After an illustrious career in music that began at a roller rink and includes credits as a music director for KEYT TV and the resident pianist at a number of Central Coast restaurants (including the Olive Mill Bistro in Montecito), Gil Rosas will receive the Spirit of Successful Aging Award this Saturday at With a Song in My Heart, the concert benefit for the Center for Successful Aging (CSA). Featuring some of Santa Barbara’s finest professional musicians, the event celebrates Rosas’s career with a program of music from the Great American Songbook by composers such as Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Jerome Kern, and George Gershwin. These classics of the American musical canon will be played in both traditional and contemporary styles for a unique afternoon of music that supports the CSA’s mission to provide community programs designed to help area senior citizens maintain an independent lifestyle.
Rosas is honored to be receiving this award. “Music has definitely kept me young,” he said. “Being able to do what I love all these years and bring joy to people gives me great pleasure.” Now in his early eighties, Rosas has played the piano daily for more than 60 years, sometimes for up to several hours a day. He’s currently enjoying semi-retirement, but he still relishes the opportunity to perform the classic music that he loves, especially to support vital senior-assistance programs provided by the CSA, such as counseling, pet therapy, telephone-reassurance services, and in-home assistance.
Produced by Rod Lathim, the concert also features vocalists Kimberly Ford and Luca Ellis, Tom Buckner on alto/soprano sax, pianist and vocalist George Friedenthal, guitarist and vocalist Jackson Gillies, guitarist Chris Judge, drummer Tom Lackner, and bassist Randy Tico.
With a Song in My Heart: Music from the Great American Song Book takes place Saturday, April 1, 2 p.m., at Marjorie Luke Theatre (721 E. Cota St.). For tickets, call (805) 898-8080 or see brownpapertickets.com/event/2721303.