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The annual Candlelight Concert in Segerstrom Hall

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Anton, Jennifer and Alette Segerstrom

It was the kind of night that would have made Henry T. Segerstrom proud.

Noted for decades as the glittering launch of Orange County’s holiday social season, the annual Candlelight Concert in Segerstrom Hall was elegant, joyful and artfully detailed, right down to the purple light on its iconic façade matching the arrival carpet and the florals that crowned the gala dinner tables.

Spiritedly leading a musical homage to Segerstrom, the late founding chairman of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, was sultry jazz pianist/ singer Diana Krall, the Grammy Award-winner who was once a cocktail-hour performer at the nearby Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel.

Krall never dreamed of saluting the coast-to-coast philanthropist and arts and business visionary whom she was fortunate enough to have “met, once.” she said. “I know you are thinking about him and I know he’s here in spirit, feeling the love,” Krall added. Her performance came after the nearly 400 gala-goers posed for selfies with a welcoming Nutcracker, sipped fine wines and sampled appetizers.

Also on the playlist of the “All The World’s A Stage”-themed benefit: a formal, candle-lit onstage supper, with each course themed to a snowy cultural capital. But wait, there was more. After the black-tie crowd boogied to disco legend KC and the Sunshine Band, there were shakes and In-and-Out burgers to toss down as they waited for their cars.

Among guests attending the 42nd annual black-tie affair were Segerstrom’s widow, Elizabeth Segerstrom, looking subdued but regal in a black Alexander McQueen; Center Chairman John L. Ginger and his wife, Toni; Center President Terry Dwyer and his wife, Amy; Howard and Roberta Ahmanson; George and Julianne Argyros; Larry and Dee Higby; and Rick and Nancy Muth. The December event, which raised $2.1 million for The Center’s artistic and educational programs, was chaired by the Candlelight Quartet: Marta and Raj Bhathal and Kelly and Jim Mazzo.


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