Kuumbwa Jazz’s 11th Annual Benefit Gala a Smashing Success
Merci Beaucoup to our Premier Sponsors:
Kuumbwa Jazz held its 11th Annual Wine Tasting, Dinner and Auction Gala on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at Kuumbwa Jazz Center. All proceeds of the event support the organization’s concert and music education programs.
Santa Cruz’s iconic jazz venue was transformed into a Parisian Club depicting the Moulin Rouge cabaret built in Paris in 1889. As guests entered the tented courtyard, they were treated to music from local accordionist, The Great Morgani, who looked rakish in his original French-themed costume complete with beret. Lavish hors d’oeuvres including sorrel wrapped roasted beet & goat cheese, onion tartlets, and smoked trout on endive leaf with caviar prepared by Chef Cheryl Simons (Kuumbwa Jazz café/catering manager) and an endless supply of fresh oysters courtesy of Bill the Oysterman were paired with Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne and a carefully selected 2011 Chablis by Olivier Leflaive. Guests then moved on to wine tasting featuring fine reds from the private cellar of Erik and Judy Johnson (of Erik’s DeliCafé fame); Miner Family Winery’s 2009 “The Oracle”; and Storrs’ Christie Vineyard 2008 Pinot Noir.
Guests at the sold-out event mingled while surveying silent auction items, such as rare California reds, golf packages, winery tours, and jewelry and artwork from local artists. As guests filtered into the Moulin Rouge – aka Kuumbwa Jazz Center – live, acoustic, gypsy jazz by Hot Club Pacific filled the room. Chef Cheryl Simons began the meal with a salad of arugula, pear and St. Agur blue cheese with toasted pecans. The entree was a cooked-to-perfection beef short ribs bourguignon with autumn root vegetables. Coffee and dessert of gâteau à l’orange was served as the party moved onto the grand finale of the evening – the “live auction” with MC Romney Dunbar.
Assisted by Soif sommelier Alyssa Twelker, auctioneer Romney Dunbar got the crowd cheering at the chance to bid on unique and superb rare wines and packages such as VIP passes and accommodations to the 2014 Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy. The most anticipated item of the evening was a one-of-a-kind dinner with very special rare wines from the private cellar of Richard Ow, including a 1999 Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 2008 Willams-Selyem Peay Vineyard Pinot Noir, paired with a gourmet dinner by Chef Brad Briske of La Balena in Carmel. Other hot items included a three-day Wine Country Package, VIP passes and accommodations to the New Mexico Jazz Festival in Santa Fe, a Paella Party for 60 guests, and a collection of three superlative French wines. At times the bidding reached passionate levels as Kuumbwa supporters raised their paddles attempting to win their favorite item… knowing that their donations help propel the nonprofit jazz and education venue into its 39th year!
“Thank you for an amazing event. We had so much fun. What a fabulous group of people…We are looking forward to many musical local events.” – Elizabeth Clifton, Chancellor’s Associates Director at University of California, Santa Cruz
“Kuumbwa’s annual wine auction fundraiser was another sold-out, hit show! It’s a pleasure to support one of our cultural gems, knowing that world-class arts and education will continue to be available here in Santa Cruz.” – Eric Richter, Sr. Brand Manager, Giro/Easton-Bell Sports; Kuumbwa Jazz Board of Trustees
Artwork by Marvin Plummer in the spirit of Toulouse Lautrec