The Crowd: Candelight Concert nets $1.3 million for Segerstrom Center

December 09, 2011|By B.W. Cook
  • Gordon Clune and his wife the gorgeous Elizabeth An.
Gordon Clune and his wife the gorgeous Elizabeth An. (Courtesy Doug Gifford )

It is the most glamorous social event of the year in Orange County. It may also be one of the most elegant parties on America's annual event calendar.

Last week's Candlelight Concert to benefit the Segerstrom Center for the Arts celebrated its 25th anniversary in grand style.

The 2011 gala was the 38th installment of the annual fundraiser for the Costa Mesa arts center and netted a smashing $1.3 million. The money will be earmarked for the center's artistic and educational programs.

For gala chairwoman Dee Higby, resplendent in an elegant holiday inspired shimmering ball gown, and her co-chairs, Betty Huang and Elizabeth Segerstrom, the party was a superb triumph. Some 450 dressed-to-kill donors were awe-struck by the transformation of the cavernous 3,000-seat Segerstrom Hall into a chic, multitiered night club setting.

Adorned with spectacular crystal chandeliers, including a painstakingly created and hung ceiling piece that was truly magical, designers set a tone of silver, black and red for an evening of holiday romance. Tables draped in silver-white cloths that were appliquéd with fabric roses supported carefully selected vintage crystal votives. These surrounded centerpieces overflowing with verdant velvet-pedal "Black Magic Roses" in deep red hues.


Event co-chairwoman Betty Huang, wife of center patron S. L. Huang, dressed in a classic black sequin and lace-capped sleeved evening gown, greeted adoring guests praising the beauty of the party.

"It's in the details," she whispered, adding, "Details are my forte."

Indeed, to take it one big step further, in the words of famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, "God is in the details." Surely this was the case for Candlelight 38.

The evening began with a lavish cocktail reception on the second tier foyer followed by a four-course gourmet dinner overseen by the legendary Joachim Splichal, chef and founder of the Patina Restaurant Group.

Patina Executive Chefs Ross Pangilinan and Gregg Wiele created the dinner that began with Muscovy duck and potato cannelloni followed by an exceptional veggie dish of sweet corn agnolotti, chanterelle mushrooms and lime brown butter.

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