The Board of the Ventura Music Festival is pleased to announce its 2020 Honorees for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts and Community.
Speaking for the Board, its president Richard Reisman said: “These two prominent individuals – Barbara Meister and Jordan Laby, together with their late spouses – have made culture- and community-changing contributions that literally created the arts landscape in Ventura and beyond, to say nothing of their important contributions to health (CMH) and education (VUSD).”
The Laby and Meister cultural legacies include founding and ongoing support for the New West Symphony, Ventura Music Festival, Rubicon Theatre, Focus on the Masters, Laby Harmony Project, Ventura County Ballet and more. Each of these institutions is now celebrating a 20th or 25th anniversary which means the number of people impacted, including the youngest members of the community, is in the hundreds of thousands.
“I’m always struck by their humility,” said “Festival Executive Director Susan Scott. “Each has accomplished so much, both professionally and philanthropically, yet neither seeks the limelight and talks instead about ‘giving back’ and the importance of arts and music education for children and recognition of local artists as cultural assets.”
The 2020 VMF Honorees will be honored with a video, dinner and live music performance at the annual VMF Honoree Awards and Cabaret Fundraiser on Thursday, April 30th, at the Ventura Beach Marriott hotel.
Past honorees include Betsy Blanchard Chess, Doug Halter, Nancy and Spencer Garrett, Justice Steven Z. Perren, Micheline Sakharoff, Freddie Contarino, the Limoneira Company and E. J. Harrison.
The Ventura Music Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019, with a record of 300,000 festival-goers attending over 200 performances, and 40,000 children in its Music in the Schools program. The VMF mission: to bring world-class music to the community, foster audience-artist relationships and enhance the joy of music through offerings for all ages.
VMF seeks to create an inclusive, welcoming environment in which people both see and hear themselves reflected in the music. Its 26th season is set for July 23-26 and July 30-Aug.2. The public is warmly invited to a free preview of the season on Sunday, February 16th, 3pm at the Museum of Ventura County on