Jazz Plus starts capital campaign
Sonoma Jazz Plus, which completed its seventh season in May after historically raising more than $450,000 for music education programs in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, along with another $150,000 for youth sports, announced today that it emerged from the recent festival with an unsustainable operating deficit and is immediately initiating a fundraising campaign to ensure that the 2012 concert returns to Sonoma.
The campaign has set a firm goal of $500,000, and progress will be reported through the summer until the goal is reached. If sufficient funds are raised by mid-August, said President and CEO Jim Horowitz, the Sonoma Jazz Plus goal will be to finalize and announce its 2012 festival program by Nov. 15, with ticket sales commencing prior to the holiday season.
Sonoma Jazz Plus will host an open community forum to solicit feedback from the community on all aspects of the festival on Tuesday, June 21, at 6 p.m. The forum will be held at Ramekin's Culinary School and Event Center, 450 W. Spain St. in Sonoma. If the campaign is unsuccessful, the 2012 festival will be cancelled.
Sonoma Jazz Plus is a nonprofit, 501(C) (3) organization that generates vital economic activity and ongoing support for music education programs in the Sonoma Valley.
campaign, said Horowitz, will involve all segments of the community including businesses and individuals.
"We'd like to take this opportunity first to thank the City of Sonoma for its invaluable support in 2011," Horowitz said. "We also want to thank the many individuals who purchased tickets to concerts, became Patrons or Sponsors of the festival, volunteered or otherwise participated in a stellar weekend of world class music, food and wine."
But, Horowitz added, "We need a wider net of local Patrons and regional sponsors to keep the music playing at the festival, and especially year-round in our local school music education programs."
Horowitz said the festival is seeking "a few key community leaders to join us, as well as new multi-year sponsorship commitments to match the founding vision of Jim and Stephanie Anderson Pugash, and especially the multi-year support of our Founding and now Presenting Sponsor, Union Bank, who are committed through 2013."
Ramekins owner Darius Anderson, a member of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass board of directors and the Sonoma Festival chairman, said that the festival's contribution to youth music and sports can be preserved and extended with community support. "There is a great opportunity here for Sonoma to embrace and secure this gem of a festival for listeners and students, visitors and locals," Anderson said. "I hope everyone with the capacity to help us will do so. Since its inception the festival has provided crucial support for school music programs, paying for instruments, instruction and scholarships, but it needs stability to fulfill its promise for years to come."
Anderson added that, "Sonoma Jazz Plus is a community asset that serves Sonoma on multiple levels, and we want to insure that what has already been built can have the chance to thrive into the future."
Anderson said that the festival has more than $60,000 reserved to maintain Sonoma Jazz Plus in-school programs through the 2011-12 year calendar.
Jazz Aspen, the Sonoma festival's parent organization and the concert booking and promotion service AEGLive, which has contracted with the festival to provide top tier performers, will continue to work diligently, said Anderson, "to insure we have the right line-up of talent appropriate for the Sonoma market, with the advantage of starting on the programming process this summer." But, he added, "The effort for 2012 cannot begin until we have reached this fundraising goal. If the goal isn't reached, unfortunately, the festival is finished."