Anniversary Gala at the Academy

By Richard Mineards   |   June 28, 2022
Guests wait for an evening of performances, food, and fun at the Music Academy’s 75th anniversary gala

It was an evening of high note, with many in between, when Montecito’s venerable, newly renamed Music Academy celebrated its 75th anniversary with a signature gala on its 10-acre Miraflores oceanside campus for 320 guests raising around $600,000.

The boffo bash, co-chaired by the tony triumvirate of Valerie Montgomery, Kandy Luria-Budgor, and Michele Brustin, was marked by a Scheidt’s “Canzon in B-flat major” opening fanfare by trumpeters Aislin Carpenter, Kenneth Chauby, Austin Jace Cruz, and Benjamin D’Haiti, and Dietz’s “Sharpened Stick” by an energized percussion quintet.

Academy President Scott Reed described the fête as “a special time” propelling classically trained musicians forward. “It is something we are passionate about,” he proclaimed.

New York Metropolitan Opera mezzo soprano Sasha Cooke, who studied at the Music Academy in 2002 as well as Manhattan’s Juilliard School, performed a selection of operatic works by Bizet, Berlioz, Mozart, Price, Bloom, and Broadway composer Richard Rodgers, including “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel, accompanied by pianist Nino Sanikidze.

The performance wrapped with Offenbach’s “Belle nuit” from Les Contes d’Hoffmann with two-time Grammy Award winner Cooke and five other soprano singers putting on a magnificent vocal display.

Among the supporters noshing on the fare from Duo Catering were David and Sharon Bradford, Robert and Christine Emmons, Jane De Hart, Janet Garufis, Brian and Patti Herman, Seymour and Shirley Lehrer, Teresa McWilliams, Frank McGinity, Thomasine Richards, Kostis Protopapas, Leslie Ridley-Tree, Caroline Thompson, Mike and Kimberly Hayes, Robert Weinman, Luke Swetland, Xorin Balbes and Truman Davies, Maurice Singer, Kathy Martin, and Dick and Marilyn Mazess.

A magnificent musical moment…

Scott Reed, Jeremy Denk, Richard O’Neill, Clive Chang, and Dean Carter (photo by Priscilla)
Mezzo-Soprano Sasha Cooke accompanied by Georgian pianist Nino Sanikidze (photo by Priscilla)

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