Three time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton (A Thousand Miles) told the media and local dignitaries at Santa Anita Park on Tuesday that she is returning to her classical pianist roots for her first-ever concert with a symphony this Saturday, June 30 when she will be the featured guest artist of the California Philharmonic Orchestra.
The concert will also mark the debut of Cal Phil’s Festival on the Green summer program of five performances at Santa Anita Park every two weeks on Saturday nights.
<Story continues below the following 4 1/2-minute video highlights of Carlton and others at the media ribbon-cutting event.>
Track president George Haines said Santa Anita has been working on the reconfiguration of the infield of the facility for a year, extending the sunken grass area in front of the stage set on a new concrete slab atop a berm, adding lighting along walkways, and reducing the height of fencing to allow better sight lines for seated guests. Among the changes for attendees used to watching Cal Phil at the Arboretum for the past 14 years will be ample parking ($15) in the north lot of 5,000 spaces inside Gate 6 off Colorado Place. Attendees will walk from the lot through the tunnel under the track and then to the west side of the infield, where they will find all of food, beverages, and activities for attendees of all ages.
Santa Anita director of community services and special projects Pete Siberell, who is also President of the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce, noted that the concert programs represent the first nighttime events scheduled at the track, which Santa Anita hopes will be the first of many.
In addition to Carlton, the Santa Anita executives, Cal Phil conductor Victor Vener and his son Andre who oversees operations, Arcadia Mayor Bob Harbicht offered words of congratulations and welcome. Certificates were presented to Maestro Vener by Siberell, on behalf of the Chamber, and representatives of legislators Congressman David Dreier, state senator Bob Huff, and Assemblyman Anthony Portantino.
– By Scott Hettrick