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Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

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El Viaje de Portolá Named Honoree for Mission Preservation Foundation Benefit Gala and Broadway Star David Burnham is Featured Artist

Readers of this blog know that we are big fans of the Mission San Juan Capistrano.  From its founding by Father Junipero Serra in 1776, to the tragedy of the Great Stone Church to the iconic annual return of the swallows, our beloved Mission is the heart of Orange County history and a fixture of Southern California tradition and lore.  The leadership, staff, docents and volunteers at the Mission do an amazing job preserving our Jewel of the Missions and making this important historic landmark available to the public.  The Mission is worth of our support, and on Friday, September 12, 2014, we have the opportunity to support the Mission while enjoying world class entertainment in a unique location — beneath the ruins of the Great Stone Church.  This year’s Romance of the Mission 2014 Gala features David Burnham in concert and will honor another Orange County tradition, the equestrians and philanthropists of El Viaje de Portolá.

source: Mission San Juan Capistrano

Below is the Mission’s press release with all of the details: 

San Juan Capistrano, Calif. – El Viaje de Portolá, a local western riding tradition for over 50 years, will be honored at the Mission Preservation’s 2014 Romance of the Mission benefit gala on Friday, September 12.  Entertainer and Broadway star David Burnham was selected as the featured concert artist and will perform that evening in the ruins of the Great Stone Church.

“It was a unanimous decision to honor Viaje de Portolá at this year’s benefit gala as their tradition of celebrating California history is truly in line with Mission San Juan Capistrano.  I am most certain that performer David Burnham will deliver a spectacular concert helping to create that magical one-of-a-kind experience for our guests that we strive for each year at Orange County’s premier landmark,” said Mechelle Lawrence Adams, Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Executive Director.

For over 50 years, El Viaje de Portolá riders have come together for a three-day horseback riding trek in the Capistrano Valley to celebrate the American West, California history and various charitable causes. Mission Preservation Foundation has been a longtime recipient of their generosity and El Viaje de Portolá presidente Tony Gregory II will accept the award on September 12 on behalf of riders both past and present.

Mr. Burnham gained critical acclaim when he was chosen to replace Donny Osmond as Joseph in the national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He was last seen on Broadway in the mega-hit musical, Wicked, playing Fiyero, a role that he originated in the developmental workshops of the show. He toured nationally in the Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbuster Jesus Christ Superstar as Peter and is an original Broadway cast member of the musical The Light in the Piazza, performing both on the Tony Awards and the PBS telecast Live From Lincoln Center.

In addition to performing, David works extensively with kids through vocal and acting workshops and hosts a summer program for young artists with his musical director Mark Vogel called “Camp Sing.”

Burnham says, “I am thrilled to sing at the historic Mission in San Juan Capistrano.  The ruins of the Great Stone Church will be by far the most inspiring and beautiful venue I will ever perform in and I can’t wait for the opportunity.”

Mission San Juan Capistrano is located at 26801 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675. For tickets (generally sell out early), underwriting opportunities or more information about Romance of the Mission, contact Barb Beier at 949.234.1323 or visit

About Mission San Juan Capistrano

Known as the “Jewel of the Missions,” Mission San Juan Capistrano is a historic landmark and museum that boasts of quality permanent exhibits featuring original artifacts as well as traveling and temporary exhibits on a wide variety of topics.

The Mission is also Orange County’s only Mission and is a site of ongoing faith, education, preservation, and cultural event programming.  The site includes such original buildings as the Serra Chapel, Great Stone Church, and the original padres’ quarters of the South Wing.

The Mission was founded on November 1, 1776 by Padre Junipero Serra as the seventh in the chain of the twenty-one California missions established by Spain. Over 50,000 fourth grade students visit the Mission as part of their field trip learning about Early California history.

Mission San Juan Capistrano is owned by the Diocese of Orange.  Its fundraising entity, the Mission Preservation Foundation, is comprised of business and community leaders committed to ensuring the long term preservation and viability of Orange County’s only Mission. The Mission receives no funding from either the Church or the State of California and must charge admission funds as a means of providing continued public access.

A member of El Viaje de Portolá ringing the bell in honor of the empty saddle, representing riders who have passed away. Photo credit: Mission San Juan Capistrano


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