Mainly Mozart Gala


The last time Mainly Mozart held its annual fundraising gala was on February 1, 2020. During that time the world changed for all of us. Gone was the live music played to live audiences; gone were the galas. So, too, were vacations and cruises, family celebrations, gatherings at restaurants with friends and colleagues. In came working at home, video conferencing, and live-streaming music.

In July 2020, Newsweek Magazine proclaimed Mainly Mozart “The first arts organization in the U.S. to bring live classical music back to live audiences since quarantine.” First, came drive-in concerts on a dirt parking lot; then socially distanced lawn concerts. Artists who had not performed in months rejoiced in sharing their music once again. San Diego audiences and musicians throughout the country wanted more.

Mainly Mozart has changed as an organization, challenged to juggle the changing circumstances of the past two years. Now instead of producing one June Festival each year, they have become a Festival of Orchestras, featuring leading principal players and concertmasters from the nation’s top orchestras in orchestral performance throughout the year. Since the fall of 2020, they have produced eight concert series to live audiences. Attendance surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Thanks to special government programs and to the generosity of individual donors, the organization has been able to continue bringing live classical music to San Diego throughout the pandemic years.

Perhaps most missing from our lives for the past two Covid years were a sense of beauty, order, and anticipation of sharing happy times with family and friends and community. Never has the restorative power of music been more needed.

This May 7, after two years without its largest fundraiser, Mainly Mozart brings back The Gala. Raffaella and John Belanich are Lead Sponsors. Ron McMillan and Rhianna White chair the event at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine. The black-tie-optional evening begins with a champagne reception and silent auction outdoors, followed indoors by a seated dinner and live auction, then a concert featuring artists of the Mainly Mozart All-Star Orchestra. The evening concludes with a dessert reception with surprise entertainment.

The 2022 Gala honors the memory of Richard Esgate, former Mainly Mozart Board Member. The names of Richard and Arlene Esgate are well known to countless charities throughout San Diego, and they served several times as chairs of the Mainly Mozart Gala. To support this tribute, Honorary Chairs Michael and Jacquie Casey head up an Honorary Committee including Arlene Esgate, Micki Olin & Reid Abrams, Vicki & Chris Eddy, Carol Towne & Gayland Smith, Ludvina & Sonny Nevarez, Ellen & T.K. Bryson, Mary Ann & Ed Bosanac, and Christy Billings & John Vance.

For additional information on Sponsorship, VIP Tables, current Covid-19 policy, and ticket purchases, visit

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Esteban Villanueva