By STAFF     9/18/2015

This evening’s Romance of the Mission benefit gala at the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano will provide funds for the ongoing conservation and preservation of the mission. The annual fundraiser supports the Mission Preservation Foundation and proceeds from this evening’s gala will fund the final phase of the Sala Preservation Project.

The event coincides with the upcoming canonization of the mission’s founder, Blessed Junipero Serra, who will be acknowledged during the evening.

Wylie and Bette Aitken, longtime supporters of the conservation and preservation of the mission will be honored at the gala. Wylie Aitken has served on the board of the Mission Preservation Foundation for more than a decade. During his tenure, the board oversaw significant conservation projects including the stabilization of the Great Stone Church ruins, conservation of the Serra Chapel, new interpretation and upgrades in the South and West Wing museum rooms, and The Gate House and Sala Preservation Projects.

“Bette and I are truly honored and humbled to be the 2015 Romance of the Mission honorees,” Aitken said. “In the year of Father Serra’s canonization, it causes reflection on how this iconic Mission has truly become ‘the jewel’ which has positively touched so many lives,” the couple said upon accepting the recognition.

This year’s benefit gala concert features award-winning New York vocalists Scott Coulter, Lee Lessack, and John Boswell with their performance entitled, ‘That’s Life!, A Toast to Sinatra’ paying homage to Frank Sinatra during what would have been his 100th birthday year.

Following the concert a candlelight four-course dinner will be served, hosted by longtime Mission supporter, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.