The second annual Ventura Music Festival Cabaret featuring legendary jazz singer Billy Valentine on Thursday, April 20, 6 to 9:30 pm, in the Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort Ballroom, honored Doug Halter and E. J. Harrison & Sons for extraordinary contributions to the community and the arts. Proceeds from tribute sponsorships and dinner and show tickets benefitted the VMF Young Artists Fund.
“Entrepreneur Doug Halter has been essential to the founding of such core City cultural assets as the Rubicon Theatre, Ventura Music Festival and Ventura Botanical Gardens as well a strong supporter of downtown redevelopment and LGBTQ issues” said VMF Executive Director Susan Scott, speaking of the 2017 honorees. “E.J. Harrison & Sons’ generosity has included lifelong support for countless County social, health and cultural organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs and Chambers of Commerce, with major gifts to the new Community Memorial Hospital and Museum of Ventura County. In addition, this family enterprise celebrating its 85th anniversary has been recognized for its environmentally-sound and innovative practices in the waste management field.”
The Cabaret expands a tradition—born of earlier visual arts auctions and “Evenings of Note” honoring cultural patrons—of recognizing businesses and individuals whose impact to Ventura has been vital and long term, while raising money for the VMF Young Artists Fund. The fund underwrites Music in the Schools, a year-round elementary school music education program, as well as performances by outstanding young musicians.
Billy Valentine, an actor, singer and songwriter inspired by Otis Reading, Nat King Cole and Carmen McRae, headlined the cabaret entertainment, which also featured video tributes which were later posted on YouTube. Valentine began his solo career opening for such luminaries as Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway in the 1970s and performs clubs. His was the glorious voice heard every week on the TV series, Boston Legal.
The VMF Event Committee of Nan Drake, Barbara Brown, Randy Encinas, Blake Wade, Michael Boyko, Ginny Claborn, Freddie Contarino and Tim Smith also invited businesses and individuals to sponsor tribute ads and messages for publication online and in a custom print program for the Cabaret audience.
Click here to view the 2018 Cabaret Program.