Over the past year the Santa Clara Performing Arts Foundation has worked behind the scenes to promote Santa Clara’s talented and diverse performing arts companies, and to help those companies build secure futures in the city.
Last Saturday, the SCPAF took the spotlight to celebrate its first birthday. An elegant evening of dinner entertainment for 150 people, “Celebrate Santa Clara Arts 2020,” was hosted and sponsored by the Hilton Santa Clara. The event raised about $6,000 for the all-volunteer group’s programs.
The evening featured a sumptuous menu prepared by La Fontana Chef Luis Dinis and a showcase of audience-pleasing live entertainment. In addition, the multi-talented young women of the Miss Santa Clara Auxiliary circulated in the crowd selling raffle tickets.
There were selections from Santa Clara Ballet’s ever-popular Nutcracker; previews of Mission Chamber Orchestra’s, Opera Bravura’s, and sjDANCEco’s upcoming shows; selections from Tabia’s African drumming and Shri Krupa’s classical Indian dance performances; Gilbert & Sullivan from the Lyric Theatre; and an original composition by Santa Clara pianist and composer Benjamin Belew.
Miss Santa Clara Molly Crawford and Miss Santa Clara Outstanding Teen Krista Buzolich gave the audience a taste of the high-energy dance routines that catapulted the pair into their current offices. Baritone Michael Taylor and the Festival Theatre Ensemble reprised their winning performances from last year’s SCPAF event. Taylor’s performance of the ever-popular Toreador Song had the audience singing along, while FTE let the audience decide the ending of their Elizabethan swordfight.
The SCPAF chose an innovative way to share its vision for the future of the performing arts in Santa Clara. “Celebrate Santa Clara Arts 2020’s” program was a newspaper – designed and produced by SCPAF VP Melissa McKenzie – that showcased each company’s current work and their aspirations for the future. Event sponsors joined in the imagineering, with Griffin Structures introducing a space age Tesla Hyperloop Campus, Rudolph & Sletten envisioning Santa Clara’s first net-zero energy Performing Arts Center, and Related California picturing a panorama of a buzzing downtown landscape.
Highlighting the importance of performing companies grounded in the community, the Foundation presented its first-ever Arts Pioneers Award to Santa Clara Ballet Founder Josefa Reyes. The SCPAF also presented its first Founder’s Award the San Francisco 49ers organization.
In 2012, the SCPAF launched its organization with “An Evening Under the Fireworks with the San Francisco 49ers,” sponsored by the 49ers at their headquarters. “That initial sponsorship was absolutely critical to our being here today, and we wanted to honor the 49ers organization in a special way” said SCPAF Founder and President Carolyn Schuk.
A lively keynote from Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews highlighted the important role of the arts in a progressive community like Santa Clara, and expressed his hopes for the future.
“Related is working on their proposal for what is now the golf course, and that is a blank slate for creating something truly unique,” he said. “It will have more than just retail – and it will have great retail. It will have more than just office space – and it will have great office space. It will have more then residential – and it will have great residential. It will also have arts, entertainment and culture that draw people from all over to come to Santa Clara and stay.”
The SCPAF’s programs include arts marketing services, educational and networking events, a growing database of information about Santa Clara’s performing venues, collaborations with other non-profits, and support for programs that encourage youth arts participation. For information, visit www.santaclaraarts.org.