Special to the Indy by OCSocialScene.com
The shining beacon of the Orange County arts scene, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, was illuminated in ultimate splendor last weekend as it presented its 39th annual Candlelight Concert.
Four hundred and thirty people gathered at Segerstrom Hall to enjoy an evening that included a performance by Broadway’s two-time Tony Award-winning star Sutton Foster, followed by dancing until midnight to multi-platinum recording and concert artist Huey Lewis & The News.
Throughout the theater were performances and vignettes representing the center’s celebrated artistic and education programs. Vacheron Constantin, which opened recently at South Coast Plaza, was the Presenting Sponsor and a Diamond Underwriter along with Jane and Jim Driscoll and Elizabeth and Henry T. Segerstrom. The gala evening netted nearly one million dollars in support of the center.
Center Board Chairman Lawrence M. Higby welcomed guests (including Hugues de Pins, president of Vacheron Constantin North America). “We are here tonight,” said Higby, “to help ensure the Center and the arts will continue to contribute to the quality of life in our community by bringing the world’s finest artists and companies here for everyone to enjoy, and expanding the innovative education programs from which over 325,000 young people benefit every year.”
Higby also introduced a special feature he requested: a time-lapse video taken of the interior of Segerstrom Hall during the previous five days showing the change from theater to ballroom to show everyone the transition (and work) it takes to achieve Candlelight Concert’s magic.
Guests arrived through the Center’s landmark Grand Portal, which had stylized images of the arch projected across its façade. They entered Segerstrom Hall via a plush purple carpet – just the first of many rich jewel-toned touches used throughout the décor. Ballerinas from Festival Ballet in glittering classic tutus represented the Center’s signature International Dance Series and educational outreach programs. They lined the grand staircase and performed in precision as guests walked to the reception on the Orchestra Level lobby
Suspended in the multi-level mirrored landing on the staircase was a shimmering curtain of crystals and golden toe shoes and two handmade costumes created specifically for Candlelight Concert by Primadonna in Newport Beach.
Additional nods to the Center’s artistic repertory were twin grand pianos and pianists offering selections familiar to those who enjoy the Center’s Cabaret and Jazz Series. A string trio from Orange County School of the Arts helped to represent the Center’s Chamber Series and partnerships with schools and organizations throughout the community.
Conversation areas with gold chairs and settees in gold leather were available for guests during the reception. Vacheron Constantin had several glass vitrines to showcase their world renowned watch pieces, and a watchmaker to explain and demonstrate their intricacies and extraordinary workmanship.
The walls of the Orchestra Level lobby – usually teak – were draped in red velvet and gold braid. The Veuve Cliquot bar, served on a custom design ice sculpture designed by Ice Bulb and underwritten by Betty Huang and Shanaz Langson, poured brut and rose to compliment the reception’s red and gold theme.
As always, Segerstrom Hall itself was transformed into a vast ballroom with graduated dining terraces covering the usual 1,000 seats. Guests entered from the rear of the Orchestra Level seating and walked through a Broadway-inspired lounge area.
For those who looked back towards the tiers above them, the candlelight theme continued: hundreds of tiny votives could be seen twinkling in the second and third tier levels – once on each seat.
Just before Lewis’ performance concluded, he welcomed a surprise guest to share the stage. The newest member of The News was Dee Higby, wife of Center Chairman Larry Higby. In an impromptu playing of one of Lewis’ tunes, Higby accompanied him on the glockenspiel. What a finale!