Premier Musicians Pitch In to Help Rebuild Paradise, California

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The California Gift of Music hosts the first of three fundraising concerts at the Paradise Performing Arts Center.

“When world famous musicians are offering to play for free to benefit re-building the Arts on Paradise, how could I possibly say no.”

Music lovers around the world now have a chance to help music and the arts make a comeback in the fire ravaged city of Paradise, California. The first of a series of three benefit concerts featuring Bill Evans and a host of world famous bluegrass musicians took place on the even 1st anniversary of the Camp Fire at the beautiful Paradise Performing Arts Center (PPAC), which miraculously survived the Fire intact. Next up is Paradise R&B, a dance party on Saturday November 16 that will rock the rafters of PPAC to the late hours of the night. The series will conclude on November 24 with Recuerdos de Paradise, a special Sunday afternoon concert of classical and flamenco guitar featuring the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Adam del Monte, Jack Cimo, and Berto Boyd. All proceeds after minimal expenses will be donated to support music and the performing arts for the new city of Paradise.

Producer Ken Donnell, a resident of nearby Greenville was deeply involved in the initial recovery stated, “In my travels around the world, I have visited many sacred places, some of which were also beautiful performance venues during their time. From the great Cathedrals of Europe, to humble churches in the South Pacific, to the concert halls of Pompeii, and many other sacred shrines in a variety of nations, I have stood in awe at the ability of man to create spaces where music can be performed that helps to lift our spirits, and fills us with rapture. Last night, I experienced another such sacred place of music at the Paradise Performing Arts Center (PPAC), when the 1st concert of our 3 event series filled PPAC with the beautiful stringed instrument sounds of traditional American Bluegrass. Regardless of whatever style of music might have been, or will be performed at PPAC, I can honestly say that this is the most amazing modern performance facility I have ever visited. The acoustics are perfect; there is not a bad seat in the 765 seat house; it is intimate enough for a solo performer to feel comfortable; yet there is a stage large enough to comfortably accommodate a world class ballet company.”

There are thousands of Paradise Fire refugees living nearby who would love to come to these concerts, but finances are very tight, and the local communities are exhausted with the difficulties of being located adjacent to a disaster zone. So, to combine donations to the cause with giving a healing meaningful musical experience to these refugees, the promoters (California Gift of Music) of this concert series are making an appeal to music fans around the world to please - “Buy a ticket for a Paradise Fire Refugee” at the event website, Each such ticket will send a Paradise Fire Refugee to attend the concert for free, and the cost of the ticket will go directly to support rebuilding the arts in Paradise.

All of the musicians performing at these concerts are donating their time and artistic skills, with extra time and effort donated by Artistic Director Jack Cimo, who also provided the first inspiration for these concerts. The event promoter, Ken Donnell, founder of the non-profit the California Gift of Music, is donating his time to organize these concerts, saying... “ when world famous musicians are offering to play for free to benefit re-building the Arts on Paradise, and in a beautiful concert venue like PPAC, how could I possibly say no.”

"The Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. It is also the deadliest wildfire in the United States since 1918. It was one of the world’s costliest natural disasters in 2018. The fire caused at least 85 civilian fatalities and injured 17 civilians. It covered an area of 153,336 acres (almost 240 sq. miles), and destroyed 18,804 structures, with most of the damage occurring within the first four hours. Total damage was $16.5 billion.

So far, contributors around the world have donated nearly 100 free tickets to fire refugees. All funds raised through ticket sales and donations will support the rebuilding of the music and arts community in and around Paradise.

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Josie Litchfield
Donnells MusicLand
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