The Crowd: Guilds spin the wheel for spring

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts remains the cornerstone of culture in Orange County.

The ever-constant devotion of a confederation of local guilds has, over some three-plus decades, provided a combination of enthusiastic moral and financial support. On April 12 in Costa Mesa, The Guilds of the Center gathered their combined formidable forces for the second spring celebration, billed as "Bet on the Wheels."

The evening of casino-style gaming, dining and dancing unfolded in the giant ballroom of the Hotel Irvine Jamboree Center, co-chaired by Amy Larson and Marty Olds. Also front and center for the event was overall guilds chair Marilyn McCorkle, who welcomed honored guests of the night Eve and Michael Ruffatto of Corona del Mar and Denver. Eve Ruffatto is a center board member.

Others recognized included the very talented husband-and-wife jewelers Idit and Moti Ferder of Lugano Diamonds. The Ferders have become most generous philanthropists supporting the arts in Orange County. They shared the spotlight with the much-admired Bev Sandelman, former chair of the guilds, who was honored with the inaugural Guilds Inspiration Award. By the end of the evening, more than $250,000 was raised for the Segerstrom Center.


An O.C. Duck dynasty

The seventh annual Lady Ducks fashion show luncheon unfolded at the trendy Montage Laguna Beach.

The March 21 event teamed up the fashion patrol from Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza and a cast of handsome male and gorgeous female models, all helping to raise funds for Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). Co-chaired by Caroline Marchant, wife of Ducks alum and Stanley Cup champion Todd Marchant, and Paige Getzlaf, wife of Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, the event attracted a sold-out crowd of donors helping to raise the total financial tally from the past six years to more than $650,000.

The Lady Ducks originally pledged funds in support of creating a fitness center on CHOC's pediatric oncology floor. With that funding challenge met, the 2014 dollars raised are earmarked for the CHOC Children's Small Baby Unit, a specialized unit focused on infants at or under 21 ounces.

A highlight of the Lady Ducks' day at the Montage was a second fashion show that followed the professional runway display produced by Bloomingdale's. Later in the afternoon, it was the children's turn to walk the catwalk as kids from Ducks families joined with CHOC children to strut their best looks to the resounding applause of an appreciative audience.


Kitchen champion plans dinner

The pretty and super-talented chef Jamie Gwen, host of her own nationally syndicated radio show as well as author of four bestselling cookbooks, fronted the recent Champions to CureDuchenne gala at the Balboa Bay Resort.

A March 29 black-tie dinner featured a menu by chef Jamie, who is also a certified sommelier. Debra Miller, founder and chief executive of CureDuchenne, was on hand to thank chef Jamie for her significant contribution to the evening that also honored Doug Freeman, a nationally recognized businessman and tax attorney who was largely responsible for creating a viable model for CureDuchenne's fundraising and philanthropic outreach.

For those unfamiliar, Duchenne is a form of muscular dystrophy that affects boys, usually diagnosed by age 5. Most are in a wheelchair by age 12 and rarely survive past their mid-20s. There is no approved treatment for Duchenne. Funding supports research aimed at finding a cure. To learn more, go to or call (949) 872-2552.


Bealls honored at UCI

UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts paid tribute to Newport's philanthropic Joan and Donald Beall at a March 10 ceremony that was the third annual presentation of the Claire Trevor Commemorative Star. Dean Joseph S. Lewis III and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Howard Gillman were in attendance to honor the Bealls.


Gloria Zigner does it again

More than 2,200 OC citizens filled the Robert B. Moore Theatre at Orange Coast College recently for four performances of the 17th annual presentation of the CHOC Follies under the supervision of Gloria Zigner, executive producer and creator. It was announced this week that the follies have netted more than $7 million for Children's Hospital over its amazing 17-year run.

This season's production — billed as "CHOCton Abbey," a satirical spoof of the popular PBS drama "Downton Abbey" — featured an enormous cast of talented volunteers led by follies co-chairs Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, Dale Skiles and SueAnn Cross. Once again produced by the dedicated and talented team of Lois Augustine, John Vaughan, Doug Austin and Lee Martino, the show enjoyed a four-performance run punctuated with roaring laughter and thunderous applause.

"I can't believe it's been 17 years," gushed Zigner, wiping away a tear. "It's all for the kids."

Indeed it is.

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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