Ventura Music Festival
Commitment to Education

Commitment to Educational Outreach

The Ventura Music Festival greatly appreciates its Education Outreach donors, without whom such programming would not be possible: Miriam Wille, Peter Cannon, Julius Guis Memorial Rotary Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Ventura, and Smith-Hobson Foundation.

When the Music Festival was founded in 1994, one of the stated missions was to “enhance the appreciation and joy of music through education.” Since then, the Education Outreach Program, under Artistic Director Nuvi Mehta, has exposed thousands of elementary, middle and high school students to professional quality music and encouraged participation in musical activities through workshops and master classes with world-renowned artists. The Festival’s “Rising Stars” concert showcases some of the most promising young musicians in the country and student ticket prices are offered almost exclusively for every concert.

Fewer and fewer children have the opportunity to experience live classical and jazz music. The Ventura Music Festival is committed to supplementing music education in the schools, but can only do this through grants and community support. Please consider making a donation so we may continue offering these exciting and critical programs.

Music in the Schools: 3rd-5th Grade Program

Every year, Mehta brings his highly acclaimed “Music in the Schools” program to over 4000 children in 24 local elementary schools in Ventura County, the Ventura & Oxnard Boys & Girls Club, the PEAK after school program and Casa Pacifica. His three-part series, What is Rhythm, What is a Melody and What is Harmony, provides students with interactive instruction and performances utilizing a multi-media format.

“It is our goal to reach out to the youth through music,” explains Mehta. “To see a child’s eyes light up when they understand the music, or to see self-esteem and self-confidence grow in the children who embrace music, is worth every moment.”

High School Concerts and Master Classes

Many of the Festival performers are willing to support our educational outreach program by performing at the local middle and high schools. Music students are also given the opportunity to participate in master classes with these artists. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work one-on-one with some of the world’s finest musicians.

Ventura Music Festival Selects
Student Jazz Competition Winner at Live Concert

Rachel Flowers, a 17-year-old pianist from Oxnard, took top prize at Ventura Music Festival’s 2011 Student Jazz Competition. Flowers was chosen during a live concert performance that took place on Sunday, January 16, 2011 at Ventura’s Laurel Theater.

Flowers, a Hueneme High School junior, earned top honors for her passionate rendition of John Coltrane’s “Naima” on the piano. Blind since birth, Flowers began playing the piano at the age of 2 and learns by listening. A highly gifted musical prodigy, Flowers placed second in the 2010 VMF student competition.

Accompanied by Coda, a Ventura-based jazz trio, each competitor played one song before an audience of family, friends and a 3-person judging panel of professional musicians. Judges were jazz and classical pianist Jonathan Cooper, film score producer Eddie Arkin, and Paul Anka Orchestra lead trombonist, Craig Woods.

Flowers was awarded a $500 scholarship and the opportunity to perform on stage with legendary Cuban jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval at the Festival’s upcoming Latin jazz concert on Feb. 12 at Seaside Park.

The other finalists included:
2nd place: Jacob Scesney, 18, alto saxophonist from Ojai
3rd place: Tanner Dawson, 17, tenor saxophonist from Moorpark

The other contestants included:
Sara Sithi-Amnuai, flugelhorn player from Laguna Nigel
Cory Smith, 16, drummer from Thousand Oaks

Steven Z. Perren Juvenile Complex

Twice a year, our highly successful educational outreach program presents a full-day program at the Steven Z. Perren Juvenile Justice Complex in Oxnard. CSU percussion instructor Bob Fernandez teaches small workshops separately for boys and girls in the morning and his Afro-Cuban band, Los Jovenes del Son, performs concerts in the afternoon. This program was started in 2009 and is being made possible for the next two years by a California Arts Council/Department of Justice Music Presenting Grant. This grant was awarded to the Festival in October, 2009 and was one of 42 selected from the over 160 applications.

“Rising Stars” Concert

Every season, the Spring Festival gives some of the most promising young musicians in the country, in particular those who are from Ventura, the opportunity to perform. The 2008 season featured Ventura native Soprano Nicole Cabell who made her debut at the Met. In 2009, Rising Stars featured the up-and-coming Soprano Sophie Wingland, a 2004 Ventura High School graduate and sixteen year old concert violinist Jordan Urbach.

Student Ticket Prices

Students are offered discounted tickets almost exclusively for every concert.

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Julia Campbell & Ben Namba
Freddie & Al Contarino
Janet & Mark Goldenson
Hammer-Hewson Associates
and Shirley & Steve Simms
Jordan Laby
Barbara Meister

Dr. Peter Cannon
City of Ventura
Celine Gillibrand for P.W. Gillibrand Co.
Montecito Bank & Trust
Schwab Charitable Fund
Smith-Hobson Fund
Miriam Wille

Gloisten Family Charitable Foundation
Pierpont Racquet Club

E.J. Harrison & Sons
Joseph P. Reardon Funeral
Home & Cremation Service

Limoneira & Limco Del Mar

Aera Energy LLC
(for Music in the Schools)
Arianna Ashkar, Brett Ashkar,
John Ashkar & Family

Community Memorial Health System
Halter-Encinas Enterprises
Julius Gius Memorial Rotary Foundation (for Music in the Schools)
Dr. Richard & Lori Reisman
The Arts Collaborative