Segerstrom Center’s Annual Candlelight Concert Raises Critical Funds for Artistic and Education Programs

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Naomi Reitz, Britt Meyers, Elizabeth Segerstrom, Carol Perry, Casey Reitz

Guests of the Segerstrom Center’s 47th annual Candlelight Concert were whisked away to the Italian countryside without needing a passport or a plane ticket on Tuesday, Nov. 30 during what was undoubtedly the gala event of the year.

After a year of uncertainty, 450 guests filled the halls with laughter and enjoyed live entertainment while Tuscany was brought to them as they arrived to a red-carpet entrance walking into an Italian villa entrance that warmly welcomed them into the evening complete with live Italian statues, beautiful florals, and topiary trees.

On stage, screens surrounded by archways inspired by Italian architecture transported guests through different parts of the countryside complete with olive trees to create an intimate space.

Candlelight Concert / © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2021

The evening provided critical funds to benefit Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ artistic programming and education initiatives for extensive programming from world-class performances to signature Education programs like Studio D, ABT William J. Gillespie School, ArtsTeach, and Community Engagement initiatives.

The funds also support new endeavors such as ballet commissions, productions, and world premieres.

Candlelight Concert Honorary Chair Elizabeth Segerstrom along with Co-Chairs Britt Meyer and Carol Perry raised the curtain and brought the decades-long tradition back to the Center after a year hiatus.

Elizabeth Segerstrom said ”This year’s 47th Candlelight concert marks the beginning of a new, exciting chapter for us all here at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. We’ve all grown exponentially in this past year, inspiring us to set the bar even higher for all that’s to come! Segerstrom Center for the Arts has always strived to bring the best of the best, both nationally and internationally, to our audiences here in Southern California. Now ‘coming together’ has an all-new meaning, and in such, we are working to ensure the year ahead marks a time for wonderful innovation and revolution in our programming.”

Remarks were given by Center President, Casey Reitz, Chairwoman of the Board Jane Fujishige Yada, and 2021 Candlelight Concert Co-Chairs Britt Meyer & Carol Perry. High praise was lauded to all of the women for their fundraising success and the 2021 Honorary Chair, Elizabeth Segerstrom.

Andrea Bocelli

Guests were dazzled by the headliner of the evening, Andrea Bocelli, who stunned guests as he performed 13 songs including “Brindisi” from “La Traviata,” “Amazing Grace,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and more along with singers Pia Toscano, who sang a special rendition of “All By Myself,” and opera sensation Maria Aleida.

Bocelli brought along a special guest: his nine-year-old daughter, Virginia, who accompanied her father onstage and sang “Hallelujah” dedicated to honorary chair, Elizabeth Segerstrom.

The concert was beautiful and warmly received by the audience who gave Bocelli a standing ovation through the encore songs. The final song of the evening, “O Sole Mio,” was dedicated to co-chair Carol Perry for her tireless dedication to the Center and this event. Bocelli gifted the guitar he sang with for “Hallelujah” to the Center to auction off later that evening.

Dancing With the Stars Cherl Burke (L) and Gleb Savchenkko (R) with Elizabeth Segerstrom

Candlelight continued with student performers from University High School Choir led by Rob Blaney, who surprised guests with their performance of “Sing” and “Carol of the Bells” while holding candles in their hand and reminding the audience that their generous donations help the Center support the local school districts art programs. The student performance was underwritten by Carol and Kent Wilken.

Finally, the Ron Rubin Orchestra ushered in the evening’s dance party.

Medici Underwriters included Britt Meyer, Elizabeth Segerstrom, Gloria Brandes, Ruth Ann Moriarty, Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, Julianne and George Argyros, Tiffany & Co., and an anonymous donor.

As guests danced the night away, pizza and gelato were enjoyed as late-night bites. Bentley Newport Beach sponsored the Valet Lounge where guests enjoyed Urban Espresso as their night cap to their Italian getaway, B Toffee from Newport Beach, and gifts by House of Sillage including Ugg slippers for the women.

Chef Ross Pangilinan from the Mix Mix Group came in as the guest chef for the night and prepared an incredible multi-course menu. A special dessert was presented from Chef Tony at Knife Pleat, South Coast Plaza’s most recent Michelin star awarded restaurant.

The date for next year’s 48th Annual Candlelight Concert was announced: December 2, 2022.

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