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Spring 2021 News

Levitt San Jose Update: Excitement for the Future

Greetings Levitt San Jose supporters!

After an unprecedented year, the Board of Levitt San Jose is very excited for a new year of growth and movement in our mission to build community through music.

This year continues from a major milestone in December 2020 - the City Council's unanimous approval of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed project that would revitalize St. James Park, including the development of the proposed Levitt Pavilion. However, a legal challenge against the EIR by the Sainte Claire Historic Preservation Foundation is ongoing, and we will continue to keep you updated in future newsletters. The City Council also approved the Historic Preservation Permit required for the development to proceed.

In January, our board began working with consultant Alyssa Byrkit to help Levitt San Jose establish a framework for success once our three-way agreement with the City and the Levitt Foundation is completed. And in March, we enjoyed being part of the annual convening of national Levitt Pavilions - albeit virtual this year. You can learn more in a great video clip included below. Finally, this month we welcomed a new board member - Michelle Dreyband! Learn more about her also below.

The Board of Directors of the Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose remain committed to our mission to build community through free, all-ages, high-quality live music shows and performances in historic St. James Park. Thank you for being part of it!

Fil Maresca
Board Chair
Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose

Board Spotlight: Simeon Shigg

This month, we're happy to put a spotlight on Board Member Simeon Shigg, who has been with Levitt San Jose since 2018. 

Simeon is a husband, girl dad, son, human and much more. He was born in Los Angeles and was at church every time it was open with his father the pastor. Simeon has called San Jose home for the last five years and is the CFO at Casino M8trix. He also attends Emmanuel Baptist Church, and is the author of his first children’s book titled, Manners from the Moon. Simeon has a very particular set of skills acquired over his career that make him an asset to this board and his community.

Simeon, where does your interest in being part of creating a music pavilion in St. James Park come from?
As a lover of music, and former band member of a few passion projects in Los Angeles, music is one of the few things that cross racial, economic, age and other barriers. Music unites in a special way and the worlds needs a little assistance with uniting right now.
 
You are married and have a young daughter. What has been being a parent taught you about children, music, and art in general?
Being a parent of an amazing three-year-old girl has opened my eyes to how humans limit themselves. Little kids don’t know what they can not do until you tell them. Music and Art work the same way. There is a musical instrument and art medium for everyone. It just may take a little longer to find it or it may take time to unlearn the No’s you have heard in your life preventing your curiosity.

Recently you published a children’s book called, "Manners from the Moon." This is a very interesting pursuit, what motivated you to write this book?
I have enjoyed hearing stories from my elders all of my life. Great story telling no matter the vehicle is amazing to me. My mom who is the best mother in the world says “I love it when you use your manners.” I took that saying and kept working with it until I was able to put it into story form.

How would you envision St. James Park five years into the future?
I see St. James Park as the home of great music and mandatory stop for artists traveling through California. I see St. James Park as the launch pad for the next wave of great artists. I see St. James Park as a place I take my family, meet new friends, hear great music and make lasting memories.
 

Michelle Dreyband Joins Levitt San Jose Board

We're happy to welcome Michelle Dreyband as the newest board member of Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose. 

Michelle grew up as both an artist and an audience member in the San Jose arts community and is now the Major Gifts Director at The Tech Interactive. She holds a Bachelor of Music from San Jose State University and a Masters of Arts in Arts Administration from Indiana University. Even while advancing her career as a development professional, Michelle still finds time for music and is both a singer and the board chair for the local community choir Resounding Achord. After obtaining her masters degree Michelle worked for both Stanford Live and The San Francisco Symphony. She is also a graduate of Leadership San Jose and genARTS.

Michelle brings a wide variety of expertise to the board from event planning, to communications, to major gifts fundraising.

I joined the Levitt San Jose Board because I want to do something great for my home city. San Jose has long deserved to be a place where the arts can thrive, and this project is a big step in that direction. Not only will the pavilion provide a community gathering place for friends, family, and neighbors to enjoy free concerts, but it will also be a venue where artists will be paid and treated fairly, which is essential to the greater arts community of this region.”

Welcome, Michelle! 

Equity, Staying Connected the Themes for National Levitt Convening

This past March, Levitt San Jose board members participated in the annual National Levitt Network Convening, a gathering of all the Levitt Pavilions across the country, from Westport, Connecticut to Los Angeles.

A virtual gathering this year, the program highlighted the ways that many Levitt Pavilion were able to continue bringing people together through music, albeit with virtual or safe in-person outdoor concerts (thanks to all who participated in our own version last summer, May Day for the Arts), as well as a presentation on practicing equity & anti-racism in our work with Levitt.

We also LOVED this video, featuring artist and bands that have performed at Levitts across the country. Bet you'll know at least one!  

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Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose, Box 1735, San Jose CA 95109
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