Love bloomed at the Laguna Nursery's Valentine's Day Cabaret on Saturday night.
Performers crooned and warbled songs of love found, love lost, love on the rebound and cupboard love, all accompanied by pianist Saif. His grand piano was set on the main floor against a backdrop of plants, antiques and those pink and red metal garden decorations featured at the nursery.
"Anyone who wants to hear about something else will have to come another night," Saif said.
He warmed up the audience with "Making Whoopie," followed by Kathi Gillmore, who hopped on the piano in true chanteuse style to sing her first number before joining Saif in a duet.
Disneyland performer Bill Ledesma was next at the microphone. He previously worked with Saif at dinner shows, so he was right at home at the Cabaret, where folks ate, drank and in some cases chatted during the performances.
Ledesma sang "My Funny Valentine," the holiday's quintessential tune from the 1937 Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart musical "Babes in Arms."
Rufino Cabang, scion of the clan that owned the Royal Hawaiian for more than 50 years, sang "All I Ask of You" with a twist.
A veteran of "Lagunatics," Cabang got the hang of parodies: Forget the bouquets and boxes of chocolates, diamonds, a Rolex and Italian loafers was his version of "All I Ask of You."
Cabang also had some fun with "Love was Made for You and Me" and "Someone to Watch Over Me" — preferably someone with lots of money.
Ed Ramirez sang a duet with Saif, his partner for 14 years.
"And what could be more romantic than Frank Sinatra?" Saif asked. So Ramirez sang "Strangers in the Night."
Diana Morris made her first appearance at the nursery's cabarets. She sang that saddest of all love songs: "The Way We Were," from the movie of the same name that starred Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford as two people who loved each other but could not live together.
Gillmore came back to the microphone to perform "Angel of the Morning," which has hit the charts for several singers, including Olivia Newton-John and Dusty Springfield, as well as the Pretenders.
Singer Nelson Coates, a member of the Laguna College of Art & Design board of trustees, introduced his good friends Virginia and Hugh O'Brian, star of the television series "Wyatt Earp."
"He used his fame to do something that really makes a difference," Coates said.
Coates met O'Brian when he was 16 and attending a development program with Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership, a nonprofit known as HOBY, founded in 1958. More than 10,000 high school sophomores annually attend more than 70 programs presented each year in 50 states and 20 countries. Since its inception, more than 355,000 young people have participated.
The program was inspired by O'Brian's nine-day visit with Dr. Albert Schweitzer. It is based on individual potential and the choices made to realize that potential.
O'Brian, now 83, watched the Cabaret wearing a skullcap and clothing that made his wheelchair look like King Lear's throne.
"Thank you," O'Brian said of the recognition. "Send money."