Not Toi-ng Around

By Richard Mineards   |   May 7, 2024
JoAnne Wasserman leading the event (photo by Priscilla)

Supporters of Santa Barbara Choral Society were clearly in the right aria when the popular 76-year-old choir hosted Toi, Toi, Toi, an evening of operatic enchantment at the Rockwood Woman’s Club with 110 guests, many in Tosca attire, raising around $70,000 during the sunset soirée.

Sponsor American Riviera Bank’s Jeff Devine and wife Josie with Laura and Craig Sabraw (photo by Priscilla)

After cocktails on the terrace, followed by a musical toast in the La Traviata ballroom, the talented singers under veteran conductor JoAnne Wasserman, with emcees Jim Robbins and Kathleen Stinnett accompanied by collaborative pianist Mi-Young Kim, sang from works by Verdi, Camille Saint- Saëns’ Samson and Delilah sung by mezzo-soprano Christina Pezzarossi, Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Pezzarossi and baritone Matt Peterson, who also sang from Rossini’s Barber of Seville, with Peterson closing the concert with an aria from Bizet’s Carmen.

Andrew Sandahl performed a flamenco guitar solo before a three-minute video tribute by Marylove Thralls and Lucas Eskin to the late Metropolitan Opera tenor Eduardo Villa, longtime friend of the choral society, who died last year.

The live auction, conducted by Robbins, included a private studio tour and lunch with film composer James Newton Howard, a week’s stay in Maui, Hawaii, and Cancun or Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a long weekend in New York with balcony seats at the Met, an Abbey Road studio tour in London, and the chance to conduct Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus at the Lobero at the society’s Hallelujah Project 10 concert in December.

Among the heavenly horde turning out and dancing to the Idiomatiques, were event Chair Margo Callis, Brooks and Kate Firestone, Anne Luther, Debra Stewart, Robert Weinman, Jeff and Josie DeVine, James and Erin Graffy de Garcia, Jim and Wendy Kaiser, and Rachida and Kate Rees.

An evening of high note…

Margo Callis, Roxanne and Kevin Sullivan with Erica, Ray and Am Di Bartolomeo, and Debra Stewart of the Choral Society (photo by Priscilla)

You might also be interested in...