Ventura Music Festival has new Executive Director Laĺe Welsh.
by Shirley Lorraine
The Ventura Music Festival is now entering its 29th season of providing high quality concerts of all types to the Ventura community. Following a rousing holiday concert by We Four Kings, held at the Ventura Missionary Church on December 10, a heartfelt thank you soirée for retiring Executive Director Susan Scott was held.
Ms. Scott was introduced by board member Betsy Chess who presented a crystal trophy as a thank you in recognition of Scott’s considerable contributions to the festival.
Acting President Richard Reisman, who stepped into the leadership role after the recent passing of Festival President Randall Hinton, spoke of Scott’s support and unfailing assistance. Scott was similarly lavish in her praise of the cadre of volunteers and staff members who have been a solid support to her and to the organization over the years.
Scott was lauded for her nine years of outstanding commitment to the festival, stating “Ventura audiences are the best in the world.” During her tenure, Scott led the organization through the challenge of the Covid years, keeping the music alive and available. She cited numerous collaborations made with the New West Symphony, Camarata Pacifica, the Rubicon theater, and more. She recounted the successes and learning curves of the Concerts in Cars at the Fairgrounds, among other efforts. All of these, Scott said, required creative thinking, which Scott embraced. “They kept us a family through troubling times” she recounted.
As she introduced and passed the baton to the newly selected Executive Director, Laĺe Welsh, (pronounced La Lay) she praised the search process which began with 40 applicants from throughout the United States. From the final two, Welsh, a native of Ojai, was chosen. In addition to her considerable experience with non-profit organizations, Welsh has the advantage of familiarity with the Ventura County musical community.
The Music Festival has moved to new offices in the Executive Suites at 701 E. Santa Clara Street, across the stress from the downtown Post Office. Keep an eye on the website at VenturaMusicFestival.org for updates and upcoming concerts.
Providing gentle background music on guitar was Blake Kasting, 2016 winner of the VMF student jazz competition, accompanied by Olivia Rodriguez on vocals.