RANCHO SANTA FE — More than 10 years ago, Holly Wilson sent out flyers urging people to join her in bringing wonderful concerts to the village. The flyer asked anyone who was interested to meet at her house for coffee.
As it turned out, a lot of people were interested.
Now in its 10th year, the Community Concerts are some of the most premier events in the village, drawing huge talent from all over the world. The second concert of the year was held at the Village Church on March 10 with the Canadian Tenors.
The concerts have become so popular that they are generally sold out long beforehand.
“We want to keep the number of people attending to about 350,” said Jan Clark, president of the concert committee. “We want to keep our atmosphere conducive to visiting with people and moving about. We also offer food, light hors d’oeuvres made by the local ladies, members of the concert committee. Northern Trust provides us with both red and white wine. It’s a lovely evening.”
Holly Wilson served as president for the first two years, then Judy Oliphant served for two as did Carolyn Nelson. Clark is in her third year.
She said the members on the committee number about 20, who work hard keeping everything top drawer.
“We organize the concerts, set up the venue of the fellowship hall and try to transform it,” she said. “We take in silk palm trees, drape our tables with black satin and we have four ladies who are very talented with flowers and do flower arrangements for the tables.”
For the first concert, Mary Ann Smith fashioned the flowers. Next was Ann Footer. Barrie Wentzell provided the lovely centerpieces for the March 10 concert and Sue Barton will provide her talents for the last concert of the year.
Of course the food is an important component to the evening, so members take turns being the pre-concert food chairman.
This year, the pre-concert food duties will go to, in the order of the concerts, Donna Ferrier, Suzie Hayes, Tracy Myers and Carol Freeland.
Clark said as the years have passed they have been able to afford more well-known and talented performers.
“We started off with $2,000 concerts with one or two people, but now we are able to afford a lot more, such as the Canadian Tenors,” she said.
She said the Canadian Tenors, billed as Canada’s National Treasures, performed on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Dr. Phil” and at the recent Olympics.
She said the talent comes from a national organization, Community Concerts, which provides quality music to communities nationwide.
They audition and interview about 800 hundred people a year at their headquarters in Nashville.
“They used to be in New York, but after 9/11, they decided to move their headquarters to Nashville,” she said.
People come from all over the world to audition for the 50 spots on the tour. If they are selected, they travel all over the United States.
“The point is we get excellent talent,” she said.
She said the selection of the artist depends not only on their talent, but on their ability to communicate with the audience with interesting stories or information about the different pieces they may be performing or a little about themselves.
And like icing on a cake, the concert committee has worked to bring a proper performing arts center to the new R. Roger Rowe Elementary School, which is currently under construction. Their goal is to raise $2 million to turn an ordinary auditorium into a venue with a fabulous sound system, lighting, lighting, curtains and a grand piano. They have so far raised $1 million. Construction should be completed in the fall of this year, she said.
“It’s not just for the children. It will be the Performing Arts Center in Rancho Santa Fe,” she said.
The next concert will be the Hunt Family Fiddlers on May 5.
For more information, visit www.communityconcertsofranchosantafe.com.