By Meredith Grenier, The Daily Breeze
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Members of the Peninsula Committee for the L.A. Philharmonic have raised the bar on food and wine tastings exponentially. For starters, they invited the area’s premier restaurants to participate in their recent Grand Salon fundraiser. Add to this their venue — the exquisite seaside estate of Carolyn and Julian Elliott, who have opened their home to the benefit for the past 10 years.
Throw in an elegant silent auction, chaired by Ann Marinovich, offering goodies such as a seven-night stay in Schull Harbour, West Cork, Ireland, donated by Marinovich and her husband, Larry, or an intimate Spanish dinner for 10 at the home of Ed DeRenzis and Nancy Siskowic and donated by the DeRenzis and Van and Diana Honeycutt.
But the icing on the cake was a performance by two popular members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in the Elliotts’ living room, featuring high ceilings, a crystal chandelier, grand piano, sweeping ocean vistas and seating for about 150 guests.
The Grand Salon committee, led by co-chairs Claudia Grzywacz and Marian Hall, thought of every detail to enhance the experience. Witness the instrumental serenade as guests arrived and throughout the evening by Amuse Guitar Quartet members Ashanti Dykes, Ryan Samani, Daisy Gantner and Bijan Afshar, as well as the Palos Verdes High School String Trio — Marcus Chang, Jamie Chung and Laura Gong.
But there were other fun perks, too, such as the hard-working bartenders. How often are you waited upon by some of the Peninsula’s most successful individuals, including top corporate executives and a prominent cardiologist. These included Dave Jones, Jack McDonald, Jann Feldman, Debby McDonald, Thomas Grzywacz, Dana Takeuchi, Mike Del Vicario, Van Honeycutt, Larry Marinovich, Alan Frew, James De Flon, Tom Paulsen and Tom Connaghan. (It was no coincidence that most of the male bartenders were spouses of committee members.)
Then there were the individual greeters — Claudia Grzywcvz, Marian Hall, committee PCLAP President Paula Del Vicario, Alicia Maniatakis, Sue Frew and Shirley Farley — who set the stage for an elegant evening while Debby McDonald, Jann Feldman, Virginia Butler and Tammy Kolodny offered champagne on silver platters.
Prior to the evening’s musical program, Paula Del Vicario gave a “heartfelt thanks” to benefactors and donors as well as the evening’s restaurant sponsors, such as Chez Melange, Mar’sel at Terranea Resort, Palos Verdes Golf Club and seven others.
Next, Claudia Grzywcvz awarded the Elliotts with a plaque commemorating the couple’s 10 years of hosting the event. “You are an inspiration to us all,” Grzywcvz said to thunderous applause.
With Mike Del Vicario’s wife serving her second term as president, the doctor has a first-hand perspective of the group’s mission.
“This is a really fun group,” he said. “These guys do it for the love of music, and they are very committed to the orchestra and passionate about the community and children’s education.”