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The Crowd: It's never too wet for Jazz Festival

March 13, 2014|By B.W. Cook
  • More than 600 patrons, including Dan and Roxanne Stetson, attended the 2014 Jazz Festival.
More than 600 patrons, including Dan and Roxanne Stetson,… (Rick Chatillon )

It's hard to imagine, given the spectacular weather of the past week, that for a brief moment California was being soaked by torrential rain at the beginning of the month. The downpour did not deter the dedicated volunteers of the Ocean Institute from producing the 2014 Jazz Festival at their headquarters in Dana Point over the weekend of Feb. 28 through March 2. Docents with yellow and blue striped umbrellas greeted patrons arriving for the Friday and Saturday night outdoor concerts and dinners. An enormous white tent had been erected to shield the festival attendees from the elements. Inasmuch as Southern Californians tend to be afraid of a drop of rain, one might assume that the turnout would be disappointing. On the contrary, there was not an empty seat in the big top for any of the weekend events. Over the three performances, 630 patrons were front and center under the chairmanship of Robert Beaulieu, raising an impressive $260,000 net for Ocean Institute educational programs benefiting school-age children, kindergarten through 12th grade.

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Headlining the jazz festival were performances from David Benoit, Peter White, Eric Marienthal and Spencer Day. The enthusiastic crowd cheered for their exceptional jazz performers while enjoying an amazing culinary spread provided by an assortment of fine restaurants catering the different events Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Donating culinary participants included the Balboa Bay Resort, the Laguna Cliffs Marriott, the St. Regis Monarch Beach, Montage Laguna Beach, the Ritz-Carlton, Park Hyatt Aviara Resort and specialized vendors including Pear Valley Vineyards, Bristol Farms, Savannah Chop House and Dana Point's Luciana's Ristorante. Major sponsors of the festival were Scott Schoeffel, Irvine BMW and the firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

The 12th annual jazz festival at Ocean Institute is one of Orange County's unique and special events produced in conjunction with the annual Festival of Whales. Funds raised enable Orange County youth to experience hands-on marine science environmental education, which turns the Ocean Institute into a classroom through its 61 award-winning programs that reach more than 115,000 students annually. To learn more about the Ocean Institute, please check out its website at http://www.ocean-institute.org.

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A toast to the Pacific Coast

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