The Crowd:

Fire Bird dinner honors OCPAC donors

October 20, 2007|By B.W. COOK

It’s about culture. It’s about community activism. It’s about philanthropy.

Mostly, it’s about people who care very much about promoting and sustaining qualities of life that enhance the human condition and the human spirit.

The eighth annual Fire Bird Dinner last week honored distinguished donors supporting the Orange County Performing Artscenter.

The generous patrons were invited to dinner catered by Patina, and served in the elegant foyer of the new Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.


Honored guests included Jane and Jim Driscoll, Steve and Cindy Fry, William and Judith Brady, Donalyn Kling, George and Terry Schreyer, Ted and Rae Segerstrom, Joan Davis, Robert and LaDorna Eichenberg, Lyle and Jan Eisel, James and Catherine Emmi, Karen Hardin-Swickard, Bruno and Sharon Lebon, Jeff and Debbie Margolis, Carolyn Olsen, Matt and Lois Osborne, Sheila and Pete Pirzadeh, and Judy and Dick Runels.

Also honored for their generosity were Audrey Steele Burnand, June Fry, Daniel and Janet Bonbright and sons, John and Carol Curci, Karen and Jonathan Jaffee, Hazem and Salma Chehabi, Anne and Alan Simon, William Sommerville, Chet Winebright, and the S. Michael Joseph family.

Center president and chief operating officer Terrence Dwyer welcomed the crowd and extolled their generosity and the prominence of the center’s expansion.

His speech was short and gracious as dinner began with a roasted sunchoke arugula salad paired with a 2006 Clos du Bois Sonoma Chardonnay Reserve.

The entrée was a pepper-crusted beef tenderloin with a morel mushroom sauce paired with a double-stuffed potato purse and sautéed seasonal vegetables.

For dessert, a trio of delicacies included a most unusual Grand Marnier milkshake served in a mini crystal glass at each place setting.

Following dinner, the crowd was escorted into the Samueli Theater for a performance by Tony Award-winning Broadway star Victoria Clark.

Prior to her performance, the distinguished donors were all introduced, including messages from each one concerning their particular love for the center.

Following the tributes, Clark, who recently starred in the Broadway production of “The Light In The Piazza,” sang a selection of her material, that as she told the audience, was being released in her first solo album in the coming days.

It was also Clark’s birthday and she followed this private show with a series of performances in the Samueli Theater as part of the center’s cabaret schedule.

The Fire Bird Dinner was created in 2000 to recognize the outstanding support of community members contributing gifts of $25,000 or more to the center.

The generosity of those in attendance totaled nearly $3 million in 2006, helping The Orange County Performing Artscenter maintain its exceptional programming and educational outreach efforts.

Distinguished guests in the dinner crowd also included Wells Fargo Bank executive John Evans and his wife, Ruth Ann, Cartier Vice President Caroline Jones, longtime center donors Darrellyn and David Melilli, Newport Beach philanthropists Donna and Ronald Phelps, Jack Swickard, and distinguished center executive Judith O’Dea Morr.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays.

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