On September 29, UCSB Arts & Lectures (A&L) donors celebrated the start of its 60th season at a party in the Granada Theatre’s McCune Founders Room following a performance by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Producers Circle members were joined by Marsalis, band members, and dance stars Charles Lil Buck Riley, Jared Grimes, and Myles Yachts.
Ticket holders to the main event were beckoned by searchlights beaming far and wide across the Santa Barbara sky and tunes by student musicians in front of the Granada Theatre. They then got to experience Spaces, a 10-part suite performed by the jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and featuring Lil Buck, Jared Grimes, and Myles Yachts. The music and dance interpreted animals including snakes, monkeys, bees, lions, and penguins.
After the wildly entertaining performance, Producers Circle members retired to the McCune Founders Room, where they were joined by the stars. Miller McCune Executive Director Celesta Billeci welcomed and thanked donors and gave a special shout-out to John Arnhold for his tremendous support, which enabled the performance to happen. Billeci introduced her longtime friend, Marsalis, whose wide-ranging speech touched on the inspiration he drew from Yo-Yo Ma at a youth music camp and how difficult it is to survive in a career in the arts. He shared how blessed he feels to share his music with people all over and saluted the three dancers beside him as great geniuses. Afterwards, donors got to casually chat one-on-one with Marsalis, band members, and the dancers.
For these talented musicians, the main performance and schmoozing with donors were only two components of a packed itinerary that also included lots of time with students. The day before, about 1,400 area youth filled the Granada Theatre for a special performance of Thelonius Monk by Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Goleta and S.B Unified 4th-6th graders and 7th-12th grade S.B. jazz music students enjoyed this special performance, which explored the fundamentals of jazz and the legacy of Monk. Marsalis and his orchestra also did jazz clinics at La Colina Junior High, Dos Pueblos, Santa Barbara, and San Marcos high schools, and at UCSB. In addition, Lil Buck and Myles Yachts met with UCSB Theater Dance students.
Major donors are critical to Arts & Lectures — ticket sales and support from UCSB covers less than half of A&L’s costs. Contributions make possible not just the main performances, but also the significant community outreach and education. About half of all visiting artists and lecturers engage in some form of outreach or educational activity. A&L already has at least 25 student workshops planned for this fall.
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