Concert at the Lakes, a memorable evening

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This year’s Annual Concert at the Lakes was held at Santee Lakes Preserve, Lake Five, on July 29, with more than 1,000 event-goers in attendance and filling the lawn area near the lake. The event, held the last Saturday in July yearly, has been the major annual charity fundraiser for both the Santee Lakeside Rotary Club Foundation and the Santee Lakes Foundation since 2012.

This year’s Annual Concert at the Lakes was held at Santee Lakes Preserve, Lake Five, on July 29, with more than 1,000 event-goers in attendance and filling the lawn area near the lake. The event, held the last Saturday in July yearly, has been the major annual charity fundraiser for both the Santee Lakeside Rotary Club Foundation and the Santee Lakes Foundation since 2012. The agenda schedule for the evening included a catered dinner, a large silent auction bidding over many donated prizes, and concluding with the cap to the night of electrifying concert performances from two impressive tribute bands.

Proceeds from ticket sales and winning bids were slated to support scholarships at local high schools and youth programs at Santee Lakes. Specifically, the money brought in from the event was to go toward scholarships to area high school graduates of Santana, West Hills, and El Capitan High Schools. The Santee Lakes Foundation uses funds from Concert At The Lakes for improvements and recreational projects within the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve.

Joint committee event organizers John Morley and William E. Pommering discussed the annual concert in brief interviews. “This is our biggest ever,” Morley stated enthusiastically. He noted that the 2016 concert had been “very successful,” with 450 dinner tickets sold. And Morley continued that once all proceeds had been tallied, with 660 dinners sold for 2017, the money raised was expected to bring in even more to the foundations’ charitable programs. Pommering concurred with that assessment of the concert’s success.

Morley explained that volunteer’s work around 12 hours for two days in order to stage the event, “There is a lot of work, with lots of Rotarians working as a team. But it’s well worth the effort to see everyone here with smiles on their faces.”

The highlights of the evening were the concert performances, which surely delighted fans of classic rock from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Guest emcee introducing the stage performances was longtime San Diego radio personality “Shotgun Tom” Kelly. When he took the stage after dinner, Kelly said, “It’s a rewarding experience to meet so many people who remember me from back in the day.” This was Kelly’s first time emceeing at the event. He got involved when Morley asked him to participate. Kelly said that he responded immediately, “I’m in.” Four years ago, Kelly was recognized for his lengthy career in entertainment with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

First band up was Dog ‘N’ Butterfly, billing their act as the “ultimate tribute to Heart.” The straight-ahead classic rock music of Heart was recreated with authenticity and appreciation, from the softer side of “What About Love” through the rocking “Barracuda.”

And then The Long Run—Experience The Eagles followed on stage. Band member Gary Grantham had agreed to be interviewed earlier, and he expressed his fondness for singing the Glenn Frey songs from The Eagles. He said that the band had come together initially in 1999 and started appearing in performances in 2000. His favorites to perform are “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Peaceful, Easy Feeling.” Those titles certainly gave apt descriptions for the mood of the happy listeners, who might have thought the musicians were original members of The Eagles if they had closed their “lyin’ eyes” and been swept away with memories and good feelings.

Grantham noted that the Burbank-based band has appeared through California and the U.S., also with global performances throughout Southeast Asia, in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Guam and Manila.

The scholarships funded by this event are given during May to “at risk of graduating” high school students as an incentive to graduate and then continue on with higher education at college, whether at a community, university or trade school. Each scholarship provides the recipient student with two years of paid tuition, books and parking.

Donated items for the Silent Auction ranged from photographs and other artwork, dinner packages at East County restaurants, entry to local attractions and museums, a year’s worth of Hilliker’s Eggs, and a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol Building from Congressman Duncan D. Hunter’s office. Sponsors for the annual concert included Waste Management, Wal-Mart, Pardee Homes and Barona Resort and Casino.

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