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Walnut Creek Magazine

Festival Napa Valley: A Toast to Another Fab Season

Aug 06, 2018 03:03PM ● By Fran Miller

BY FRAN ENDICOTT MILLER

Each summer, some of the world’s most in-demand artists travel the globe to take part in Festival Napa Valley. With incredible Napa venues serving as a backdrop, these artists perform for intimate audiences whose members are passionate about the arts. Equal attention is provided to outstanding food and wine – and together, these performances and the incredible bounty of the region create a week’s worth of wine country magic.

This season, the Festival (founded by Walnut Creek resident Rick Walker) was appropriately dedicated to the brave first responders who helped to conquer last year’s devastating wildfires. And as always, proceeds benefit arts programs in the Napa public schools.

“With the introduction of three new concert series and a summer music camp, Festival Napa Valley 2018 was the most dynamic season we have presented to date,” said Walker, president & CEO. “The range of music styles, venues and price options made it possible for everyone to enjoy the 10 Best Days of Summer.”

A few highlights:

Opening Night: Opera Under the Stars at Meadowood Napa Valley (below). Guests were treated to a concert by opera stars Nadine Sierra and Jonathan Tetelman and feasted on gourmet offerings prepared by Meadowood’s ace culinary team led by estate chef Alejandro Ayala. Dinner was paired with some of Napa Valley’s finest wines – a simply perfect start to the Festival.

Trefethen Family Vineyards celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a featured performance by Grupo Compay Segundo who were brought straight from Havana for their first performance in the U.S. in 20 years (below). Led by legendary Cuban guitarist, singer, and songwriter Compay Segundo until his death in 2003, this classic Cuban ensemble is now conducted by his son, bassist Salvador Repilado, who performed with his father on the recording phenomenon known as the Buena Vista Social Club. Joining Repilado were maracas-playing lead vocalist Hugo Garzon, two clarinetists, two singing guitarists, a percussionist and a harmonica player. 

Opening Weekend wrapped with Wine Country’s biggest arts charity event, the Arts for All Gala, on Sunday, July 22 at HALL Winery in St. Helena (below). Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth headlined the event and was accompanied by ten vocal arts students selected from five Napa County public high school choral groups who auditioned to sing with her on stage to close out the program.

The Gala auction raised $2.5 million, proceeds of which support Festival Napa Valley’s Arts for All programs that provides funding for public school arts education, free and affordable access to the festival’s international quality performances, scholarships for emerging musicians, and the festival’s work with the Boys and Girls Clubs and other organizations.  

Mark your calendars for July 12 – 21, 2019 and be sure to take part in this now iconic Napa Valley event. Multiday passes can be purchased at a 25% savings through August 15, 2018. Visit www.festivalnapavalley.org/2019presale