March is Membership Month at the Mondavi Center and we're sharing the stories of several of our members during the month. Sally McKee is an enthusiastic supporter, plus she serves as a member of the Mondavi Center Administrative Advisory Committee. In her professional life, Sally is a Professor of History and Department Chair at the UC Davis College of Letters and Science.
When asked why she supports the Mondavi Center, Sally replied:
For those of us who regularly attend performances at the Mondavi Center, the year 2020 will be remembered as the time of exile. I was last in Jackson Hall on Monday, March 9, 2020. A friend and I were there to hear the extraordinary singer Cecile McLorin Salvant. I remember being touched by her patently heartfelt expression of gratitude that we had come out to hear her at such an uncertain moment when we were just becoming aware of the dangers of the coronavirus. Before we took our seats in Jackson Hall, I meandered as usual around the lobby as if it were an Italian piazza before the dinner hour when villagers emerge for their nightly stroll. I always run into friends and acquaintances. We exchanged news, talked about the immanent performance, sipped our wine, and waved to others in the crowd milling about.
Every time I attend a performance at Mondavi, the atmosphere in the hall is welcoming and slightly festive. During the two hours or so that I spend there, I forget everything occurring outside the glass entrance doors. I am keenly aware of how lucky I am to live somewhere with a cultural center that presents top-flight musicians, dance companies, bands, and theatre that my friends living in big cities would love to have easy access to. The Mondavi Center and the Manetti Shrem Museum are the poles of my campus universe. Like many others, I long for the moment when I pass once again through the glass doors, have my ticket scanned, and look around for friends. I always find some. Then I'll settle back into my seat and let the music begin to wash away the tension and worry of the past year.
We also asked Sally to tell us about the most memorable performances she's attended at the Mondavi Center:
Zurich Chamber Orchestra
Jazz at Lincoln Center with Chick Corea
Academy of St Martin with Jeremy Denk
Camille A. Brown & dancers
Fred Hersch with Charles Lloyd