Photo by Shilah Montiel

Greg Coote Concert for the Arts @ Barnum Hall

Few concerts featuring multiple Grammy winners start the night off with the Pledge of Allegiance, but last Saturday’s Greg Coote Concert for the Arts at Santa Monica High School stands as a noteworthy exception.

The annual Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation benefit filled Samohi’s 1,200-seat Barnum Hall with parents and donors looking to support public school arts programs by doing a little rocking out.

Michael McDonald of Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan fame was joined onstage by his wife Amy Holland (“How Do I Survive,” “Shake Me Wake Me”), with additional performances from Richard Page of Mr. Mister (“Broken Wings,” “Kyrie”), as well as noted parody artist “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Listening to such amazing sounds in the 80-year-old Art Deco theater, it would be easy to forget the high school setting — until a look on stage revealed a backing section of student musicians, keeping time with a coterie of pros. The Westside natives who make up the band Venice (including two cool dads of current Samohi students) lent support as the house band for their 12th Concert for the Arts appearance.

Over the years, the concert has contributed to a $2.9 million endowment for education, and that education was eminently visible in the outstanding musicianship of the students.

From duets with the visiting artists to a three-girl chorus donning goofy clothes to accompany Weird Al on “Tacky” (a parody of Pharrell Williams’ ubiquitous 2013 hit “Happy”), the student musicians of Samohi made the best argument for supporting the arts all night.

— Andy Vasoyan


March 27 is the deadline for local nonprofits to apply for Rotary Club of Santa Monica Community and Youth Grants. clubrunner.ca/santamonica/

The Santa Monica Conservancy is looking for volunteer docents to help share the Roaring ’20s history of the Annenberg Beach House. smconservancy.org

Samohi students present “Voices of Survivors,” an evening of original theatre based on the life stories of four Holocaust survivors, from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22. lamoth.ticketleap.com

The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce hosts Speed Networking from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, at the Steve Little State Farm Insurance office on Pico Boulevard. smchamber.org

Take a free Zumba dance fitness class at Reed Park from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, March 16, or Saturday, March 18. schatz11.zumba.com

Easter is coming, and the Santa Monica Jaycees will hold their annual Peter Rabbit Day — including an egg hunt, egg dyeing and sack races — on April 15 at Douglas Park. smjaycee.org