The Crowd: Having a ball at the Christmas Carol Ball

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It was arguably the most anticipated Christmas ball of the season. Hoag Hospital Foundation welcomed upward of 650 guests to the 50th annual Christmas Carol Ball, held at the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point. An impressive $1.5 million was raised for the vital community healthcare resource.

Chaired by Karen Linden andCindy Stokke, this golden anniversary holiday spectacular brought the total dollars raised to date by the Hoag Promise Campaign to $428 million — which is helping the Hoag Hospital Foundation meet its 2020 goal of $627 million.

Helping to make this lofty pursuit a reality are many of the O.C.'s most seriously philanthropic citizens, among them Debbie and Jeff Margolis, Scott Pollard, Josephine Herbert Gleis, Kyle Wescoat, Sandi andRon Simon, Steven A. Silverstein, Larry Felix, Trish andMike Berchtold, Maria and Al Bubion, and Viki andJames Coufos.

The glittering crowd in their holiday finery sat down to a lavish dinner created by executive chef Collin Thornton. In cherished tradition, Hoag super-advocate Nora Jorgenson Johnson, wife of the late physician Jim Johnson, led the dining room in an opening prayer followed by a chorus of “Jingle Bells.”

Guests were up out of their seats and on the massive dance floor as a show titled “Dancing Through The Decades” was delivered by dance band NRG. Front and center for Hoag were many of the O.C.'s most prominent doctors, including Dr. Richard andSally Afable, Dr. James Caillouette and Gabrielle White, Dr. Paul andEllen Lee, Dr. Michael and Toria Brant-Zawadzki, Dr. Danni Sun, Dr. Mark and Tawnio Olson, Dr. Alan and Lesley Byer, Dr. Kris Iyer and Dr. Maria DaCosta-Iyer, and Dr. John and Frances Applegate.

Party chairs Linden and Stokke and team created the event around the nostalgic early days of Hoag, when the likes of John Wayne, Andy Devine, Buddy Ebsen, Harry Babbitt, Al Auer and Marshall Duffield rallied around the launch and development of the Newport Beach hospital in the 1950s. By 1966 the Christmas Carol Ball was initiated, originally billed as the Voices of Christmas. It was put together by the old Hollywood stars at the Balboa Bay Club as a songfest and poetry reading.

Attending the 50th anniversary of that original songfest were descendants of some of the pioneers. Ethan Wayne, youngest son of John, joined Duffy Duffield, son of Marshall Duffield, and Alison Kearns, daughter of Auer, in a nod to their late dads — all of whom made a major difference for Hoag in its formidable days.

The who's-who crowd of present-day O.C. standout celebs included Terry and Bob Callahan, Hoag CEO Robert Braitwaite, Hoag foundation President Flynn Andrizzi, Azam and Fariborz Masech, Joan and Andy Fimiano, Karen andTom Linden, Maralou andJerry Harrington, Ben and Carmela Du, and Cynthia and Steve Fry, among many others.