Billy Idol, Dave Mason and Venice (the band) took the stage at Santa Monica High School’s Greek Theater last Saturday night to raise funds for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s arts programs.
According to an e-mail to the Mirror from Linda Gross, the Executive Director of the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF), this year’s concert is expected to raise less money from the ticket proceeds and live auction than last year. For the last five years, corporate sponsorships were helping to write off 100 percent of the production costs so 100 percent of the ticket proceeds could go to the School District. However, this year this was not possible because the sponsorship amounts were lower and the production costs were higher.
Tickets for this year’s concert were priced lower, from $35 to $500, while last years price range was $50 to $1,000. This year’s major corporate sponsors were City National Bank, Intelli-Tech, Lexington, Bob’s Market, and The Sheraton Delfina Hotel. Their sponsorship, along with donations from other corporations and For the Arts (a campaign of SMMEF), the Artists for the Arts Foundation (AFTAF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to producing fundraising concerts, and the local community will make it possible to help fund the District’s music programs for the 2009-2010 academic year.
The concert did not sell out, but Gross estimates that about 2,000 people attended.
As in past years student musicians from the School District played a big part in the concert. When Venice performed “Baby’s Calling” and “One Quiet Day” they were accompanied by the Santa Monica High School (SAMOHI) orchestra. Six SAMOHI horn players called the Unprotected Six played along with Venice on their “Superstition Medley” and their performance of “September.” The SAMOHI Jazz Band Quintet then played “I Wish.” The orchestra also joined Dave Mason with Venice when they performed “We Just Disagree.” When headliner Billy Idol sang “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” the orchestra and the SAMOHI Choir also accompanied him as well. They performed again with Idol on “Eyes Without A Face” along with Malibu High School guitarist, Ethan Ross. All the students performed when Idol sang “Mony, Mony,” during the “Feelin Alright Medley” with Idol and Mason, and in the final jam that closed the concert. The concert concluded with Venice’s Kipp Lennon saying “See you next year.”
Gross also noted in her e-mail that, “SMMEF is so excited about the overwhelming success of our For The Arts Benefit Concert! As we all know, these times are tough for everyone so it is inspiring when professional musicians donate their time and talent to sustain arts programs in our public schools. This concert is our most anticipated event of the year and we are delighted that the reach is both local and national.”