2019 Gala: Paris Is Always A Good Idea


Berets abounded and everyone was getting an Ei-ffel when Santa Barbara Choral Society hosted its annual gala Springtime in Paris at the Rockwood Woman’s Club. The fun French-themed fête, co-chaired by president Karen Williams and Debra Stewart, attracted 120 guests and raised $60,000 for the popular group.

Before dinner, catered by Via Maestra 42, veteran artistic director Jo Anne Wasserman, with David Potter at piano, conducted Le Grand Concert de la Musique, featuring section leaders, including baritone Tyler Reece singing Reynaldo Hahn’s A Chloris, soprano Naomi Merer with Du Gai Soleil from Jules Massenet’s Werther, and mezzo soprano Kelly Guerra with a spirited Habenera from Georges Bizet’s Carmen.

Chorus member Brooks Firestone conducted the auction, which suitably enough, included a vacation in Paris, a seven-day trip to Mexico, and the chance to pick up the baton and conduct the choir in Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus at the Lobero in December.

Among the melee of musical mavens, dancing to the music of the Idiomatiques, were Todd and Allyson Aldrich, Diane Dodds Reichert, Kostis Protopapas, Stefan and Christine Riesenfeld, Marylove Thralls, Val Noronha, Patricia Gregory, Kate Firestone, Bart Francis, Norris Goss, Tom LePlay, Kate Rees, Margo Callis, Brian and Giselle McDermott, and Joann Younger.


(Back row) Brooks Firestone, Gisele McDermott, Bob Lally, John Cochrane, (front row) Mary Cochrane, Brian McDermott, Kate Firestone, and Tom LePley (photo by Priscilla)


Santa Barbara Choral Society gala committee: Val Noronha, Kate Rees, Karen Williams, Debra Stewart, Margo Callis, and Bart Francis (photo by Priscilla)

Bidders and winners Cindy and Sid Anderson, Margo Callis, and John Cochrane (photo by Priscilla)