Santa Monica High School’s Barnum Hall rocked last Saturday night with the sounds of Jackson Browne, David Crosby and Venice. The evening raised about $150,000 for arts education in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
Linda Gross, Executive Director of the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF), stressed that this year’s concert raised approximately $53,000 over last year because an auction of Grammy tickets, guitars and a drum set was added to this year’s festivities. Another factor was additional corporate sponsors. Last year’s concert was sponsored solely by Yahoo!, while this year Intel, City National Bank and the Proaccianti Group (TPG Developers) also participated. The corporate sponsorship, along with For the Arts (a campaign of SMMEF to ensure all District students receive an arts education), the Artists for the Arts Foundation (a nonprofit foundation dedicated to producing fundraising concerts) and the local community will make it possible for 100 percent of the concert’s ticket sales to go to fund music programs in the District.
The money raised will help fund a guitar class at Olympic High School, the Dream Winds program at the District’s four Title I elementary schools (McKinley, John Muir, Edison and Will Rogers) and the Dream Winds program at Lincoln Middle School (LMS) and John Adams Middle School (JAMS). Funding will also go to a Dream Strings program at LMS and JAMS, and towards a new program called Rocking in the Classroom. According to Gross, “This literacy-based program will use music to teach literacy standards to 5th Graders at Grant Elementary School.” The remaining money will be added to the District’s Arts Endowment Fund.
The sell-out crowd of 1,250 came not only from the local community, but from as far away as New York, Arizona, Texas, Pennsylvania and Northern California. Gross told the Mirror those from out of the area learned about the concert from the artists’ websites.
Fans rocked to Venice, including “The Romance That Never Was” from the new Amsterdam album, as well as “Back to the Well,” “Thing Again” and “The Family Tree.” The audience was also treated to a song about racial harmony, “Candombe Mulatto,” sung by Samohi principal Dr. Hugo Pedroza while he played guitar. Headliner Browne performed “Lawless Avenue” with student guitarists, in addition to “The Only Child” and “The Pretender” with Venice. David Crosby performed the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young classics “Long Time Gone,” “Wooden Ships,” “Woodstock” and “Carry On.” The final jam, always a highlight at this fundraiser, included Browne’s “Rock Me on the Water,” “Take it Easy” and “Running on Empty” as well as CSNY’s “Ohio” and “Mr. Tambourine Man,” the Bob Dylan classic covered long ago by The Byrds with David Crosby. Student musicians and District music teachers contributed to the evening, playing string instruments, guitars, drums, woodwinds and brass instruments.
Gross noted the event is “a great way to raise money” and give students the opportunity to perform with professionals. Gross also mentioned that the concert was filmed so a DVD could be created to promote the Artist for the Arts Foundation. It will be sold to raise additional funds for the District’s music programs, and should be available in about six months.