It was the 24th annual event planned, produced and presented by Santa Barbara’s indefatigable Transition House Auxiliary.
The Transition Auxiliary is such a happily enthusiastic and dedicated group! It was formed 20 years ago, in 1993, to support the children and families at Transition House.
The nonprofit Transition House itself is dedicated to helping motivated families get out of poverty and homelessness through a range of programs that include life tools, residential services and housing help.
In 1998, the Transition Auxiliary launched its first Mad Hatter Luncheon, one of THE events to attend because it is such a sweet crowd clad in clever, creative and couture hats.
This group is so dedicated, I love to note the familiar faces and names each year, such as Missy Sheldon, Mimi Veyna, Gayla Visalli, Becky Adams, Wendy Clapp, Lana Marmé, Kathryn Dinkin and Diane White, with Jean Keely as luncheon co-chairwoman.
There were a lot of interesting items! Cool funky items — antiques even! At any rate, these were not at all the usual silent auction table, so kudos to the gals who rounded up the goods!
Next, we all sat down to a nice lunch, fine and dandy. At this point they introduced some of the staff from one table.
OK, so this was the coolest thing.
Well, a mob of millinery all poured over the many silent auction items, carefully curated by the Auxiliary members.
I think there were five or six men and women who were former clients — just children when their families came to Transition House years ago.
Most had been about 8 to 10 years old at the time, and, like their parents, were initially nervous to come to Transition House.
They were relieved to find it was not a homeless shelter, but a program to help their parents get back on their feet … with plenty of activities for the kids (and even help with school work!)
The wonderful thing was that these staff members so gratefully remembered their experience at Transition House.
Now as adults, they wanted to help other families and especially children. (How is this for a stat? One third of the staff were clients at Transition House when they were children.)
With that kind of endorsement, how could we not want to go further to help Transition House? Once we started “The Beg” (er, I mean paddle raise), with the enthusiastic encouragement of emcee Andrew Firestone, people found it easy to give generously.
The Transition House Auxiliary welcomes prospective members who are interested in learning more and joining the great team of vibrant women and men. Click here for more information, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faces, Feet and Fame of the Music Academy
Many longtime residents may not be aware that around the turn of the millennia, the Music Academy of the West made a brave, bold and strategic move: it decided to put all of its students on scholarships.
This meant it was seeking out the best of the best, and willing to raise the funds to make it happen.
The extraordinary talent polished and prepared here by an exceptional staff of world-class musicians, means the Music Academy is renowned as one of the premier institutions producing the next generation of classical music stars.
So this brings us to the academy’s summer gala — The Magic of Miraflores — held on the garden campus at 1070 Channel Drive in Montecito.
It attracted the longtime loyal supporters who have reveled in seeing the Music Academy’s history of accomplishment.
So many familiar faces … almost 400 people to be inexact, and among them I noted Barbara and Wayne Smith, Val and Bob Montegomery, Jocelyn and Bill Meeker, Amanda McIntyre, Catherine Gee and Chris Lancashire, Ruth Green, Paul Guido, Marc Galinas, Chris and Bob Emmons, Dianne and Robert Duva, Vanesa Faciane, Danna McGrew, Marge Cafarelli, Anna and Bion Rice, Perrin and Anais Pellegrin, and Ellen and Tom Orlando.
I want to point out that there is a new energetic crowd of young people vitally involved at the Music Academy and getting behind its successes.
The best way I can explain this generation is probably with their shoes. As you can see below, … these are well-heeled women with a lot of sole … (OK, I’ll stop now).
The evening was not over before a sweet salute to send off Scott Reed, who is leaving after 25 years with the Music Academy, the last dozen as president and CEO.
And — speaking to Reed’s own experience — an intern coming to work at the Music Academy could end up as its president.
Oh wait! I did not discuss the MUSIC — after all, that was ultimately what we were there for!
What a night! It opened with THE renowned Russian piano virtuoso Vassily Primakov, who was a Music Academy of the West student when only 17.
Then, speaking of Bradley, she wowed the audience with her magnificent soprano. She had all the power of a mezzo and all the fluidity of a lyric, and just sang and sang and sang …. thrilling us all with her innate musicality on a variety of arias.
She officially finished with a gospel number, but then delivered an encore with a little-known Broadway gem: “If You Believe” from The Wiz.
And then Bradley came back and sang “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” with the new SING! Children’s Choir, which was magnificently instructed and conducted, I must add, by the talented Erin McKibbon.