Janet Garufis of Montecito Bank & Trust and Scott Reed of the Music Academy of the West team up to lead the Up Close & Musical concert for hundreds of local students. (David Cater photo)

Nearly 300 local students from the United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Fun in the Sun program were treated to a musical morning on Monday. Up Close & Musical, now in its seventh year, was a collaboration by Janet Garufis, chairwoman and CEO of Montecito Bank & Trust, and Scott Reed, president and CEO of the Music Academy of the West, and provides kids from the United Way a unique opportunity to learn, play and witness musical performances that they otherwise might not get the chance to experience.

Children were treated to a very special musical experience. Compose Yourself! is an interactive orchestral extravaganza that encourages them to be part of the composing process. At the conclusion of the event, the result was the creation of a world premiere concert that was uniquely composed with help from the students.

“When we co-hosted the first Up Close & Musical concert seven years ago, our goal was to create a unique and meaningful annual experience for the students,” Garufis said. “It is amazing to watch them interact with the musicians and volunteers, and to see how involved and excited they are during the concert — some of them experiencing classical music for the very first time. We’re proud of the collaboration with the Music Academy of the West and the United Way of Santa Barbara County. It’s a great testament to what partnerships can bring to our community!”

Reed added: “The Music Academy seeks to cultivate the next generation of engaged, appreciative and adventurous audiences, and bringing these children to our campus to experience Compose Yourself! is a wonderful addition to their classical music experience and engages children in the compositional process. The United Way’s Fun in the Sun students help compose their own concert at the Music Academy of the West. The Music Academy greatly appreciates working with United Way and Community Corporate Sponsor Montecito Bank & Trust to bring our community together for this special event.”

The 2018 edition of this event included children from Aliso, Harding, Franklin, El Camino and Santa Ynez Fun in the Sun sites who experienced an exciting morning of outdoor activities, including face painting, jump rope, obstacle courses, and interaction with world-class musicians and their instruments. Inside Hahn Hall, guests enjoyed a special musical presentation and performance led by Music Academy alumnus, composer and conductor Jim Stephenson.

“Every summer, United Way’s Fun in the Sun scholars and staff eagerly anticipate this unique and exciting morning of fun, games and world-class music,” said Steve Ortiz, president and CEO of United Way of Santa Barbara County. “Our campers’ smiles, laughter and enthusiastic discussions after the concert are hands-down the best part of the day. Thank you to our outstanding partners, Montecito Bank & Trust and Music Academy of the West, for all of the hard work and dedication necessary to make this opportunity possible for our scholars.”

The Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted, young, classically trained musicians. At its oceanside campus in Santa Barbara, the academy provides these musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors, and soloists. The academy cultivates discerning, appreciative and adventurous audiences, presenting more than 200 public events annually, many of them free of charge. These include performances by faculty, visiting artists and fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and a fully staged opera.

United Way of Santa Barbara County has the unique and positive vision that “in our community, everyone has a hopeful future.” Since 1923, UWSBC has served Santa Barbara County community through funding, volunteer development, and by utilizing its own unique initiatives that involve dozens of local nonprofit and public sector agencies. UWSBC’s community-driven Power of Partnership priorities help children, families and seniors with a focus on education, income and health.

Montecito Bank & Trust is the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in the Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Founded in 1975, the bank celebrated its 43rd anniversary on March 17 and operates 13 branch offices in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ventura, Camarillo and Westlake Village.

Awarded the 2017 Bank of the Year (Western Independent Bankers) from among more than 550 independent community banks headquartered in 13 Western states, 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; mortgage loans, consumer loans; credit cards; merchant services; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management. Its Wealth Management Division provides comprehensive trust services and full investment management for all branch office markets.

In April, Montecito Bank & Trust earned the highest marks from both The Findley Reports and Bauer Financial, two independent services that rate the financial performance of banks. Montecito Bank & Trust received a 2017 designation of a Super Premier Performing bank by The Findley Reports, and has been designated a Premier Performing or Super Premier Performing bank 33 times since it opened its doors 43 years ago. The bank was also awarded a 5-star, Superior Bauer rating for December 31, 2017 financial data.

— Jamie Perez is the marketing manager for Montecito Bank & Trust.

Barbara Torres Otani of Montecito Bank & Trust helps with face painting during United Way’s Fun in the Sun program.

Barbara Torres Otani of Montecito Bank & Trust helps with face painting during United Way’s Fun in the Sun program. (David Cater photo)