Images of Morocco transformed the Hyatt Regency Irvine hotel for the recent Pacific Symphony 2011 gala themed "Casablanca." In the spirit of Bogart and Bergman, it was a night of mystery and romance for some 300 symphony patrons dressed to kill for the 1940s-themed event, which raised an astounding $1 million for the Pacific Symphony.
Chairing the magnificent party were symphony supporters Jim Driscoll and Betty Huang. Serving as the entertainment chairwoman of the night, Huang helped to create a stunning Moroccan theme, including belly dancers, snake charmers, an entertaining monkey and camel, and a ballroom draped in red and gold glamour.
Dinner was prepared by Hyatt's executive chef, Greg Grohowski, featuring an entrée of filet paired with king crab accompanied by asparagus, morel mushroom risotto and followed by an exciting baked Alaska dessert delivered tableside flambé.
O.C. philanthropist John Tu, from Kingston Technology, generously donated the services of his orchestra JT and California Dreamin'. A major silent and live auction helped to raise the bar to the $1-million mark with donations coming from bidders, including Jane and Richard Taylor, Sandy and John Daniels, Ruth and David Seigle, Marjorie and Martin Hubbard, and Michelle and David Horowitz. Additional support came from music aficionados Mary and Phil Lyons, Vivian and Jim McCluney, Karen and Mike Carroll, and Geni and Mike Nilsson.