Love was in the air when the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) honored the generosity of long-term supporters Jennifer and Royce Diener of Santa Monica. Also honored were Santa Fe, N.M. residents David K. and Kay Duke Ingalls. The Ingalls currently serve on LACO's newly established Emeritus Board of Directors. Both couples starred in LACO's annual gala on Saturday (Feb. 2) at the California Club in downtown Los Angeles.
"Taking a Chance on Love," the theme of the gala, was a nod to the era of George Gershwin and Ballets Russes composer Vladimir Dukelsky, better known as Vernon Duke. His music is part of the Great American Songbook. Duke is Ingalls' late husband.
After a champagne reception, a pre-dinner concert featured musical tributes by LACO Music Director Jeffrey Kahane and LACO artists.Following the 45-minute concert, specialty period cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were accompanied by live and silent auctions, dinner and dancing.A favorite live-auction item promoted by auctioneer Grant Snyder was dinner for eight prepared in the winning bidder's home by chef Alain Giraud of Mason Giraud.
The package also included a performance by LACO musicians. As if that wasn't enough, also tossed in was a print of an original drawing of Beethoven by American artist John Van Hamersveld.The gala was chaired by Pasadena residents Carol and Warner Henry.
Gala committee members were LACO Board President K. Eugene Shutler, Clare Baren, Ruth L. Eliel, Sharon Hauptman, Maia Jasper, Heidi Laff, Ann Moore Mulally, Linda Rosen, Peekie Schaefer and Josephina Vergara.
The evening's proceeds will benefit LACO's concert series, radio broadcasts and community engagement programs.
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is considered one of the world's premier chamber orchestras. Its 2012-13 season is the orchestra's 44th. Locally, LACO musicians regularly perform at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.
Pasadena Playhouse "angels" Mike Stoller and Corky Hale Stoller were honored on Sunday (Feb. 3) at a special donors' reception in the Playhouse library.
The reception was held just before the sold-out opening night of Noel Coward's comedy "Fallen Angels."
The angel Stollers were anything but "fallen." They were the anonymous $1-million donors to the Playhouse during its "intermission" for most of 2010. The depressed economy and long-standing debts had forced the Playhouse to cease operations after 93 years. Once the Stollers came to the rescue the show(s) went on. There is even a possibility of reviving the renowned Playhouse acting school.
"The acting school was wonderful," said Corky, who is considering the possibility of a future donation earmarked for actor training.
Present at the reception was actress-singer Jo Anne Worley who had been a student at the Playhouse's acting school. She was accompanied by Todd Sherry of Los Angeles.
As co-writer and co-producer, Mike Stoller teamed with his late partner Jerry Leiber and turned out dozens of pop-soul musical hits of the 1950s and 1960s. The team's biggest pop-soul classic is "Stand By Me," originally sung by Ben E. King in 1961. But it was Elvis Presley who made famous more than 20 Leiber & Stoller songs, including "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock."
Corky Hale Stoller is the multitalented pianist and harpist who has accompanied and arranged for many well-known musicians. One of her claims to fame is performing with singer Tony Bennett.
Also present at the reception was Artistic Director of the Playhouse, Sheldon Epps. Said Epps, "Mike and Corky's tremendous gift to the Playhouse has incredible meaning to me in profound personal and professional ways."
--RUTH SOWBY may be reached at email@example.com.