By Tim Hunt
Football, French horns and filmUploaded: Feb 4, 2016
Veteran ushers at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco may have been taken aback Wednesday evening when patrons wearing football jerseys and blue jeans stepped forward with their tickets to the Concert of Champions.
I enjoy Davies and the symphony during the Christmas season and was intrigued by the partnership between the symphony and NFL Films to celebrate Super Bowl 50. Former Raider great, Heisman trophy winner and Hall of Famer Marcus Allen introduced the event, noting that it was partially to pay homage to the founders of NFL Films, Ed and Steve Sabol who both have passed on. A fair portion of the program is devoted to film of Steve talking about the philosophy of NFL films and how it has changed over the years since its beginnings in 1962.
When the program featured clips from NFL Films coupled with the soaring music of the symphony, it was easy to forget you were hearing live music coupled with the film.
The top applause of the evening went to the several snippets featuring Joe Montana, including The Catch, while Jerry Rice was also readily recognizable. Steve Young, Roger Craig and Marcus Allen also had their moments, while the crowd may have been too young to recognize the Raiders carrying John Madden off the Rose Bowl field after Oakland won its first Super Bowl. The historical clips concluded with 49ers legend Bill Walsh being carried off after a Super Bowl victory. It had iconic moments in Bay Area football history including: The Catch, Ghost to the Post, Kenny Stabler to Clarence Davis to beat the Fish (Dolphins), John Taylor’s winning grab, Allen's 74-yard touchdown run in the Super Bowl and Jerry Rice toasting defenders.
The final selection, the Champions suite, set the table for Sunday’s game being devoted entirely to the Panthers and the Broncos.
The program repeats tonight at 8—a note: if you go, you do not need the expensive seats—the 2nd Tier (3rd deck in football terms) worked just fine at $35 a ticket. Last night’s event also featured a VIP event hosted by Ronnie Lott and his wife. Our budget did not permit us to join them—tickets were $1,000 to $5,000 per seat in a fundraiser for the symphony.
After some years of financial challenges, the community and the box office really stepped up for the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center in 2015.
With the direction of the organization set after settling up with bankers and the city and county stepping up on the ownership side, the organization, which operates the Bankhead Theater in Livermore, moved in 2015 needing to raise about $300,000 to break even.
Non-audited results for 2015 show a great picture for the organization. Aggressive fundraising and community outreach that grew the membership from 677 to 825 resulted in a surplus of about $10,000. An update today puts the surplus at $20,000--better news. A key drive was matching a $100,000 anonymous challenge grant that resulted in donations of more than $398,000. That 4-to-1 leverage suggests how much the community values the Bankhead as well as the excellent leadership from the staff and the board.
PS-- For those who don't know my professional background, I cut my teeth writing local sports back when the Raiders, under John Madden and Tom Flores, knew how to play football (Jack Del Rio was star at Hayward High) and we had five full-time local sports reporters. I am also blessed to have a wife who likes sports enough and watches enough with me that she would accompany me to the event and enjoy the film and well as the music. She is a gifted musician.