You know it’s going to be a fun and entertaining night when Richard Elliot, Rick Braun and some of the top genre musicians are on stage together. The fact that Friday night’s concert at the California Center for the Arts-Escondido was a fundraiser for that community’s High Tech High made it a bit more interesting. Alongside Elliot, Braun and their funky band (Randy Jacobs, Nate Phillips, “Third” Richardson and Ron Reinhardt), a couple of special guests set the crowd into standing-ovation mode. Bass-playing Mikayla Elliot (15) joined her dad and the band for an impressive rendition of “Birdland.” And, when her guitarist brother Eli (14) joined the jam, the audience’s applause and cheers nearly drowned out the music. But, what a clever way to demonstrate the value of this teenage generation’s education just before the live auction was about to take place!
When auctioneer Pierre H. Charmmason took control of the mic, big money started rolling in. The bidding war was “on” for three high-ticket items: Dave Koz & Friends at Sea seven-day, full-ship charter to Alaska (Sept. 5-12, 2014); a VIP table for four at the Big Bear Lake JazzTrax Summer Music Festival (June 21, 2014), including a two-night stay at the Northwoods Resort; and the “Best Seats in the House,” where the highest bidder and a guest get to experience the second half of the concert on stage while seated in oversized chairs with a bottle of champagne, backstage access with the artists during intermission, admission to the VIP after-party and two tickets to see Richard Elliot perform at Thornton Winery in September. The buyer of the latter, the school’s traffic officer, used this opportunity to propose to his girlfriend on stage. Thankfully, she said yes!
Nearly $35,000 was raised from the event, which was sponsored by Global Cash Card and Kathy and Willie Payne of Payne Pest Management. I’m sure that there will be many new computers and other technology arriving at High Tech High very soon.
Richard Elliot and his wife Camella organize these fundraising concerts bi-annually at the California Center for the Arts-Escondido. For more information on Elliot, who is currently on the Dave Koz & Friends “Summer Horns” tour and will be a featured performer on the Dave Koz & Friends at Sea Alaskan cruise in September, visit www.richardelliot.com.