Music without Borders Concert
National City – It was an event that combined award winning classical guitar music with important messages about the environmental and health challenges facing the San Diego-Baja California border region.
In late April, the International Community Foundation joined forces with world-renowned classical guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas to host Music Without Borders – a benefit concert that raised more than $22,000 for the foundation’s work in the border area.
The concert, attended by 142 people, and covered by local television and print media, marked the conclusion of a week of musical events in National City organized by the foundation featuring Spanish-born Sáinz Villegas.
In addition to raising money for the foundation’s environmental and health work in the border region, the concert and the week of events preceding it were held to increase cultural exchange, particularly in the San Diego-Baja region.
“Our goal was to promote the notion that we are one and that music transcends borders,” said foundation President and Chief Executive Richard Kiy, adding that the foundation plans to host similar cultural events in the future.
The concert took place at the foundation’s National City headquarters on the property of the historic Noyes House. Concert attendees wandered the home’s manicured grounds, toured its organic garden and feasted on hors d'oeuvres, dessert and refreshments provided by a variety of vendors including Tavola Romantica, Monsoon, Rotisserie Affair, SOAR (Sushi On a Roll), Grove Pastry Shop, and Starbucks. In addition, Chef Jesus Gonzalez served attendees appetizers made with ingredients from the foundation’s own organic garden.
“It was a marvelous event. The weather cooperated, the musician was great, people were fun, food delicious and the venue with garden and home tours added to the attraction,” said attendee Irene Chandler, whose late husband George Chandler, a former foundation board member, was honored at the concert. “The only thing that would have been better was if George were there in person, as opposed to in spirit."
During the week leading up to the April 26th concert, Sáinz Villegas gave concerts and lectures at three National City public schools - Sweetwater High School, Olivewood Elementary and the MAAC Community Charter School, engaging more than 700 students and members of under-represented communities in National City and Chula Vista.
Sáinz Villegas is an internationally acclaimed classical guitarist who has worked with the New York Philharmonic, the Vienna Musikverein and the Israeli Philharmonic. He has received accolades for his performances with orchestras the world over, recorded CDs and received the Ojo Critico award, one of Spain's top honors in artistic achievement. He received the Ojo Critico award alongside filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar.
The partnership between Sáinz Villegas and the International Community Foundation developed after the guitarist contacted the foundation to find out how he could help with the foundation’s efforts. Sáinz Villegas has also said that it is a priority of his to bring music to people who might otherwise miss out.
Among the concert guests was Point Loma residents Paul Eichen and his wife Susan Flieder. The couple described the event as eye opening for a variety of reasons.
“I’ve been a resident of San Diego County for more than 50 years now and had no idea that such a neighborhood in National City existed,” said Eichen, whose attendance at the concert marked his first visit to the foundation’s new National City headquarters. “We also took a tour of the house and that was fascinating. All in all, we learned a great deal about the county in which we live.”