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SJC Mission Fandango

The Mission Preservation Foundation's Romance of the Mission gala nets close to a quarter of a million dollars

Georgianna Hales, Barb Beier, Madeline Swinden, Tracie Sullivan, Stacey Fitts and Michelle Sukut

Fandango! – a genial party with live music, sangria and guests dressed in their festive best. The Mission Preservation Foundation’s Romance of the Mission gala in San Juan Capistrano in September lived up to its name, netting $236,000. The inspiration came from Frank Myers’ “Fiesta Old Monterey,” an oil painting on loan from the Irvine Museum, said Stacey Fitts, gala committee member who planned the florals. Pavé arrangements of roses color-coordinated with Guatemalan table runners, paper lanterns glowing overhead and magenta pashmina worn by honored guests (Bette Aitken wore it best, knotted up as a chic scarf).
Fitts helped book “American Idol” runner-up Clark Beckham. During the predinner concert in the ruins of the Great Stone Church, Beckham held the audience rapt with stories, quips and covers such as a gospel-tinged version of John Mayer’s “Gravity.”
Guests moved into the courtyard for a candlelight dinner provided by the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, honored that night for its years of support, still talking about Beckham. His country blues rendition of “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano” could be the best ever, said gala committee member Barb Beier. But it was likely his downhome charm that won over the crowd. “I reject the thanks because it is my honor to be here,” he said from the stage.

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