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Sunday, Jul 21, 2024

Couch Concert for a Valley Cause

Winnetka nonprofit Valley Village has brought in nearly $20,000 with a fundraiser event that places a fun twist on the now-ubiquitous Zoom meeting. The organization, which runs residential housing facilities, day care centers and after-school programs for adults with developmental disabilities, has adapted the office-friendly video chat software to broadcast a live “Couch Concert” featuring American Idol contestant Juno Rada and longtime NBC4 weatherman Fritz Coleman. The concert will take place Sept. 10 at 5:30 p.m. Individual tickets are $20 a person and song requests are available at $5 a song. Senior Director of Development Matthew Swearman told the Business Journal the evening will serve up much-needed social time for clients, staff and donors as in-person gatherings remain against protocol. “We wanted to help people connect with our mission, but we wanted to do it in a fun way,” he said. “Think about the effect that music has on you in your life. Music is powerful. Juno and music are integral parts of our programs.” Rada has gained attention as an American Idol Golden Ticket winner, chosen to compete on the television talent show in a quarterfinals round. But his day job is as music instructor for Valley Village’s day programs, a role that evolved out of his volunteer work with the nonprofit. Rada will headline the evening with a set of classic covers beamed direct from his home studio. Accompanying him will be Coleman, who retired as NBC4’s weather anchor in June after 39 years in front of the camera. Coleman’s second career is as a comedian. He’s a frequent performer at the Ice House comedy club in Pasadena and The Improv in Hollywood, and has won Emmy Awards for comedy specials that aired on NBC4. He’ll loosen the couch concert crowd as master of ceremonies. Swearman said the pandemic has brought hard times on Valley Village, forcing the temporary closure of its 18 residential locations and the transition of its skills training and physical therapy programs to virtual formats. Additionally, he said, the state budget that funds Valley Village’s operations has tightened in the crisis economy. “With the new state budget, we had to advocate to have our funding restored,” Swearman said. “It’s been a very competitive market with fundraising and getting grants. We just have to be creative.” The couch concert has proved successful so far, and ticket sales aren’t the event’s only fundraising mechanism. Valley Village has sold about a dozen sponsorships to local and national businesses including Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. insurance brokerage and Montage Insurance Solutions in Woodland Hills. Also, the couch concert will include a silent online auction where donors can direct their support to specific Valley Village programs. Attendees and donors need register for the event on the Valley Village website.

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