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Capistrano Library’s Cultural Season Saved

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rebounding from a fiscal close call, organizers of the San Juan Capistrano Regional Library’s popular performing-arts series have raised enough money both to mount a complete season next year and to avoid curtailing its current season.

Backers of the San Juan Capistrano Multicultural Performance and Visual Arts Series of concerts, plays and readings launched a fund drive after learning in July that the County of Orange had eliminated its support for the program because of its own budget woes.

The effort succeeded: As of Saturday’s performance by Brazilian guitarist Ricardo Silveira, the library had raised a total of $12,553, mostly in $10 to $100 donations from individuals, librarian and series director Jose Aponte said.

The Saturday night series, which for almost four years has featured pop, jazz and folk music primarily from Latin America, but also from Africa and Europe occasionally, will conclude this year on Nov. 20 as originally planned, Aponte said Monday. “Next season, (which is) now a reality,” will include theater, dance and poetry, events that “do not pay for themselves” like the series’ popular music programs.

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Earlier this summer, the Friends of the Library board voted to commit $4,000 to ensure the series’ current season. Aponte had feared, however, that the public fund drive would raise only enough money to stage a “bare-bones” 1994 season.

The drive’s success also means that another $4,000 committed by the library board for 1994 will be used as “seed money” for a 1995 series, Aponte said.

The county has made a verbal commitment to fund next year’s series, providing it doesn’t face the same fiscal constraints that forced its budget cuts this year, Aponte added.

Fund drive contributions were solicited through a direct-mail campaign and at concerts.

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In addition, the library has qualified for private foundation funding from the Toyota Foundation and the Fieldstone Corp., although such grant decisions won’t be made until December.

The drive will continue through Sept. 15, Aponte said, with a goal of raising $15,000 to ensure “firm-footing” for next year’s series.

The lineup for the remainder of the current season includes Bateke Beat, performing modern music of Africa on Sept. 11, and Bongo Logic, a Brazilian salsa band scheduled for Oct. 23. The final concert will feature Flor de Cana, a salsa band from Boston.

The 1994 season will begin in late January with classical pianist Thomas Otten of Los Angeles. All performances, held in the library’s outdoor courtyard, are $3.


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