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Founders Plus Celebrates Success
October 28, 2011 | Segerstrom Center for the Arts

David and Marie Quinlan and Diane and Don Castle


Members of Founders Plus, a center support group whose members include many of the early visionaries, corporations and foundations that raised awareness of the need for a performing arts center in Orange County, gathered for an elegant evening on September 23 to celebrate the Center's 25th Anniversary. Their work, which continues to this day, changed the life of Orange County as it was known before 1986. Today, with Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Orange County has one of the nation's most respected and largest institutions dedicated to the performing arts. It has brought international recognition to the community as it presents the world's leading artists and companies from vast array of disciplines.

Terry Dwyer with Elaine Redfield


Nearly 120 members and guests were on hand for their Silver Celebration Gala in the Center's Samueli Theater and to kick-off their Founders Plus Legacy Endowment program. In addition to their continued financial support of the Center, Founders Plus also focuses on supporting the Center's community programs for school children and the underserved. Each year they provide tickets to many people in Orange County who might not otherwise be able to attend performances at the Center.

Wanlyn and Benton Bejach

Shari Esayian, president of Founders Plus, welcomed the guests and extended her thanks to Silver Celebration Gala chair, Ruth Ding. Elaine Redfield, a past president of the Center's early Board of Trustees, was honored. Redfield is a Center legend: she made the request to the Segerstrom family for the land on which the Center was ultimately built. Jan Landstrom presented the annual Founders Plus Maxine Gibson Award to Benton and Wanlyn Bejach. The award honors the late Founder, Maxine Gibson, and was presented this year to the Bejachs for their service to the Center, the arts and other community-based organizations. The Bejachs have taken a special interest in the Center's Summer at the Center education program for at-risk youths.

Ruth Ding, Elaine Redfield and Shari Esayian



In keeping with their commitment to encouraging young people to participate in the arts, Founders Plus presented three artists as part of the evening's program. Ten-year-old pianist Umi Garrett, soprano Heather Calvete and tenor Tyler Thompson performed.

Other Founders on the scene were …

Photos: James Walker.

Keith and Barbara Johannes, Robert and Trudy Bruning
James and Elaine Alexiou

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