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Segerstrom Center - Spring Celebration - Donna Bunce, Roger and Tracy Kirwan - Credit Doug Gifford, 2013 - 023-2

What a clever theme for an event, “Bet on the Wheels” – referencing the wheels of the buses that transport children to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts to experience the arts. The Guilds of the Center were responsible for the fun evening, which drew 350 guests to their Spring Celebration at the Hyatt Regency Irvine.

The event wasn’t your typical sit-down dinner auction. The Guilds team, co-chaired by Bev Sandelman and Patty Lance and overseen by Guilds’ Chair Marilyn McCorkle, designed a casino evening – wheels, right? – with Elvis blaring out “Viva Las Vegas” as guests entered the ballroom to find a selection of foods from different cultures presented by the hotel’s chefs. You had your pick of an Asian Cafe, an Italian Trattoria, a Gastro Pub, and a Sweet Shoppe, all showcased in appropriately designed decor. I must admit, the sweet shoppe brought back memories of my childhood with the candy stripe awning. The martini lounge showcased a huge “Bet on the Wheels” ice sculpture and a hand-rolled cigar bar, and while guests played casino games, a magician, stilt walker and mime entertained.

One of the Segerstrom Center’s community partners, Orange County School of the Arts, provided a bevy of singers and dancers called Montage for a snappy performance as a prelude to the introduction of the event’s honorees, Tracy and Roger Kirwan. “The Guilds is excited to honor a couple that exemplifies the Guilds’ spirit of volunteerism and love for the Center and community,” McCorkle said. Roger’s comment, “We all have to give to make it work!” resonated throughout the room, as he and Tracy accepted gifts from Lugano Diamonds, who have presented gifts to the honorees for years. Tracy’s sapphire and diamond earrings and Roger’s tanzanite and platinum cuff links were exquisite. Lugano owners Idit and Moti Ferder were beaming!

The evening segued into a Fund-A-Future live auction led by auctioneer Jim Nye, with guests contributing $84,000 to the cause and Elizabeth and Henry Segerstrom, who were unable to attend, calling in to contribute $25,000. The three-item raffle saw Victoria Collins win a diamond pendant from Lugano Diamonds valued at $3,500, Philip O’Carroll pick up the one-year membership to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ Center Room in Segerstrom Hall and the Donor Lounge in the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall valued at $2,500 and Guilds’ member Louise McClintock win the coveted $1,000 South Coast Plaza shopping spree with one-year complimentary valet parking pass valued at $1,250.

All in all, it was a delightful evening celebrating some wonderful volunteers and the efforts of the Guilds, which has raised $14.5 million for the Center since its founding in 1978. The best news? Net proceeds of $200,000 were garnered to keep those wheels turning. Hear! Hear!

Selected photos by Doug Gifford and Steve Dawson