Heeeere’s the Philharmonic
B.W. Cook
February 28, 2004

The original article was published by
The Daily Pilot.

The 50th anniversary celebration of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County attracted some 350 guests that were dressed to kill and ready to celebrate a spectacular golden anniversary of providing music to the community.

As Art Deco and his Society Orchestra brought the party to life at the Montage Resort and Spa in Laguna Beach, the Newport-Mesa crowd converged in style led by arts ambassador-at-large Henry Segerstrom and his bride, Elizabeth, attired in a most chic pink gown with pink-dyed fur wrap. Hollywood was brought into the picture as television host and spokesman Ed McMahon served as master of ceremonies for the evening.

Chaired by the dynamic Annie Foster Freedland, the recent Orange County transplant from Beverly Hills was showing off her glamorous figure in a red gown accented by four strands of pearls clasped with a diamond brooch. Freedland held court with the Newport-Mesa stars, including Mary Kay Vander Molen, Sabra Bordas and Bobbitt Williams. All three ladies have devoted countless hours and countless dollars of support to the Philharmonic Society. Also participating in making the evening a major success were Corona del Mar’s Sharon McNalley, Pat Carr and Judith Jelinek.

An auction, which was created by the ladies of the Philharmonic with McMahon leading the charge to raise funds, brought in $41,000, adding to the evening’s proceeds that are expected to top the $100,000 mark. The big item up for bid was a trip to Asia donated by Cathay Pacific Airlines, the Intercontinental Hong Kong Hotel and the Four Seasons Hotel, Shanghai, China. The trip brought in a top bid of $10,000 with funds benefiting the Philharmonic Society.

Created in 1954, the Philharmonic Society has brought many of the world’s finest orchestras to Orange County. The society has produced concerts in the Orange County Performing Arts Center, and it has produced concerts on gymnasium bleachers. The mantra has been to “ensure the legacy of our cultural heritage for our children and our children’s children,” said Lucinda Prewitt of the Philharmonic Society’s administrative staff. In addition to the many orchestras sponsored by the Philharmonic Society, world-renowned artists have performed for Orange County audiences. Some of the greats included Sir Georg Solti, Itzak Perlman, Jacqueline du Pre, Daniel Barenboim, Lorin Maazel, Cecilia Bartoli, to name just a few. Other Newport-Mesa volunteers spotted in the crowd were Arden Dombrowski, Marge Gates, Jenny Gerard and Christal Schar.

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