Candlelight Concert Raises $1M for Arts Center

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The Orange County Performing Arts Center’s 37th Annual Candlelight Concert raised more than $1 million to support the Center’s artistic and education programs.

The gala in Segerstrom Hall starred Smokey Robinson and kicked off the Orange County holiday season in spectacular style. The event was co-chaired by Liz Merage and Eve Kornyei, with honorary co-chairs and longtime Center benefactors Julia and George Argyros.

Segerstrom Hall was swathed in silver, gold and white for an elegant holiday evening. Guests were greeted with a white carpet entrance alongside a figure skater and her snow-banked, 20-foot ice rink. Merage and Kornyei greeted guests on the grand staircase that lead to a reception on the Orchestra Level Lobby.

Artists performed throughout the reception, reminding guests that supporting Candlelight Concert makes a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of audience members and school children from every corner of Orange County every year.

Holiday music was provided by the Brass Pacifica, and Festival Ballet Theatre depicted dramatic tableaus from “The Nutcracker.”

Both groups are members of the Center’s Arts Teach education program, an extensive roster of international professional artists in music, dance, theater and visual arts who specialize in performing for school assemblies, family nights, student workshops, teacher professional development and residencies.

Showing off their skills, the Sonora Elementary School Hand Bell Choir and 60-member McFadden Intermediate School Choir added their voices to the festivities. The McFadden choir recently performed at the Center with Dan Zanes and Friends as part of the Family Series.

Center President Terry Dwyer took the opportunity to acknowledge the Segerstrom family for its long time support of the Center in the gifts of land on which the Center stands and gifts towards its construction and programming.

He also related how, over the past nearly 25 years, the Center’s education programs have reached more than 8 million young people with arts programs both in schools and on its campus.

He ended by thanking everyone present for supporting the Center and helping to make it a great cultural treasure and resource to Orange County.


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