Weekend Roundup: Festival Napa Valley Closes With SF Ballet

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Rick Walker and Bill Murray
Rick Walker and Bill Murray

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The 12th annual Festival Napa Valley, a 10-day arts celebration in wine country, has concluded. The event was wildly successful with a record setting $2,500,000 raised at the Arts For All Gala. The number is double what was earned at last year’s gala. The dinner took place at Hall Winery in St. Helena on Sunday, July 16 with Bill Murray and members of the national tour of Hamilton performing. The proceeds benefit local public schools providing arts education, free and affordable access to the festival’s performances, and scholarships for emerging musicians. The surprise of the evening was when Athena and Timothy Blackburn announced a gift of $1 million to support the new Festival Napa Valley Music Academy.

Timothy Blackburn and Monica Savini at the Bulgari luncheon
Timothy Blackburn and Monica Savini at the Bulgari luncheon

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

“Festival Napa Valley does so much to support music education locally, and to encourage talented young musicians worldwide,” Timothy Blackburn said.  “We hope our gift will help advance this essential work and support the next generation.” The academy is a two-week intensive program at Napa Valley College where 70 musicians participate in a tuition-free conservatory. They receive daily coaching and master classes and gain exposure by participating in the festival’s concerts.  “This gift from Athena and Timothy Blackburn is a game-changer,” added Rick Walker, President and CEO of Festival Napa Valley. “It will enable the Festival Music Academy to continue developing as an important training ground providing opportunities for emerging musicians worldwide. We deeply appreciate Athena and Timothy’s leadership gift making this possible.”

Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets in the pas de deux from Act II of Tomasson's Swan Lake
Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets in the pas de deux from Act II of Tomasson’s Swan Lake

Photo Credit: @Erik Tomasson

On Friday, Bulgari hosted an exclusive invitation-only luncheon at B Cellars. Guests like model Tatiana Sorokko dined on butter lettuce salad, pan-seared local chicken breast, and quinoa with broccoli rabe. That evening, the hottest ticket in town was for the San Francisco Ballet’s performance at Lincoln Theater. It was a stunning show with the company’s top principals dancing classic and modern pieces. Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets performed the pas de deux from Swan Lake and Joseph Walsh danced a lively solo to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B). Afterward a select group of guests headed to the CIA at Copia for a meal catered by chef Matthew Accarrino.

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