While many students struggled to sit through their end-of-year classes last Thursday, seven undergraduates entertained big-shot Hollywood alumni and munched on strawberries and cream at the famous Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
The students-four members of the Memorial Church Choir and three members of the Jazz Band-traveled to California to raise money for the arts at Harvard.
Harvard's Development office, which paid for the trip, flew the students to California to demonstrate student involvement in the arts at Harvard. The undergrads performed at a fund raiser sponsored by author Michael J. Crichton '64 and actor John A. Lithgow '67, according to one of the students, David C. Ables '95.
Approximately 300 prominent alumni from the Los Angeles area attended the program, entitled "Harvard Plays L.A.," Ables said. "There were authors, producers, businessmen and screenwriters-at my table there was a Vice President from NBC in charge of mini-series and movies," he said.
The Memorial Church Choir quartet song three madrigals which were warmly received by the audience, Ables said.
Student-artists were the main attraction at the fund raiser, said Miles Okazaki '97, a member of the Jazz Band. "The idea of having real students perform was a crowd-drawing attraction," he said.
Ables said the audience was especially interested in the student performers. "The audience was interested in what we were doing as undergraduates and what we intend to do in the arts after graduation," he said.
Quartet member George Hu '96 said he enjoyed leading the distinctive group of alumni in a rendition of "Fair Harvard."
"The best part of the night was when we led the crowd in `Fair Harvard,' it was warm and we could all communicate through `Fair Harvard," he said.
Student performers said the audience was surprised by the appearance of Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles. "Knowles and Lithgow sang [the Noel Coward song] Mad Dogs and Englishmen," Ables said. "They were hysterical."
The student performers spent Thursday night at the Wilshire before returning to Cambridge on Friday, Ables said.
"The hotel brought us strawberries and cream during the day and brought our bathrobes and slippers out at night," he said. "It beat the food at Mather."
Members of the Jazz Band were also treated to a behind the scenes look at the set of Crichton's show "ER," John A. Capello '96 said.
Crichton is a former Crimson editor.
"It was the last shooting of the season and one of Crichton's assistants took us, he said." "It was a pretty laid back set and we got to meet actor George Clooney," he said.