade Ball for the Arts, a classy costume gala for Orange County's young professionals, held after hours Saturday at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach. The ball benefited four arts organizations: the museum, Pacific Symphony, South Coast Repertory and the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Unmasking Gen-X: The 400 up-and-comers in their 20s and 30s showed they like to play dress-up. Given a choice of costume or black-tie attire, most opted for evening wear with elegant feathered masks. Several women sported lavish ball gowns, including one Marie Antoinette with towering wig.

Guests wandered the galleries, enjoyed hors d'oeuvres in the sculpture garden and learned to swing dance to the Rumble King band.

Patronizing the arts: The gala was designed to encourage arts awareness in the younger set and to drum up membership in the four participating organizations, each of which has a support group for the under-40 set: SCR's Ovation Club, the museum's Contemporaries, the center's West Side Story Chapter of the Guilds and the orchestra's Classical Raves.

"Pulling together an event like this shows we're serious about the arts," said Jennifer Higby, honorary chairwoman.

Trustees from the arts groups decided to combine their efforts to attract a younger audience. "This fills a vacuum. It will help develop tomorrow's leaders," said Bobbi Dauderman, an SCR board member whose 28-year-old son, Nick, chaired the ball.

Quote: "One of the scary things about going to a museum or a theater is that you see an older audience that's not as hip," Nick Dauderman said. "We're trying to promote the idea that there's a lot of young, hip people interested in the arts."

Bottom line: The gala was expected to net $5,000 for the four programs for young professionals.

Faces: John Forsyte; Billy Lyon; Anton Segerstrom; Elizabeth Bader; Jerry Dauderman; Darrell and Marsha Anderson; David Emmes; Douglas and Lynn Freeman; Larry and Dee Higby; and Marc DiDomenico.

What's ahead: South Coast Repertory's Ovation Club will stage a pre-show party for Moliere's "Tartuffe" Jan. 21. For details, call (714) 708-5555. For information about the other arts groups, call (714) 556-2122, Ext. 546.

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