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The most exclusive gala benefit hosted in Orange County every year. Features a pre-show hosted reception, extravagant entertainment in the Great Stone Church and the most romantic dinner setting display. Underwriting opportunities available.

Event Information

Friday, September 13, 2024

Reception in the Mission Gardens
Entrance through the Mission Gate House, 26801 Old Mission Road
Black Tie attire, no denim please

Concert in the Ruins of the Great Stone Church, circa 1812

Mission Central Courtyard
Hospitality and Catering Services Provided by
Inn at the Mission, San Juan Capistrano.
Decor and design services generously given by Roger’s Gardens.


1. Underwrite the Event/Attend the Underwriting Party on May 29, 2024:
Please contact Mechelle Lawrence Adams at (949) 234-1311 or email

2. Purchase Opportunity Drawing tickets:
Please contact Mariela Martinez at (949) 234-1312 or email

3. Join Waiting List for limited available tickets ($1,000 each):
Please contact Mechelle Lawrence Adams at (949) 234-1311 or email or Mariela Martinez at (949) 234-1312 or email

For those who are unable to attend the Romance of the Mission but still want to support the Mission, please consider making a one-time donation to support the new Mission student audio tour at

Ticket Policies

Ticket sales are final. Mission San Juan Capistrano is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. It requires immense effort and administration to process ticket orders. We are unable to accommodate refunds or exchanges. Thank you for your understanding.

Should there be conditions related to weather, rain, emergency or other conditions beyond control of Mission staff that should necessitate cancellation of the event, tickets will not be refunded. Please consider the cost of your tickets a charitable donation in support of Mission San Juan Capistrano, historic California landmark #200 and 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization #33-0833283.

2023 Romance of the Mission Honorees

Mission San Juan Capistrano Preservation Board of Directors proudly announces the 2023 Romance of the Mission benefit gala honorees:

Farmers & Merchants Bank, The Walker Family

The Board of Directors of the Mission Preservation Foundation are pleased to announce that this year’s event honors and celebrates the significant and meaningful support of Farmers & Merchants Bank, and specifically the Walker Family. Together, both the banking institution and family, ensured the ongoing operations and stewardship of the Mission during its closure caused by the pandemic. Because of their support, the Mission was able to secure $982,093 in PPP funding which enabled the historic site to stay afloat and reopen despite the precarious economics conditions of the time. Additionally, Farmers and Merchants Bank has a long history of supporting the Mission’s signature events. Collectively, Farmers & Merchants Bank and the Walker Family, have made an immeasurable impact.

“Giving back to organizations that provide such a powerful service to the community is a privilege. We value the Mission’s preservation and stewardship of the historical site, as well as the events that bring our neighbors together and create a strong sense of community.”

Dan Walker

“We would not be in the fully operable and accessible situation that we are today without Farmers & Merchants Bank and the Walker Family. They are terrific. We are so proud to work with them and honor them this year.

George O’Connell, Mission Preservation Foundation President

Registry of “Romance of the Mission” Honorees

2022 Joan and Bill Cvengros
2021 – Connie and Dr. Peter Spenuzza
2019 – Carol and Don Dorkowski
2018 – Madeline and James Irvine Swinden
2017 – Sheila and James Peterson
2016 – The Ladies and Gentlemen of
               The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

2015 – Bette and Wylie Aitken
2014 – El Viaje de Portola
2013 – Mike Hagan

2012 – Jan and Honorable H. Warren Siegel
2011 – Reverend Msgr. Arthur A. Holquin
2010 – Gilbert G. Aguirre
2009 – Congresswoman Patricia Bates
2008 – Father O’Sullivan
2007 – EJ Tracy
2006 – General and Mrs. William Lyon
2005 – Richard J. O’Neill
2004 – Joan Irvine Smith

2023 Romance of the Mission Concert Artists

Lyric, The Trio

This year’s concert will feature a trio of female vocalists, Jenny Kid, Marisa Matthews and Tomasina Abate, who comprise the music group, LYRIC. These powerhouse artists sing hits from every decade, as they will execute precise harmonies center stage in the Ruins of the Great Stone Church.

About Jenny Kid
Jenny Kid is a talented Los Angeles based singer and songwriter. As a seasoned session singer and live performer, she was selected to perform on the, Live! With Kelly show and has been heard singing on the Disney Channel’s Sofia the First! Some of Jenny’s most memorable moments are recording at Capitol Records and performing at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards with Live It Up Productions.

About Marisa Matthews
Marisa Matthews is a singer, actor and dancer that has performed all over the country. A Masters graduate in Acting and Performing from The American Conservatory Theatre, Marisa has stared in leading roles including: Eva Peron (Evita, SDRep), Polly Peachum (ThreePenny Opera, A Noise Within) and Velma Kelly (Chicago, Prima Teatro/Italy) to name a few. She most recently danced and sang her way across The Palazzo Theatre stage in Las Vegas in the musical spectacular, BAZ: Star Crossed Love.

About Tomasina Abate
Tomasina is from Long Beach, California and has performed at The Viper Room, Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and House of Blues Anaheim opening for artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder. Her background in music theory, music composition and recording technology led her to musical theatre in roles such as Sally Bowles (Caberet) and Velma Kelly (Chicago). 

Registry of “Romance of the Mission” Gala Concert Artists

2022 Artists – Vonzell Solomon and Terron Brooks
2021 Artist – Loren Allred
2019 Artist –
Steve Tyrell
2018 Artist – Jackie Evancho
2017 Artist – Heather Headley
2016 Artist – Clark Beckham
2015 Artist – Scott Coulter, Lee Lessack, John Boswell
2014 Artist – David Burnham
2013 Artist – Susan Egan

2012 Artist – Davis Gaines
2011 Artist – Rod Gilfry
2010 Artist – Robin Follman
2009 Artist – Benise
2008 Artist – Nyle Wolfe
2007 Artist – Nichael Amante Encore
2006 Artist – Melissa Manchester
2005 Artist – Michael Feinstein
2004 Artist – Michael Amante Returns

2023 Opportunity Drawing

From Our Friends – Great Opportunities

Necklace and Pendant
Gifted by Lugano Diamonds
Exquisite pendant necklace showcasing a ruby cross with 7.5 carats
and an 18k gold chain adorned with rubies and diamonds for extra brilliance.

Stay and Play Package
Gifted by Inn at the Mission, San Juan Capistrano
Value $4,500
Includes a Two-Night Stay (1 Bedroom Villa), Valet Parking, Destination Fee, Dinner for (2) at Ysidora ($200 dinner value) and (2) 50 Minute Spa Treatments ($600 value). *Restrictions apply

Stay and Play Package

Gifted by Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club
Value $3,400
Two Night Stay in a Resort View Room, Complimentary Resort Fee and Valet Parking + Dinner for (2) at AVEO Table + Bar ($200.00 maximum dinner value).

Pair of Electric Bikes
Gifted by Buy My Bikes, San Juan Capistrano
Value $4,000

Sonance Garden Series
Gifted by Geoff Spencer of Sonance Foundation
Value $4,500
The Sonance Garden Series is the perfect balance of performance and simplicity in an outdoor audio system. With 8 satellite speakers, one subwoofer, and an amplifier, this system is ideal for outdoor areas up to 3,500 square feet.

Presented by the Mission Preservation Board of Directors

George O’Connell, President
Wylie A. Aitken
Darren O. Aitken
Trevor Baird
Vicky Carabini

William Cvengros
EJ Farrell
Kerry Herbert

Reverend Monsignor J. Michael McKiernan, Pastor
Reverend Monsignor Arthur A. Holquin, Retired
Paul Mikos
Anthony R. Moiso, Founding President
Connie Spenuzza
Seth R. Teigen

2024 Gala Committee

Kerry Herbert
Vicky Carabini
Laura Freese
Evonne Morton
Daisy Funk
Jan Siegel
Lisa Renee Baker

Laura Baratta
Mechelle Lawrence Adams
Stephanie Montes de Oca

2023 Romance of the Mission Underwriters

Eden and George O’Connell – O’Connell Family Foundation
Melinda and Tony Moiso – Rancho Mission Viejo

$34,000 – $25,000
Farmers & Merchants Bank
Bette and Wylie Aitken
Laurie and Darren Aitken
EJ and Michael Farrell
The Griffith Family
Kerry and Gavin Herbert Jr. – Roger’s Gardens
Deanna and Robert Saint-Aubin

$24,000 – $14,000
BCT Entertainment

Suzi and Paul Mikos
Lugano Diamonds, Newport Beach
Jan and Honorable H. Warren Siegel
Gilbert Aguirre
Jeanne and Greg Baird – Trevor’s at the Tracks
Tiffany and Trevor Baird -Trevor’s at the Tracks
Brand Enhance Parking & Hospitality
Connor, Fletcher & Hedenkamp
Joan and Bill Cvengros
Carole Follman and Adam Follman
Frome Family Foundation
Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano
Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation
James Irvine Swinden
Pam and Scott Looney
Sylvia and Kyle Franson – Rancho Capistrano Winery
Nancy and Greg Silver
Connie and Dr. Peter Spenuzza – Spenuzza Velastegui Family Foundation
Waldorf Astoria, Monarch Beach Resort & Club

$13,000 – $6,000 
The Irvine Museum

Marianne Miller
Vicky and Michael Carabini
Gretchen Augustyn
Evelyn and Dr. Alfred J. Ferrari
Damian Orozco – The Tea House on Los Rios
Providence Mission Hospital
Claudia and Randy Redwitz – Redwitz. Inc.
Lisa and John Rough
Jeanne and Bryan Stirrat
Maria Galindo – Las Golondrinas
Liz and Dan Priest – Las Golondrinas

$5,900 – $4,000
Mary and Patrick Dirk
Kathy and Sam Perricone
Dr. & Mrs. Rudolf and Diana Brutoco

Dr. Carrie and Dr. Gary Mackie
Beverly and Dr. Bruce Nickerson
Kathleen and Dr. Sam Roth

$3,900 – $3,000
Barb and Don Beier

Carolyn and Juan Forster
Suzanne and Terry McCardle – The McCardle Charitable Fund

Donations Up to $2,500
Laura and James Baratta
BBJ La Tavola
Buy My Bikes – San Juan Capistrano
Carmen and John DeCarrier Carol Dorkowski – Dondee Company
Finn Construction and Development Inc.
Linda Hakim Lynn Jochim Susan and Joseph Purcell
David Wilhelm -Tavern at the Mission
Lisa Renee Photography
Tom Baker Photography
Signature Elevated Rentals
Margaux Pierog Kugelman
Rancho Santa Fe Foundation
Carol and Admiral Russell Penniman USN
Tracie and Brian Sullivan

2023 Romance of the Mission Partners and Supporters

Event Partners

Eden and George O’Connell,
O’Connell Family Foundation

Melinda and Tony Moiso,
Rancho Mission Viejo

Underwriting and Sponsorships

Underwriting and sponsorships available for Romance of the Mission, for more information please contact Mechelle Lawrence Adams at (949) 234-1311 or email

Support Mission San Juan Capistrano and Save!

Member benefits include free daily admission and other exclusive perks.

: Join

Museum Hours

Tuesday - Sunday, 9AM - 5PM

Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Closed for Annual Gala on September 13, 2024.
Closed early Christmas Eve and Good Friday.
Hours subject to change


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26801 Old Mission Road
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 234-1300

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