Nonprofit Spotlight: Turning canceled travel to community investment | Local News

“We have always loved serving local wines at the bar in the Patron’s Garden before PCPA performances and live music concerts,” Lois said, “so we will be lending our names to that bar. What better way to use cancelled travel funds than to pass along the joy of live performance to future generations.”

During the pandemic year, Lily Carey was able to give generously to a number of nonprofits, including Direct Relief International, UCSB Arts & Lectures, local Rotary, and Theaterfest. Lily sees all types of performance arts as “necessary for everyone’s sanity.”

But she has an additional reason to support live theater: Her grandfather, Harry Carey — who appeared in movies alongside John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart — was a playwright and acted in New York theater before coming to Hollywood. So Lily looks with special affection at the PCPA performers who take the stage of Solvang Festival Theater each summer.

“The performers are fantastic,” Lily said. “Even judged against performers in major cities, they are amazing. Besides,” she continued, “this wonderful outdoor theater is the gem of the Valley — as a community we have to do whatever it takes to be sure it will continue to thrive.”

Valley residents Bill and Kelley Brennan were vacationing in New Zealand last March when borders began to close due to the pandemic. Having to leave New Zealand early was a huge disappointment, but the travel company did come through with a refund.

As more and more activities closed here at home, the Brennans had time to reflect on the many summer evenings they’d enjoyed over the years at the Solvang Festival Theater — sitting under the stars, sipping wine, catching up with friends and neighbors. “It just seemed right,” Kelley said, “to put this travel refund toward helping to rebuild the theater, doing our part to ensure professional live theater and music for future generations of Valley residents and tourists.”

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