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LeBARON: Green Center biggest opening ever, maybe

Three things on my mind this week; the first one shouldn't be hard to guess.

The whoopla surrounding the opening of the Green Music Center last weekend was an occasion that cried out for the old society pages. Where was Roby Gemmell with her fur stole and gold clipboard when we needed her?

How much fun can it be to watch the changes as a town grows up?

At the champagne reception before Lang Lang's recital, people, seeking comparisons, were talking about parties past. Several chose the "Farewell to the Courthouse" party that the Lawyers' Wives threw in the '60s, just before they knocked the old girl down.

Others suggested the opening of the Flamingo 55 years back. But the best suggestion, coming closest, may have been the pride and joy that occasioned the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937. Let the good times roll!

Among the frivolity, however, there was serious talk of how this spectacular facility — which got rave notices as far away as the New York Times — will change Sonoma County.

If the world beats a path to our door, if this becomes a performing arts destination, how will that alter our fortunes and our general demeanor? Will we still be, as the Spanish once knew us, La Frontera del Norte, the outer edge of the Bay Area? Or will we be whirled into the vortex of Big City culture?

The other thing people were talking about at the opening gala was, of course, what everybody else was wearing. One woman in a stunning gown accepted compliments modestly, saying: "Thank you. I wasn't sure it was the right thing to wear. It's a Galliano and I wasn't sure Sonoma County was ready for that."

I expect we'll have to get used to this sort of thing. Some may be surprised that the roads are paved.

Welcome our visitors with pride, I say. We are Sonoma County. Nowhere else is like it. 'Nuff said.


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