The Crowd: CHOC Follies raises $1 million for children’s hospital – Los Angeles Times
This is big news. An astounding $1 million plus net was raised last week for Children’s Hospital of Orange County from the proceeds of the 20th anniversary CHOC Follies.
Over the previous two decades, the campy show starring a massive troupe of Orange County citizen-singers and dancers, had previously donated to the hospital more than $8 million from a total of 75 performances.
The 20th anniversary show, which was staged once again at the Robert B. Moore Theatre at Orange Coast College, exploded all fundraising records with its $1-million take.
The remarkable financial success was a tribute to the indefatigable Gloria Zigner, executive producer and founder of the Follies.
Zigner, a well-known public relations executive in Orange County, has devoted her formidable talent, drive, and “take-no-prisoners” attitude sustaining the Follies for its incredibly long run.
Further testament to the concepts success is the fact that the core staff producing this massive show has essentially remained constant for the entire run. Such loyalty and dedication is virtually unheard of, as people come and go associated with charitable endeavors.
Working side by side with Zigner, associate producer Lois Augustine has managed the nuts and bolts of all the moving parts of the Follies complicated formula. The artistic team has also been together for the entire run of the show.
Director John Vaughn, music director Doug Austin, and choreographer Lee Martino, have together, year after year, pulled together a huge and diverse troupe of local volunteers shaping them into performance mode.
In the early years, the singing and dancing was rough. But neither the performers or the audience minded, as it was all for the best possible cause, saving children’s lives.
It didn’t take long before the artistic team started ramping up the level of talent infusing in the subsequent casts what are affectionately known as “ringers” otherwise described as profession performers helping to raise the standard of performance.
In this 20th season, audiences cheered proclaiming that the singing and dancing was the best it had ever been. The show was billed as “CHOC Around The Clock,” a satirical spoof set in the mythical town of Sublimity City. The year was 1956 and all the iconic American characters of that time, including the likes of Lucy and Ethel, came to life on the Robert B. Moore stage. Once again, it must be noted that many of the cast members have also been with the show its entire run. Standouts include lead performers Mia Maffei, Tim Bercovitz and Diane Mondini.
Most importantly, the fundraising arm of the CHOC Follies has been in the capable hands of co-chairs whom have made the incredible difference in raising big dollars for the hospital.
The credit goes to Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, Dale Skiles, SueAnn Cross, Leslie Cancellieri, Betty Belden-Palmer, Cathy Leffleur-Cimoch, Julie Davidson, and Michael Cipolla. Funds raised from this year’s Follies will support CHOC’s KidsCare Fund. To learn more visit chocfollies.org.
Blessed Are The Children
Is there anything more important in life than taking care of innocent children?
Perhaps more serious than so many of the other challenges facing society today is the rampant and pervasive neglect of children, a scourge which crosses all socioeconomic boundaries, not only in the United States but worldwide.
It is sad that Americans have been overwhelmed by the stress of modern life and unfortunately so many have taken out their frustration, anger and disappointment on their children.
Government agencies serving American citizens step in to rescue many abused children. But the numbers have become daunting and the task overwhelming. Private citizens, dedicated to saving kids step up to make a discernible difference.
This aspect of American charity has long been a hallmark of American idealism recognized worldwide. The function of the private citizen “do-gooder” is more important today than ever before.
In Orange County recently, Childhelp hosted its 31st annual “For The Love Of A Child” fashion show and luncheon at The Island Hotel, Newport Beach.
Co-chaired by Katherine Meredith and Diana Miner, the event attracted some 400 guests raising approximately $300,000 for the Orange County chapter of the national organization created to rescue abused and abandoned children, that in many cases government agencies have not been able to assist.
The Childhelp family is, simply put, a love fest of close friends who have shared the passion and purpose of the organization for decades.
This is not just a “ladies who lunch” social group. All of the key players roll up their sleeves and volunteer to assist at the Childhelp home in Beaumont, California as well as other smaller group homes here in Orange County.
For anyone who has visited the Beaumont facility, it is a wake-up call to the seriousness of the child abuse situation. Many of the children rescued have suffered horrendous tragedy. Turning their lives around takes consent love, care, guidance, supervision, and 24/7 understanding.
Childhelp national board member Patti Edwards has been the leader of the pack throughout her lifetime.
Edwards joined Orange County chapter president Christine Bren, welcoming many of the dedicated volunteers including Julia Argyros, with daughters Lisa Argyros and Stephanie Argyros, Beverly Cohen, Zee Allred, Catherine Emmi, Marie Gray, Cate Heck, Eve Ruffato, Sandi Simon and Valaree Wahler.
Also supporting Childhelp were Donna Clark, Wendy Hales, Cleo Bluth, Olivia Abel, Jacquie Casey, Jennifer Segerstrom, JoAnn Fanticola, Priscilla Marconi, Deborah Nesbitt, Rebecca McLarand and Janet Ronnenberg.
Annual Childhelp awards were granted to Lisa Castetter, founder of Teen Leadership Foundation, receiving the “Children’s Friend Award.”
The annual “Inspiration Award” was presented to Julia Argyros in recognition of her leadership and generous philanthropy.