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Local Children Get in Touch with Their Wild Side for Special ‘Carnival’ Experience

Montecito Bank & Trust teams up with Music Academy of the West to host pre-show festivities and a performance of The Carnival of the Animals

Montecito Bank & Trust and the Music Academy of the West hosted a special performance of Saint-Saens’ musical fantasy The Carnival of the Animals for more than 300 local kids Monday, in celebration of the Music Academy’s 65th anniversary season.

As part of its exclusive season sponsorship, Montecito Bank & Trust wanted to create a unique musical experience for youths involved in United Way’s Fun in the Sun program, the United Boys & Girls Club from Santa Barbara’s Westside and Goleta locations, and the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara.

“This is the first time the bank president said we’re doing something for the community as a part of our 65th anniversary celebration,” said Scott Reed, president of the Music Academy of the West. “Originally we were going to hold a private performance for bank associates and their families.”

Montecito Bank & Trust president and CEO Janet Garufis said bank staff had been planning the event for at least six months and were thrilled to give children the opportunity to hear and see a musical performance up close.

“We’ve planned a very special concert to introduce the kids to some of the most famous classical musicians in the world,” Garufis said. “And we hope this musical enchantment will be the first of many for them.”

According to Sara Templeton, community impact coordinator at the United Way of Santa Barbara County, more than 70 organizations take part in the organization’s Fun in the Sun program each year, but this is the first year Montecito Bank & Trust has fully sponsored an event such as The Carnival of the Animals.

“It’s important for bank associates to be out here volunteering,” said Bruce Stevens, the bank’s chief financial officer, who has participated in Fun in the Sun events for the past three years. “The staff wants to be here, to be involved with the community.”

About 25 bank associates volunteered and participated in the day’s festivities, according to Carolyn Tulloh, senior vice president and director of marketing at Montecito Bank & Trust, while another 20 volunteers came from United Way.

A pre-show carnival featured face painting, instrumental demonstrations, a Montecito Bank & Trust money booth and other games such as jump-roping, as well as festive arts and crafts geared toward the theme of wildlife and animals. Children and volunteers then filed in to Hahn Hall for the scheduled performance.

Marilyn Horne, a legendary mezzo-soprano and voice on Sesame Street, narrated the musical piece. Two pianists and various wind, string and percussion instrumentalists depicted a musical parody centered on an assortment of animals and the personalities, noises and lifestyles they may lead within the wild.

Tulloh described the event as a great success and a great experience, both for the children and volunteers.

“The bank is always looking for ways to connect with the community,” Tulloh said, “and today’s event has given us a lot of new ideas for the future.”

Noozhawk intern Amanda Garcia can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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