Huge silver stars, a brilliant moon, sparkling circles of light and a myriad of Milky Ways turned the ceiling of Wolf Trap's great stage into a firmament last night. With a theme of "Wolf Trap Shines Again," the Wolf Trap Associates 13th annual ball marked the end of the first summer season of the renaissance of the Filene Center.
"It's been a wonderful summer," said Catherine Filene Shouse, the 88-year-old founder of the performing arts park. "Last night, we had more people attend than ever."
Shouse, who has been coming to parties recently in a wheelchair, stood to shake hands a long time as 600 or so well-wishers lined up clear across Wolf Trap's cavernous backstage area and out the door. Shouse and Tony Randall, the comedian who starred in the television show, "The Odd Couple," were distinctly a couple in the receiving line -- holding hands.
Randall, a great friend of Shouse and Wolf Trap, was also a star at the dedication in June of the new Filene Center, rebuilt after a devastating fire.
Dr. Tucker Dalton and Hynda Dalton, cochairmen of the ball, and Wayne Gibbens, Wolf Trap Association board chairman, said the event -- a backstage reception with dinner and dancing on the stage -- raised $70,000, "the most in history," for the Wolf Trap Opera Company, which trains young American singers, and the building fund.
Virginia Gov. Charles Robb and Lynda Robb said this was their third time this summer to receive the line at Wolf Trap. Virginia Sen. Paul Trible and wife Rosemary, a member of the Wolf Trap Associates board, were late to the reception because of an appearance on a C-SPAN talk show.
"It was interesting to hear the questions from all over the country," the Republican senator said. "They're voting for Reagan. Yes, several did talk about their concern about politics and religion. One said the Democrats, for instance, Jesse Jackson, had been mixing it for years."
Joel Broyhill, a former Virginia congressman who's still fund-raising, said he's working for an event coming up in October when former president Gerald Ford will speak. Before his wife Suzy came up, Broyhill said, "I've been going around saying I've had such good luck with my two wives, I think I'll try a third." Broyhill's first wife died a few years ago.
Presidential counsel Fred Fielding, with his wife Maria, said he has "a big day coming up -- I'm going with the president when he makes a speech in Doylestown, Pa., my hometown. Many years ago, I installed the pews in the new chapel there where the president's going to speak."
Fielding said he wasn't worried about the president's views on church and state. "He's made his position clear in the last three days."
Not everybody there was a Republican, though Kay Shouse and the party go back to Coolidge. Louisana Democratic Sen. Russell Long said he, for one, thinks "Mondale would make a great president and I'm going to help him."
Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.) and his wife Antoinette, the real estate agent and cookbook author, were just back from the wedding of their daughter Elizabeth to Greg Keller in Oregon.
"They met at an accident," Hatfield said. "They're both paramedics. She's our oldest child and the first to marry."
Japanese Embassy minister Makoto Utsumi and his wife Natsuko came in kimonos. "In hot weather, they are very comfortable," he said. Australian Ambassador Robert Cotton and Lady Eve Elizabeth Cotton were still talking about what a good time they had in San Francisco -- at the Democratic Convention. Cotton sent his deputy to Dallas.
At 8:45 p.m. precisely, while people were still eating chicken-wrapped escargots from what looked like bird's nests (Design Cuisine caterers), the center's big stage doors swung back to reveal the shining stage universe. Lois Lerner, the decoration chairman, was congratulated as the guests stepped into the stars.