When in Rome Gala – Review


Rome at Home
May 2016

Santa Barbara Choral Society hit a high note at the Rockwood Woman’s Club with its annual fundraiser, When in Rome.

The Italian themed sold-out bash for a record 190 guests, which raised around $50,000 for the popular vocal group, was most appropriate as the choir launches its two-week performance tour of Italy, including Florence, Pisa, Milan, Rome and Naples, on June 14.


The gala, co-chaired by Mary Dan Eades, Kate Rees, and Marylove Thralls, featured veteran director JoAnne Wasserman conducting piec- es from the forthcoming tour, including the world premiere of a choral version of “Santa Barbara,” a piece composed in 1980 by Jeanette Vacca, sister of local artist Mara Abboud, who flew in from Boston with her family for the occasion.

After noshing on a buffet dinner of risotto, lasagna, and gelato by eatery Via Maestra 42, the ubiquitous Andrew Firestone showed off his abundant auction skills with trips to Provence, Tuscany, Hawaii, and New York among the lots, while choir treasurer, Jim Robbins, emceed.

Among the music lovers attending were Brooks and Kate Firestone, Ralph and Diana MacFarlane, Eric and Nina Phillips, Stefan and Christie Riesenfeld, Pat and Ursula Nesbitt, Dan and Mary Secord, Peter and Deborah Bertling, Geonine Moriarty, Ivana Firestone, Gene Sinser, Dolly Granatelli, Arlene Montesano, and Barbara Burger.