As these ads always go on to say, there really are some things money can’t buy. It’s hard to put a price tag on things like time with friends and family or unique, once-in-a-lifetime events. It’s hard to put a price tag on experiences.
Take a glance through the catalog for the Music Academy’s Online Auction, a fundraising effort supported by the Women’s Auxiliary, and you’ll see that it’s riddled with priceless experiences. A private cocktail party on one of the Academy’s beautiful patios, followed by conducting lessons and the opportunity to lead live musicians; an intimate dinner and recital on the stage in Hahn Hall; and the chance to commission a brand new piece of music and hear it played at a social-distance-friendly premiere – these are just a few of the offerings up for bid in the auction. Sure, you can put a dollar amount on cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. What you can’t put a dollar amount on, however, are memories. A private conducting lesson for you and a group of your friends. Hearing for the first time a piece of music that exists because of your philanthropy. Each and every one of these auction items truly is priceless.
Just as interesting as what’s in the auction, though, is how this new endeavor came to be. The story behind the auction is one of resilience and creativity, and it begins and ends with the Women’s Auxiliary. The Women’s Auxiliary of the Music Academy of the West has been supporting our mission since their founding in 1954. During that 66-year history, these women have served on the board of directors and its various committees; been crucial participants in the Music Academy’s Compeer Program; and formed the core of the Academy’s volunteer opportunities, serving as everything from docents to ushers. Through their strong social bonds, they have contributed to the familial atmosphere of the Music Academy. And they have fundraised. Through philanthropic efforts big and small, the members of the Women’s Auxiliary have proven themselves to be not only one of the most effective sources of charitable giving for the Academy, but one of the most effective organizations of its kind in Santa Barbara. Period.
The Women’s Auxiliary have supported the Academy through a variety of fundraising efforts over the years. In 1979, they began operating The Rack, a boutique for women’s clothing. That was joined in 1986 by The Treasure House, a store selling antiques, furniture, fine silver, and china. Then there was May Madness, a large annual sale of art, clothing, antiques, furniture, and more that practically took over the entire campus. This crowd-pleasing event, which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of its forty-year history, was the Auxiliary’s primary fundraiser.