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The Doo Wop Allstars give it up for Saint John's Health Center at the 2008 Caritas Gala. Vince Bucci Photography

YOU GOTTA HAVE HEART

Guests were bopping to the sounds of Doo Wop as Saint John’s Health Center held its 2008 Caritas Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Actress Rhonda Fleming Carlson and Jerry and Pat Epstein were honored at the black tie bash. They join a prestigious roster of previous Caritas Award winners, including local notables Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Martin Sheen and Anthony Hopkins.

The Doo Wop Allstars broke into song as 600 well-heeled guests entered the ballroom. Tables were done up in gold and ivory, and topped with towering arrangements of roses, hydrangeas and orchids.

The event was co-chaired by Catherine Corlin and Judy Piro and hosted by the Irene Dunne Guild and the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation.

Foundation Trustee Jerry Epstein and wife, Pat, were presented with the Spirit of Saint John’s Award for “their extraordinary contributions and dedication to Saint John’s.” Jerry has served on the board since 1975. Pat is one of the founding members of the Irene Dunne Guild, which acts as the center’s support group.

Rhonda Fleming Carlson received the 2008 Caritas Award in recognition of her support of Saint John’s, not to mention a lifetime of work as a star of stage and screen. Rhonda has been a patron and spokeswoman for Saint John’s since the 1980s and the Rhonda Fleming Garden has been named in her honor. The evening ended on a high note with guests dancing the night away to a 14-piece orchestra. And there was more to sing about -$765,000 to keep St. John’s on the top tier of medical care.

TIS THE SEASONM

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are here and there’s lots to get you in the spirit. You don’t have to go to New York to see a world-class production of “The Nutcracker.” On Dec. 17, the famed Kirov Ballet comes to town. The company will perform the fairytale ballet filled with sugar and spice, as well as the King of Mice, at the Music Center.

The beloved holiday classic was choreographed in 1934 by Vasily Vainonen and has delighted audiences around the world ever since. Dance at the Music Center will host six performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, including a Saturday matinee.

Another Music Center event is designed to bring out the artist in everyone. The sounds of the season will ring out on Dec. 19 at this year’s Holiday Sing-Along. The price can’t be beat. It’s free! An evening of carols, live music and merriment is yours for the taking. In case you’re hazy on all the lines to “Oh Tanenbaum” or “Deck the Halls,” never fear, sheet music will be provided.

On Saturday, the Los Angeles Master Chorale will ring in the season with a fanfare of chorus, organ and brass. The program features the Voices Within Children’s Choir performing “Joy to the World,” yuletide favorites from around the globe and even a visit from Saint Nick. Ho, Ho, Ho!

Got a hot happening or cool event? Send the 411 to kimdevore@malibutimes.com