Culture Spotlight: Rancho Santa Fe Community Concerts

Back in 2000 Holly and Tony Wilson had a brainchild wherein they would organize some free live music for friends and community members. They funded the event themselves and handwrote postcards as a way to attract viewers. Fifty or so people turned out to the Garden Center for what would be the first of the Rancho Santa Fe Community Concerts, a jovial event that saw guests bringing potluck dishes and sandwiches and mingling as they listened to a live classical performance. From the start, wine was generously provided by Northern Trust, whose own VP acted as bartender.

Jump ahead to 2015 and the Rancho Santa Fe Community Concerts now attracts over 300 guests to each of its four concerts a year. The event has grown so large that it has been moved to the Village Church Fellowship Hall on Paseo Delicias, and is now catered by Whole Foods. Northern Trust still provides the wine, and performances still wow audiences, with acts coming from all over the globe.

These days the nonprofit organization is funded solely by donations, which also extend beyond paying for the musical acts. “We donate to the community ourselves,” explains current president Gail Kendall,  “bringing performances to local schools all around the county.” Kendall says the organization also donated much to the restoration and renovation of the Village Church, and that they’re actively looking for more ways to help. “This year we’re doing something different,” says Kendall, “where we’re looking into projects that benefit schools in need of help with musical arts, such as band uniforms or even help with musical plays.”

After all, it’s still all about the music, and every year members of the board travel to Nashville to attend the Live On Stage annual showcase, which features 15-minute concerts from bands as far away as Ireland and Russia. These unique discoveries help keep the concerts fresh and exciting, and offer a wide range of tastes. Next up on November 20, the Young Irelanders bring their singing and dancing skills that fuse old world traditions with contemporary flair. Then on March 19, 2016 is pop/jazz vocalist Matt Dusk. The final concert on April 29, 2016 features country rock band Savannah Jack. Seating goes fast so guests are encouraged to purchase tickets early. And Kendall says the board of trustees is always interested in residents who would like to donate their time to the organization as well. (858.248.0892, ccrsf.org)     RYAN THOMAS

 

 

President            Gail Kendall

Secretary              Carolyn Nelson