COSTA MESA — Bonnie Hall was there when the cultural ground in Orange County shifted to the rousing sounds of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
On opening night, Sept. 29, 1986, the soprano and other members of the Pacific Chorale sang the vocal climax of the symphony's final movement. They and another O.C.-based chorale accompanied conductor Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a concert inaugurating the county's first world-class music and dance venue.
The Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa was born.
"It was a pretty proud moment for Orange County," said Hall, who later became founding executive director of Arts Orange County, a nonprofit arts advocacy group. "It was a significant symbol of Orange County's declaration of cultural independence from Los Angeles — at least in the performing arts — and it was a catalyst for O.C.-based organizations to aspire to a level of excellence."
OCPAC, which has since expanded and was recently renamed the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, is now preparing to officially commemorate its 25th anniversary on the weekend of Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.