Montecito Bank & Trust teamed up with the Music Academy of the West on Wednesday for the third year to host 280 local children for a unique musical outreach program titled “Up Close and Musical,” featuring the Music Academy’s Festival Orchestra and special guest conductor Christopher Rountree.


Music Academy of the West special guest conductor Christopher Rountree addresses the orchestra. (Tyson Blades photo)

Kids from the United Way’s Fun in the Sun program, Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara, and United Boys & Girls Clubs of Carpinteria and Goleta arrived at the Music Academy’s Miraflores campus for outdoor activities, including musical chairs with live music, face painting, arts and crafts, and a photo booth.

The real treat awaited inside Hahn Hall, where the children had the chance to hear Ludwig van Beethoven’s and Sergei Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphonies. Guest conductor Rountree led the Academy Festival Orchestra in the performance, and engaged in lively discussions with the kids about various elements of the musical pieces and the different instrument families used by the musicians.

Rountree is artistic director, conductor and founder of the experimental classical ensemble wild Up, a 24-piece orchestra that blends new music, classical repertoire, performance art and pop. Known for his lively conducting style, he has been praised by the Los Angeles Times for his “infectious enthusiasm” and The New York Times for his “elegant clarity.” Last season, Rountree debuted as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series, as well as with the San Diego Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Ensemble LPR.

A lecturer in conducting at UC Santa Barbara, he has served as assistant conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and has conducted the Winnipeg Symphony, the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic and the American Youth Symphony, among many others.

Last fall he began a series of collaborative concerts featuring wild Up and the Colburn Conservatory of Music, where he serves as both guest conductor and guest lecturer in music business.

Montecito Bank & Trust became the Music Academy’s Festival Corporate Season Sponsor during its 65th anniversary celebration in 2012, and it was then that the idea of creating the concerts for children was hatched by Janet Garufis, president and CEO of Montecito Bank & Trust, and Scott Reed, president of the Music Academy. The collaboration between Montecito Bank & Trust and the Music Academy of the West continues to grow, and this particular event has quickly blossomed into a highly-anticipated tradition.

“Montecito Bank & Trust is committed to making the communities we serve better places to live and work, and today’s event reinforces exactly why we dedicate ourselves to making that mission come true,” Garufis said. “Every child here had a unique opportunity to interact with world-class musicians and learn how they all work together to create something extraordinary. I know these children will go home with a story to tell and that this day will stick with them for years to come, and maybe even inspire them to pursue music and follow in the footsteps of the Fellows of the Music Academy. We are proud to be the Corporate Sponsor of the Music Academy and of the partnership we’ve built with Scott Reed and his team. Together we are working to inspire appreciation of classical music for the next generation.”

Music Academy President Scott Reed said, “The Music Academy of the West prides itself on community engagement, and we are especially grateful to be partnering with Montecito Bank & Trust on this very important initiative. We could not be more pleased by the enthusiasm of this year’s young participants.”

Montecito Bank & Trust would like to thank Silvergreens, Easy Lift and DJ Patrick B for helping make Wednesday’s festivities possible.


Up Close & Musical

Montecito Bank & Trust associate Ally Diamond helps kids at the face painting table. (Tyson Blades photo)

Founded in 1947, the Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted young classical musicians. The Academy provides these promising musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and frequent performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors, and soloists. Academy alumni are members of major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, opera companies, and university and conservatory faculties throughout the world. Many enjoy careers as prominent solo artists. Based in Santa Barbara, the Music Academy of the West presents more than 200 public events annually, including performances by faculty, visiting artists, and Fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and fully staged opera. Click here for more information.

Montecito Bank & Trust received a 2013 designation of a Premier Performing Bank by The Findley Reports, an independent service which rates the annual financial performance of California banks. The Findley Reports has designated Montecito Bank & Trust as a Premier Performing or Super Premier Performing bank 28 times in its 39-year history.

Montecito Bank & Trust, an S Corporation, is the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in the tri-counties. Founded in 1975, with nine branch offices located in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ventura and Westlake Village, the bank offers a variety of competitive deposit and lending solutions for businesses and consumers including business loans and lines of credit; commercial real estate finance; SBA loans; consumer loans; credit cards; merchant services; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management. Its Wealth Management Division provides full investment management as well as trust services for all branch office markets.

— Andy Silverman is a marketing coordinator for Montecito Bank & Trust.