Dave Ruane is on a mission – a mission to ensure that the Napa High Vocal Music Workshop can continue at the school for decades to come. Educational funding sources, particularly those focused upon the arts, have become increasingly slim. Therefore, Ruane, who grew up in Napa and attended local public schools, has taken another Napa High School tradition, the annual A Cappella Extravaganza, and pumped it up into a vibrant, entertaining, evening-long fundraiser for the Vocal Music Workshop program.
The 10th annual, A Cappella Extravaganza is set for Saturday, January 31, at 7:00 p.m. at Lincoln Theater in Yountville. This year, the concert boasts a one-of-a-kind line-up of high school, collegiate and professional groups. Recent Napa High alumni and alumnae will be “coming home” to perform as members of their respective collegiate groups: the all-female sensation, Vocal Motion (UC Santa Barbara), the Stanford Fleet Street Singers (Stanford University), That’s the Key (Cal Poly), the co-ed groups Cloud 9 (UC Santa Cruz), and the Deviant Voices (UCLA) and, also returning this year is the ever-popular, Men’s Octet (UC Berkeley).
In addition to Napa High’s Vocal Music Workshop, Napa County High School a cappella groups scheduled to perform include: PDA / Public Display of A Cappella (American Canyon High School) and The Vocalettes (Vintage High School).
Continuing another tradition, the community will welcome back to the stage this year, Napa High School alumni and alumnae, including Emily Duncan and Kelty Kauffmann (Vocal Motion), Madi Lippmann (Cloud 9), Eddie Ruane and Jeffrey Hanton (Deviant Voices), Jeremy Raven (The Stanford Fleet Street Singers) and Liv Macler and Jonathon Woodward (That’s the Key).
“The first Extravaganza probably had about 60 attendees. Its popularity has grown exponentially each year,” reports Ruane, “The last three sold out. It originally formed as a forum for sharing the somewhat-new genre of modern, a cappella music. It was Jamie Butler, who is now the Choral Director at American Canyon High School, who transformed Napa High’s Vocal Music Workshop from a 1980s, show choir into a modern, a cappella group.” Ruane credits Butler for making “Vocal” what it has evolved into today.
It is Ruane (along with a small group of students and volunteers), however, that has made “Extravaganza” what it is today. Last year, the appropriate-for-all-ages event, sold out the 1,200 seat, Lincoln Theater. This year, a sell-out is likely once again. “Headlining this year’s concert is MO5AIC, a 5-man vocal supernova that leaves listeners wondering where ‘the band’ is,” says Ruane. MO5AIC has been featured with Jay Leno, Prince and Tony Bennett.
A professional musician and educator, Ruane (whose two children are Napa High School graduates and former music-department participants) volunteered to direct the Vocal Music Workshop three years ago. “Along with our Music Office Manager, Gina DeLuca, the success of Extravaganza, and the support of Travis Rogers, we were able to keep the program alive,” Ruane, since hired as director added, “The A Cappella Extravaganza is our most important fundraiser, as we receive zero dollars from the school district for this class. Everyone who buys a ticket helps support Vocal Music Workshop.”
What can the audience expect? “Wow! The word extravaganza sums it up,” exclaims Ruane, “From the traditional style of the Cal Men, to the brazen riffs from many of the other collegiate groups, to our own local, talented, high-school groups, to an internationally-acclaimed headliner that will inspire…Everyone who has attended an Extravaganza for the first time walks away saying they had no idea how great the music was. This is a must-see-and-hear event that benefits our kids.”
Tickets to the 10th Annual, A Capella Extravaganza are on sale now for $25 per person ($20 for students with ID). Normally, a ticket to such a performance would be two to three times the price. To purchase tickets visit the Lincoln Theater Box Office in person at 100 California Drive in Yountville, go to LincolnTheater.org, or call 944-9900.