The cool breeze off the golf course, highlighted by a setting sun, tickled cocktail-attired guests from the backs of their ankles up to the napes of their necks. Soft conversation paired with Champagne and wine, pens were plucked up to bid on silent auction items and assorted tray passed canapés, a seafood bar on ice and lamb lollipops were eagerly enjoyed by all.
The scene was set.
In 2005 the Joe Ranft/Alumni Scholarship Fund at Cal Arts was first endowed by Nancy and Dave Bossert in memory of their friendship with Ranft, and the talented contributions he made in his lifetime to animation, before losing his life in an automobile accident. In this, the fifth incarnation of the Art and Wine Gala, Ranft, who spent his career as a story artist at Disney, was once again honored by many art-minded former colleagues, friends and guests.
Other charities that were to benefit from the evening included the Santa Clarita Ballet Company, The Canyon Theatre Guild, the Performance-Composition Program, the Santa Clarita Master Chorale, Culinary Arts Department at College of the Canyons and PAC K-12 Arts Education Outreach.
Over the past four years the Art & Wine Gala has given over $225,000 in grants and scholarships to the arts in Santa Clarita.
Co-Chairs this year included Dave and Nancy Bossert, Cheri and Don Fleming, Guy LaLarge, Larry Mazzeo, Greg McWilliams, Michael Young, and Howard Green. Once again, Michele Reckon-Golden was the event’s incredible producer.
The evening was generously sponsored by Underwriter’s Laboratories.
Dave Bossert, as our evening’s emcee, opened by thanking all of the people that had contributed to the success of the Art and Wine Gala that evening, and in past years. Then he seemed to take special pleasure in introducing two-time Oscar winner songwriter Richard M. Sherman – famous for his work in “Mary Poppins”, “The Jungle Book” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” – and his wife, Elizabeth, as the honorary co-chairs.
Sherman’s duty as co-chair, and a thrilling surprise to most of the guests, was that he was prepared to perform.
Sherman casually took a seat at the piano bench and began singing Disney tunes such as “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and “A Spoonful of Sugar” from Mary Poppins, and “I Wanna to Be Like You” from Jungle Book – to which the audience gladly joined in with him singing along each time. Cell phones snapped photos and videos. When he finished his set the audience stood and applauded his talents, so many decades in the making.
What Art-Minded Guests Said
TimBen Boydston: “Dave is an angel, every year he has made the Canyon Theatre Guild a recipient.”
Cheri Fleming: “This is the most elegant and beautiful event in the Westridge and Santa Clarita areas. TPC is an amazing jewel in our community. Here we celebrate friends, wonderful food, amazing wine and the arts. Couldn’t make a more perfect night. I would just like to thank the artist that painted the full moon for us too.”
Don Fleming: “None of this would be possible without Dave Bossert, Cal Arts and the relationship with Disney – all of which is a treasure in our community.”
Greg McWilliams: “Dave Bossert puts on the greatest, most elegant event in the Santa Clarita Valley – and not a single dollar goes to administrations fees.”
Vanessa Wilk: “This is one of our favorite events. To support the arts is a great cause, and with wonderful food and wine. Chef Otto and Guy Lelarge deliver a one-two punch when it comes to pairing a phenomenal experience.”
Guy Lelarge: “In past years I provided wine from Spain and France, this year, except for the Champagne, everything is from California!”
Katherine Lauffer: “To see a bunch of grown ups singing Disney songs was priceless.”
Jennifer Haberer: “I loved the panoramic view during the reception. The weather – perfect and the ladies – elegant.”
Larry Mazzeo: “I’ve been a co-chair for every year of this event that benefits our arts community – specifically Cal Arts. All of the organizations are well-deserving of the support we give them,” And then Mazzeo joked, “Plus, the food and wine aren’t that bad either!”
Darlene Gandara: “It’s a first class event. Best food, best wine and the best creative minds. It’s awesome to be ‘in’ the arts and that’s where our money goes. It’s not just food and wine, it’s a specific donation to the arts.”
Robert Gandara: “Three words: Beautiful, wonderful and honored. Honored to be supporting the arts.”
Among the many wine and art pieces paired together in lots for auction included hand sculpted pottery, limited edition chiarographs, cult Napa Cabernets and Chardonnays, Sonoma Pinot Noirs, rare photos, limited edition Beatles memorabilia, Spanish wines, signed original works, hand thrown wine glasses, vintage Charlie Brown signed and numbered screen prints, magnums, original framed paintings, rounds of golf, photographs, Champagnes, White Burgundies, Rhone varietals, Bordeaux, Sauternes, numbered Disney limited edition prints, diamond jewelry, hand embellished canvas prints, Dining with Roy P. Disney and…your very own theme music donated and composed.
Meeting Three-Time Scholarship Winner Julianne Lajac
I was seated next to Julianne Lajac, now in her third year of her masters program at Cal Arts with the help from the Art and Wine Gala. For tonight she had donated a piece of art that she had created in her advanced scenic painting class, as the “Big Head Project”. It was a piece that everyone noticed as they entered TPC that evening, for its size (4’ by 6’), its subject (“Sorrowing Madonna”) and its utter flawlessness.
I learned that scenic artists are needed for theatre, film television and theme parks. At the moment Julianne was enjoying an inflatable painting class – the kinds of inflatables seen at a Macy’s parade.
(as of press time)
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, Los Angeles County, 5th District
Nancy and Dave Bossert
Guy LeLarge and Helen LaPrairie
Tracy and Greg McWilliams
Santa Clarita Ballet Company
COC PAC K-12 Arts Program
CalArts Canyon Theatre Guild
City of Santa Clarita
Cheri and Don Fleming
Santa Clarita Master Chorale
Valencia Wine Company
Artists and Special Thanks
Carla K. Buchanan
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Sheri and Roy P. Disney
Ivy Day Spa
Norma and Gerry Klein
Lasseter Family Winery
Linda Bonita Lynch
Valley Crest Trees
A special thank you to the volunteers as well.