The Crowd: Bravo to Sharon McNalley and son

April 25, 2012|By B.W. Cook
  • FAMILY SUPPORT: Bruce Larson, Marena Larson, Nicole Larson, Joe McNalley and Jack Larson.
FAMILY SUPPORT: Bruce Larson, Marena Larson, Nicole… (Daily Pilot )

There are few people in Orange County who care more and work harder for the cultural enrichment of the community than Corona del Mar's Sharon McNalley.

The diminutive woman, with snow white hair and a velvety-soft speaking tone, belies the real strength of purpose that she exemplifies: the promotion of a musical organization known as the Hutchins Consort.

It is a matter of cultural as well as intellectual pride. And it is a family affair.

Sharon's son, Joe McNalley, leads the musical ensemble made up of eight acoustically matched violins. The consort takes its name from the late Carleen Hutchins, an internationally respected luthier. Some of Hutchins' octets are in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Performing its inaugural concert in Orange County at the Irvine Barclay Theatre in the year 2000, Joe McNalley and his troupe have perfected their unique performance style for the past 12 years with concerts at local, national and international venues. They do so with the behind-the-scenes support of mother Sharon McNalley and a cadre of high-minded musical devotees who believe in the Consort and its highly creative and unusual style.


On Sunday night in Newport Beach, the Hutchins Consort fronted a dinner and performance at the Pacific Club that was both fundraiser and salon gathering.

Called for four in the afternoon, the gala committee, led by chairwoman Kathryn Smith with support from co-chairwoman Rosita Brown, welcomed the crowd to a massive silent auction cocktail reception. Committee members bringing together the generous donations from local business leaders and Hutchins Consort donors included Susan Beechner, Sabra Bordas, Bobbitt Williams, Barbara Woods, Betty and David Comgys, Ruth Ann and Robert Burns, Shell Grossman and Jan Landstrom.

Also working to raise the financial bar were Nella O'Grady, Alma Vanasse, Marilyn Stevens, Denny Scholz, Sharon Morrison, Sharon and Harvey Fair and Karen Cornell. Many, if not all of these individuals, are found on the rosters of the O.C.'s cultural elite. To clarify, not cultural elitist, but rather elite.

They exemplify people who support cultural pursuit, in this case the Hutchins Consort, because they deeply believe in the importance of classically trained musicians and performers securing their place in the present and future cultural landscape.

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