As executive director of Serving People in Need, Jean Wegener has worked to help make sure its silver anniversary gala will be a great one Friday night at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa.
"It's the 25th for us," she said of SPIN, which was founded in Newport Beach 25 years ago. "It's a big accomplishment. We want to go all out this year."
With that in mind, the SPIN celebration will feature Sugar Ray and the band's frontman, Mark McGrath, who grew up in Newport Beach and attended Corona del Mar High School. The band, which became famous in the late '90s, will perform at the gala, a fundraising event that will help SPIN's housing programs that assist Orange County residents in times of financial hardship.
Having Sugar Ray perform at the SPIN event is perfect because there is a connection, Wegener said.
About 20 years ago, when SPIN held thefirst of its annual fundraiser dinners, Wegener said she talked to staff about having a musical act for the event. Karen Nichol, who remains on the advisory board, volunteeredher young son, Joseph McGinty Nichol, and his friends, who included McGrath.
That was before they became famous. Joseph, now known as McG, left music and became a movie director and TV show producer.
McG, who produced "The O.C.," is the main celebrity in a special promotional video for SPIN that will be shown at the gala. Wegener said she isn't sure if McG will attend, but she is grateful for his help.
"At our first dinner it was unknown that [McGrath and McG] were there," she said. "The time seemed to be perfect for our event, and it's like it's come around full circle."
An anticipated crowd of at least 500 guests is expected.
McGrath, and Sugar Ray, have played to much bigger crowds, to be sure. But they were willing when SPIN asked them to perform at its event.
In the late '90s, Sugar Ray was huge and proved to be much more than a one-hit wonder with pop party songs like "Fly," "Every Morning," "Someday" and "When It's Over."
McGrath and the band remain somewhat relevant from those hits. (He couldn't grant an interview with the Daily Pilot because of his busy schedule, a publicist/representative said.)
McGrath played this past summer with Smashmouth and the Gin Blossoms as part of the "Under the Sun" tour.
Two of the original members of Sugar Ray — bassist Murphy Karges and drummer Stan Frazier — are no longer in the band and recently filed a lawsuit against McGrath alleging a "series of self-serving and vindictive actions."
McGrath keeps performing, and Rodney Sheppard remains as the only other band member.
McGrath remains a part of pop culture, even though to a lot of people he may be just thought of as a lead singer of a '90s band. In addition to his music, he has been a TV show host and dabbled in acting since he made it big with Sugar Ray.
The people at SPIN are excited for Sugar Ray and the fundraising event that will also feature a dinner prepared by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer and Manfred Lassahn, the executive chef at the Huntington Beach Hyatt Regency.
"Our 25th anniversary gala represents a very special occasion recognizing generous people in the Orange County community who have helped countless families in crisis put their lives back together and protect their children under dire circumstances," Wegener said in an email.
Tickets are $250 per person. For more information or to make a reservation, email KimF@SpinOC.org or call (714) 751-1101, ext. 19.
An autographed guitar from McGrath is to be auctioned among other items at the SPIN gala.