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Sugar Ray to perform at SPIN gala

Band, with lead singer Mark McGrath, among those featured at 25th anniversary event to help those in need.

October 31, 2013|By Steve Virgen
  • Sugar Ray, including original member Rodney Sheppard, left, and Newport Beach native Mark McGrath, right, is set to perform at Nov. 1 gala on behalf of Serving People In Need (SPIN).
Sugar Ray, including original member Rodney Sheppard,… (Kingdom Entertainment )

As executive director of Serving People in Need, Jean Wegener has worked to help make sure its silver anniversary gala will be a great one Friday night at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa.

"It's the 25th for us," she said of SPIN, which was founded in Newport Beach 25 years ago. "It's a big accomplishment. We want to go all out this year."

With that in mind, the SPIN celebration will feature Sugar Ray and the band's frontman, Mark McGrath, who grew up in Newport Beach and attended Corona del Mar High School. The band, which became famous in the late '90s, will perform at the gala, a fundraising event that will help SPIN's housing programs that assist Orange County residents in times of financial hardship.

Having Sugar Ray perform at the SPIN event is perfect because there is a connection, Wegener said.

About 20 years ago, when SPIN held thefirst of its annual fundraiser dinners, Wegener said she talked to staff about having a musical act for the event. Karen Nichol, who remains on the advisory board, volunteeredher young son, Joseph McGinty Nichol, and his friends, who included McGrath.

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That was before they became famous. Joseph, now known as McG, left music and became a movie director and TV show producer.

McG, who produced "The O.C.," is the main celebrity in a special promotional video for SPIN that will be shown at the gala. Wegener said she isn't sure if McG will attend, but she is grateful for his help.

"At our first dinner it was unknown that [McGrath and McG] were there," she said. "The time seemed to be perfect for our event, and it's like it's come around full circle."

An anticipated crowd of at least 500 guests is expected.

McGrath, and Sugar Ray, have played to much bigger crowds, to be sure. But they were willing when SPIN asked them to perform at its event.

In the late '90s, Sugar Ray was huge and proved to be much more than a one-hit wonder with pop party songs like "Fly," "Every Morning," "Someday" and "When It's Over."

McGrath and the band remain somewhat relevant from those hits. (He couldn't grant an interview with the Daily Pilot because of his busy schedule, a publicist/representative said.)

McGrath played this past summer with Smashmouth and the Gin Blossoms as part of the "Under the Sun" tour.

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