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Candlelight Concert brings in a record 2.6 million for Arts Center

Wendt Award: Alfresco reception at The Ranch at Laguna Beach

“How many people get to have a private concert with Carole King?” John Ginger, board chairman of Segerstrom Center for the Arts, asked the elegantly dressed crowd assembled to enjoy the annual Candlelight Concert.

Four hundred sixty, to be exact. Gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the center and the 10th anniversary of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, fans of the four-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter helped rake in a record-setting $2.6 million for the center’s artistic programming, announced center President Terrence Dwyer.

King’s memorable melodies with their aching lyrics gave Candlelight its “most soulful concert ever,” Dwyer said. And that was saying a mouthful, given that past performers have included supernovas such as Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, Smokey Robinson and Johnny Mathis.

Sleek-looking in a simple black pants ensemble, King accompanied herself on piano as she sang songs from her chart-topping “Tapestry” album and more. Included on her set list: “So Far Away,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Some Kind of Wonderful,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” and “Beautiful, ” the upbeat anthem for the good life that inspired the gala’s theme, “Thirty Beautiful Years.”

Post-concert, the stage curtain rose to reveal a sophisticated onstage dining scene featuring towering panels of handmade white floral sculptures, glittering icicle-like chandeliers and tables draped in pale gold that were topped with clusters of white orchids. The menu was one of Candlelight’s most memorable: chilled Maine lobster salad with osetra caviar, roast beef tenderloin and coconut mousse with chocolate cream, meringue and tropical fruit.

The crowd gave King a teary-eyed standing ovation. And she applauded them back, saying, “You are absolutely delightful!”

No doubt about it, Segerstrom Center for the Arts has a friend.

Berlin Philharmonic Bash
One minute classical music lovers were steeped in Brahms’ majestic Symphony No. 2 at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall the next, they were kicking up their heels at South Coast Plaza with members of the Berlin Philharmonic, including its esteemed conductor, Sir Simon Rattle.

What better way to celebrate the renowned orchestra’s debut in the concert hall and its first appearance in Orange County in 15 years?  It was all part of the Philharmonic Society’s celebration of the hall’s 10th anniversary. “This concert was the perfect way to cap our celebration of the anniversary,” said society President and Artistic Director John Mangum, partying with the upbeat crowd in a cocoon of white drapery in the mall’s Jewel Court. “We’ve just heard what is likely the finest orchestra in the world.”  

Observed Rattle, who was once principal conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra: “I really enjoyed the hall. It reminds me of Birmingham; it’s like an enhancement of Birmingham. The sound is great! “

Wendt Award
 “What did we do to deserve Yvonne Boseker?” asked Malcolm Warner, executive director of the Laguna Art Museum, during his opening remarks at the Wendt Award dinner in November at The Ranch at Laguna Beach.

Along with Laguna Art Museum curator of historical art Janet Blake and Columbia Museum of Art curator Will South, Warner sang the praises of Boseker and her late husband, Dr. Edward H. Boseker, whose donations to the preservation, restoration and exhibition of historical California art have become legendary. The Wendt Award pays homage to the acclaimed landscape painter William Wendt, one of the founding members of the Laguna Beach Art Association, forerunner of the Laguna Art Museum. Serving on the award’s executive committee were Blake, Rick Balzer, Dennis Boyer, Keith Colestock, Robert D. Ehrlich, Susan Gordinier, Jack and Susan Kenefick, Ray Redfern, George Stern, Jean Stern, James Irvine Swinden and Thomas B. Stiles II.

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