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June 10, 2011 | Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Center President Terry Dwyer addresses the crowd at the Bhathal residence


Marta and Raj Bhathal hosted the kick-off to Segerstrom Center’s 2011 Candlelight Concert on Friday, June 10 at their Laguna Beach home. Marta Bhathal, a former Candlelight Concert chair, welcomed this year’s chair, Dee Higby, Center board members, committee members and prospective underwriters.

Higby announced that this year’s gala would celebrate the Center’s silver anniversary and that her vice-chairs are Betty Huang and Elizabeth Segerstrom. Higby noted, “We celebrate Segerstrom Center’s 25th anniversary, 25 years of bringing extraordinary artists, companies and performances for us to enjoy, as well as education programs that have changed the lives of generations of young people.”

Additionally, Caroline Jones of Cartier South Coast Plaza was applauded when Higby welcomed Cartier as a Candlelight Presenting Sponsor. As Higby noted, Cartier has been a loyal and generous supporter of the Center, including sponsorships during the 10th anniversary and the opening of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Dee Higby, Caroline Jones, Betty Huang and Marta Bhathal

Candlelight Concert nets more than $1 million each year in support of the Center’s artistic and education programs. During the past 25 years, more than 15 million people have attended performances at the Center and the lives of more than 6 million young people have been enriched by its many education programs.

The Candlelight tradition began in 1974 to raise funds to create a major performing arts center in Orange County. A small group of community visionaries transformed a vacant Kresge store into an elegant ballroom. The money raised from that first Candlelight Concert, as the event was titled, supported what was then called the Orange County Cultural Center, Inc. The committee called the evening “Candlelight” because they utilized subtle lighting with candles to add glamour to an otherwise utilitarian setting. This annual gala is held now in the magnificent performing arts facility that the founders envisioned, and it is a venerated holiday event for Segerstrom Center for the Arts and, indeed, all of Orange County.

Roger Kirwan, Tracy Martin and Larry Higby

The evening features a private cocktail reception, an elegant dinner and dancing, as well as performances by celebrated artists. In the past, guests have enjoyed concerts by such entertainment greats as Diana Ross, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Jay Leno, Natalie Cole, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, Kenny Loggins, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Mathis, Diana Ross , Donna Summer and Smokey Robinson.

Among those joining the sunset reception were Center Chairman Larry Higby, Center President Terry Dwyer and his wife Amy, Ronnie and Byron Allumbaugh, Catherine Emmi, Jerry and Maralou Harrington, Betty and S.L. Huang, Elizabeth An, Tom and Margaret Larkin, Jan and Mike Lowther, Jennifer and Tony Mathews, Alfred Somekh and Liz Merage, Harriet and Sandy Sandhu, Marie Gray, Eve Kornyei and Mike Ruffatto, South Coast Director of Community Relations Kathryn Glassmyer, Mindy and Glenn Stearns and Richard Reisman.

Seating for Candlelight Concert is limited. For information regarding contributions and purchase of seats or tables to the 38th Annual Candlelight Concert, visit or contact Stephanie Jernigan at
(714)556-2121 x 4247.

Photos: Steve Dawson.

Amy Dwyer, Ronnie Allumbaugh
and Dee Higby
Mike Ruffatto and Eve Kornyei

Raj and Marta Bhathal with Terry Dwyer

Jan and Mike Lowther
Jerry and Maralou Harrington

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