• Participants of United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Fun in the Sun program take their seats in Hahn Hall at the Music Academy of the West on Monday to hear a performance by cellist and Music Academy alumnus Joshua Roman. The performance was part of Up Close and Musical, a program at the Music Academy created in partnership with Montecito Bank & Trust.

Nearly 300 students from United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Fun in the Sun program were treated to a musical morning on Monday.

Up Close and Musical, now in its sixth year, was created by the team of 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 United Way a unique opportunity to learn, play and witness musical performances that they otherwise might not get the chance to experience.

The 2017 edition of this joyous event saw children from Aliso, Harding, Franklin, El Camino and Santa Ynez Fun in the Sun sites experience an exciting morning of outdoor activities, including face painting, jumping rope, navigating obstacle courses and interacting with world-class musicians and their instruments, before heading inside Hahn Hall for a special musical presentation and performance led by cellist and Music Academy alumnus Joshua Roman.

Megan Orloff, marketing director for Montecito Bank & Trust, reflected on the event: “Music is a powerful tool, and when you bring together 300 motivated kids, dozens of dedicated volunteers and a world-class performance at the stunning Music Academy campus, it’s impossible not to feel energized. It’s such an honor to be involved with this one-of-a-kind event, and every year you walk away knowing that you’ve helped make a meaningful impact on these young lives. Up Close and Musical is a day we all look forward to, and working with our wonderful partners at the Music Academy and the United Way is always a rewarding experience.”

Roman returned alongside the JACK Quartet to discuss music making and to perform a piece by 16th-century composer Carlo Gesualdo. They then jumped forward 400 years to present day, speaking of music by living composers such as Jeremy Friedman, and rounded out the morning with a Q&A session with the children.

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 a world-class performance by Joshua Roman and JACK Quartet is a wonderful addition to their classical music experience. 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.”

“United Way and the Fun in the Sun scholars and staff are so grateful to have this unique opportunity to enjoy a morning of fun and games, and listen to world-class music right in their own backyard,” said Steve Ortiz, president and CEO of United Way of Santa Barbara County. “After the concert, the enthusiasm of our happy campers as they discuss their favorite part says it all. We deeply appreciate Montecito Bank & Trust and Music Academy of the West’s hard work and dedication to make this possible for our scholars.”