The 13th annual Orange County Arts Awards were presented Sept. 18 during a dinner ceremony at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Produced by Orange County impresario Richard Stein, the organization honored three individuals and one couple for lifetime achievement supporting artistic endeavors in Orange County.
Orange County Arts labels the honor the Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Awards, a nod to the famed European actress who settled in rural Orange County with her husband in 1876. The honored recipients for 2012 were Douglas C. Rankin, Elizabeth Turk, Gloria Zigner and the late William and Barbara Roberts. Additionally, the organization honored Soka University's Performing Arts Center and Backhausdance, which was founded by Artistic Director Jennifer Backhaus.
The sold-out evening attended by 200 local guests began with a pre-ceremony reception and dinner in Leatherby's Café Rouge at the center. The crowd then walked to the Samueli Theater, joining additional invited guests for dessert and an outstanding program that included impressive performances by four of Orange County's exceptional vocal performance entities. Interspersed with the awards presentation were the Pacific Chorale John Alexander Singers, Costa Mesa's All-American Boys Chorus, the Orange County Women's Chorus and the deAngelis Vocal Ensemble.
Proceeds netted $100,000 benefiting Arts Orange County, a nonprofit providing services to both artists and arts organizations in the community.
The Balboa Bay Club & Resort welcomed the Hispanic 100 on Sept. 21 for the organization's third annual Lifetime Achievement Award gala.
The evening was a "who's who" of accomplished Orange County Hispanic residents attracting an impressive roster of dais speakers. Most prominent among them was George P. Bush, affectionately referred to as "P," son of the former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and grandson of former President George H.W. Bush as well as the nephew of the former President George W. Bush.
"P," a 36-year-old attorney, is involved in a real estate private equity group and has also been instrumental in leading a $30-million fundraising campaign for Big Brothers Big Sisters in his Texas community.
He was introduced to the crowd by the mistress of ceremonies Rosario Marin, a former U.S. treasurer. Marin kept the evening moving also welcoming celebrity guest of honor actor Esai Morales, who delivered a passionate dinner speech centering on obliterating negative stereotypical portrayals of Latino men and women in media and entertainment. Morales' appearance came courtesy of Hollywood agent Tina Maria Salinas of Hispanic Touch Talent agency in West Hollywood.
The purpose of the evening was to raise funds to support Hispanic 100's Mentor Program, which assists local Hispanic youth seeking educational opportunities, business opportunities, as well as opportunities to serve the public sector through representation as both civic and/or governmental officials and office holders.
The upbeat gala featured entertainment by Larry Braggs, lead singer from Tower of Power. The well dressed crowd including guests Mercy Alfanso, Eric Aldatz, Paul Carillo, Cesar Delgado, Delores Chavez-Harmes and her husband, Scott Harmes, Javier Garcia, Mindy and Glenn Stearns, and Teresa and Jose Hernandez of the famed Mariachi Sol de Mexico all enjoying a specially prepared dinner by Bay Club culinary staff that featured an entrée of jalapeño-and-cheese stuffed chicken breast served with piping hot tortillas, Spanish rice and beans.
The Hispanic 100 gala raised about $75,000 net. To learn more, visit http://www.hispanic100.org.
THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.