Making Waves

By Richard Mineards   |   July 2, 2018
The melodious entertainers: mezzo soprano Danielle Marcelle Bond, soprano Deborah Bertlling with pianist Renee Hamaty (photo by Priscilla)
The future 14th Grand Master in training at Enshur School of Tea is Masa with his sister, Aki, and hostess Hiroko Benko (photo by Priscilla)
Danielle captivating her audience with Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix from Samson and Deliah (photo by Priscilla)

It was a case of High Cs on the high seas when bubbly Condor Express owner Hiroko Benko hosted her fourth annual two-hour opera cruise on the popular whale-watching vessel.

The sell-out floating fest had 127 guests, with Hiroko putting it down to the growing popularity of opera and the need to get out on the cooling waves away from the hot, humid weather on land.

Soprano Deborah Bertling and mezzo soprano Danielle Marcelle Bond, accompanied by pianist Renee Hamaty, sang a selection of works from Mozart, Lloyd Webber, Schwartz, Delibes, Saint-Saens, Humperdinck, and Cole Porter as the 75-ft. vessel cruised the Santa Barbara coastline.

Among the opera lovers on board were David and Anne Gersh, Barbara Burger and Paul Munch, Tom and Eileen Mileko, Susan Keller, Sandy Robertson, Howard J. Smith, Mark Whitehurst, and Kerry Methner.

Aboard the Condor’s Opera Cruise and at the galley for dinner appetizers are Una and Stan McKnight (photo by Priscilla)
Joyce and Dick Axilrod enjoying the cruise (photo by Priscilla)
More gourmand delights served by Captian Tasha to Britt Iliff and Gerhart Hoffmeister, professor emeritus UCSB (photo by Priscilla)

Close Calls out of Control

Inveterate car and art collector Michael Hammer is a very lucky man!

The Montecito philanthropist has survived two life-threatening incidents in as many weeks and is expecting another possible situation in due course, given “these things happen in threes.”

Last month, Michael, 62, and his wife, Misty, participated in the Boys & Girls Club rally in his 1954 Lincoln race car and took a wrong turn, going over a steep embankment.

“Had we missed our land spot, we’ve have gone down another fifteen feet into the creek and probably wouldn’t survived. I chuckled to my navigator, ‘This one’s going to hurt.'”

Fortunately, Michael was able to restart the car and, with assistance, get out of his scary predicament.

Just days later, Michael was on State Street when as he describes it, “Some lunatic from Orange County” aimed a Glock 45 revolver at his head.

“I was just returning from my doctor having had a number of injections. I was only able to walk with a cane.

“The perp was waving his gun, shaking like a leaf. Pedestrians nearby were at risk. I think he was surprised I didn’t back down.”

The would-be shooter, Christopher Blair, 34, an Orange County bodyguard, was arrested and hauled off to jail on $50,000 bail.


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