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. 15: Jamie Davis
Aug. 29: Paula West