Foundation Gala has ‘Rhythm & Soul’

Kara Willingham

In an effort to raise funds for scholarships and the needs of the school, the Saddleback College Foundation sponsored the eighth annual “Rhythm and Soul” Gala at the Mission Viejo Country Club Sept. 22.

The silent auction and appetizers began at 6:30 p.m. allowing the guests to scan the items up for auction and bid. The items that were op for auction varied in price, quality and style and ranged from box seats at Angel Stadium to sculptures made by local artists such as an Alabaster boat sculpture entitled “Sail Away”. Guests mingled with community members prior to the main event. When the Wayne Foster entertainment band began to play the attendees took their seats and prepared for the elegant dinner and awards.

“It is wonderful, every year it goes up, we make about $75,000 and have more than 100 auction items,” said Marcia Marycz, chairman of the Gala. “This year is different; it’s dinner and a show”.

Over the years the event has become more successful.

“Our goal tonight is to have a successful gala,” said Marycz, “so it can continue to grow and we’ll be able to support the college.”

The night included the celebration of Tim Wallach’s alumni of the year award. Wallach has won many other awards and played for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“We support the community college and raise awareness,” said Gail Reavis, Mayor of Mission Viejo. “I always remind people that we’re a college town and not many cities can say that.”

The Gaucho pride was consistent through the night as guests complimented the programs at Saddleback.

“Saddleback is a wonderful asset in the community,” Reavis said. “The nursing program puts out most of the nurses in the county and it is the best program in the county.”

Community members and private businesses donated items for auction.

“We donated because we wanted to help the foundation,” said Osman Rustamzada, owner of Rustamzada Rugs Gallery. “Life is too short, we donate every year.”

The preparation for the event is extensive. Marycz said that she has been planning since the end of last year’s gala.

“We have to plan ahead. The date, place and entertainment are the most important,” she said. “It has grown a lot and every year we make more money.”

One hundred percent of the proceeds go to Saddleback and are used for student scholarships.

“We give grants to faculty and staff for things that the college doesn’t have money for,” said Michelle Anstadt, Director of the foundation. “We had 275 people here; [even] charger cheerleaders community members.”


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