The grounds of Mission San Juan Capistrano will fill with guests on Friday, Sept. 14, for an evening filled with music, dining and activities.

The annual Romance of the Mission benefit gala will begin at 6 p.m. with an opening reception in the Mission’s Front Gardens followed by a concert, traditional bell ringing and a candlelight four-course dinner.

The concert will feature Jackie Evancho, a star on NBC’s America’s Got Talent and the youngest-ever solo platinum artist.

Evancho, now 18, made her appearance on the program when she was 10. Since then, she’s gained global recognition and has released a string of platinum and gold albums. She will be performing the concert in the ruins of the Great Stone Church.

This year’s honorees will be Madeline and James Irvine Swinden, who will be honored for their leadership and support of preservation efforts, according to a news release.

Madeline Swinden is the founding chair of the Mission’s benefit gala and has served on the Mission Preservation Board for several years.

James Irvine Swinden is a fifth generation Californian and a founding member of the California Cultural and Historic Endowment.

Recently, he helped to establish The Irvine Museum dedicated to California Impressionism. He was also a driving force for the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art.

“As devoted advocates for the arts, education and health sciences, Madeline and James Irvine Swinden have long supported historic Mission San Juan Capistrano along with numerous philanthropic causes throughout California,” the release states.

Organizers are encouraging those who would like more information on underwriting or reservations, or who want to request an invitation, to contact Barb Beier at 949.234.1323 or

Mission San Juan Capistrano is located at 26801 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano.

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