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Hoppin’ and boppin’ for a good cause

Latest in concert series draws audience of 300, donations for homeless shelter

Posted: February 23, 2013 5:34 p.m.
Updated: February 23, 2013 5:34 p.m.

Phil Hyland performs on guitar and lead vocals for "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" at the Songwriter Salute Series on Saturday. Signal photo by Dan Watson

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Saturday night may be all right for fighting, but Saturday afternoon was set aside for a free concert that doubled as a tribute to Elton John and a fundraiser for the Santa Clarita Valley homeless shelter.

Thirty-nine local musicians signed on to participate in the event at Hart High School. In about three hours, musicians took the stage to perform about 30 of Elton John’s most well-known works, including “Candle in the Wind,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Levon,” and “Tiny Dancer.”

The Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter received a small mountain of donations including Styrofoam plates, plastic cutlery and small-denomination gift cards.

Tim Davis, executive director of Bridge to Home, which runs the shelter, said he was very pleased with the amount of donations.

Saturday’s concert was the latest edition of the David Fernandez Songwriter Salute Series, a set of concerts that celebrates songs written or performed by influential artists and groups. Participants are local musicians who join in for the fun of it.

The concert series is named for David Fernandez, who organized the first event in his Valencia backyard in 2007.
Fernandez orchestrated the first four songwriter salutes before dying of a heart attack.

As more and more people learned of the concerts, they quickly outgrew their informal venues. An initial gathering of about 10 musicians and 20 attendees ballooned to 39 musicians and 300 estimated attendees on Saturday.
Kim Fernandez, David’s widow, said she was amazed by the growth of the event.

“It’s hard to believe this is still the same thing we had in our backyard,” she said, glancing around the auditorium.
Kim Fernandez also said she thinks the ongoing series is a tribute to her husband’s memory.

“I think he would be thrilled to see this many musicians come together, making new friendships,” she said.

John Dow, chairman of the Santa Clarita Arts Commission, said the concerts show the unifying draw of the arts.

“This event is an awesome example of how the arts can help make a positive example for businesses and our community,” Dow said.

Previous artists spotlighted in the songwriter series include The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones, said Steve Tannehill, one of the musicians in the event.

Every decision on whom to spotlight in the songwriter series is the subject of much discussion, Tannehill said. And this time was no different.

“There is always a constant debate about who to do next,” Tannehill said. “So finally the piano players, including myself, said, ‘How about we do a piano player for once?’”
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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