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2012 Los Gatos Jazz Gala a Success!

More than 200 people attend elegant fundraising event to support nonprofit organization that puts on Jazz on the Plazz, Music in the Park concert series.

By all accounts, fundraiser Jazz Gala Tuesday evening was a huge success drawing the desired attendance and community involvement necessary to keep the decade-old Jazz on the Plazz free outdoor concerts going at Town Plaza Park.

Dozens of beautiful women, many donning eye-catching fascinator hats, accompanied by suit-and-tuxedo-wearing gentlemen, began entering the elegant La Estancia residence in the northwest Los Gatos hills for a chance to support the nonprofit that puts on the popular Wednesday and Sunday concerts in town.

Their tax-deductible admission ticket also gave them access to the soothing blues sounds of jazz legend Barbara Morrison, exquisite cuisine buffet style by Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme, wines by and vineyards and a chance to bid on nearly 100 live and silent auction items donated by various generous  contributors.

It was also a time to celebrate Los Gatos volunteers like Jo An Smith, who's been serving for about four years on thcommittee doing retail sales.

explained Jonathan Knowles, chairman of the board of directors for the nonprofit.

More than 200 people attended the event. Knowles said this year's gala had exceeded expectations.

The community's generosity and support toward the nonprofit was also evident by the more than 60 donated items for the event's silent and live auctions. Among the goodies being offered were a $1,500 condo rental, a $1,000 Mountain Winery package and a $4,500 Alaska to Hawaii trip courtesy of Alaska Airlines were for the taking.

"Music & Arts really tries hard to promote what its name stands for in Los Gatos," Smith said. "These community events are so important."

Smith herself donated an autographed copy of her latest book Chopstix, based on her experience while living in China. "We all contribute in whatever way we can," she said.

Some of the VIPs attending the event were a hat-wearing Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, dressed in a sharp seersucker suit; and wife,and husband Ira and many others.

The gala this year fell on the 10-year anniversary of Jazz on the Plazz and it's primarily skewed toward using jazz to do the fundraising always showcasing a jazz artist, Knowles explained.

"This event is important because we need support from the community," Knowles said. "When we get that we're able to do more such as providing arts education programs and arts scholarships."

Knowles, a senior adviser to Autodesk CEO and chief technology officer, is a proponent of teaching children science, technology, engineering, arts and math. "I really believe in the importance of arts education, as well as the rest, to provide a real balance as to how engineers solve problems," he said. 

Esmee Van Der Oye, who was attending the jazz gala for the first time, said she attended the event impressed with the nonprofit's mission to keep arts education programs alive in local classrooms.

Similarly Bojana Fazarinc said she was supporting the event for the fifth year in a row to help fund arts and music programs in town. "It's an amazing effort. The way it brings the community together is just wonderful. I love all the different generations of people that come and the great time that they have in the summer," Fazarinc said.

About the jazz gala, Fazarinc said it was a "self-indulgent way to contribute to the arts and enjoy a wonderful setting," referring to Los Gatos residentsand who donate their lovely estate setting for the event year after year.

Many supporters of the nonprofit attributed the huge success of the concert series to the vision and hard work of Los Gatos Roasting Company owner Teri Hope, Knowles, Mike Hyman, and series executive producer Michael Jacobi.

Jazz on the Plazz is considered one of the premier free concert series in the country, according to Jacobi who works hard each year to bring high-caliber Grammy Award winners and jazz legends to town for the performances.

"They were able to rally some other people to create a real excitement about it [the concert series] and we owe gratitude to the businesses that have sponsored it," said Fazarinc.

Tonight, Morrison will perform again at Town Plaza Park starting at 6:30 p.m. The rest of the lineup for the remainder of the summer is as follows:

Aug. 1: Akira Tana and The Secret Agent Men

Aug. 8: Terence Blanchard—Jazz Legend Recipient

Aug. 15: Jamie Davis

Aug. 22: Monterey Jazz Festival County High School Allstars

Aug. 29: Paula West

Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz July 26, 2012 at 03:48 AM
I think these productions are Great! And just right for the Summer evenings to enjoy the weather, music, & company. And Sheila you do a Great Job of making all of us aware in such a Professional way! GOOD JOB to both Parties!
Julian Groft July 26, 2012 at 04:16 AM
that would be so cool to go to
Chopstixthebook July 26, 2012 at 04:14 PM
The Jazz Gala of 2012 was the best yet. Barbara Morrison's performance was enhanced by her display of courage. I was really moved by Barbara's comment on how the Jazz committee had told her to keep last year's deposit when she couldn't come showing their faith in her and their belief that Barbara would recover and be stronger than ever! The Music and Art Community of Los Gatos again showed it commitment to Jazz and its performers.
Jennifer Croll July 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Fantastic Event!
Esmée St James July 27, 2012 at 02:04 AM
What a perfectly wonderful introduction to Los Gatos, The 2012 Jazz Gala was absolutely magical! Thank you all for helping make this event such a huge success, I am delighted to have had the opportunity to enjoy the company of so many outstanding people. Can't think of a better way to support the Arts education programs alive in local schools!

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