When Kim Cavallo realized that tuition was costing Heschel West enrollment, she sought help for the Agoura Jewish day school from a family friend—Dave Matthews.
"He generously agreed to do it on his own. Just him and his guitar—a 45-minute acoustic set," said Cavallo, who spent time with the internationally acclaimed artist in 2008 when her husband produced Dave Matthews Band's last record. "He's going to be playing at the Hollywood Bowl and Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in between. Had the timing not worked out, I don't know if we would have been able to make this work."
The money raised from the concert will go toward Heschel West's Tuition Assistance program, which is a fund that provides need-based scholarship to students.
"There is a need right now, just in the way of the economy, that situations have changed for people that chose private education for their kids. They may not be able to afford what they used to," said Cavallo, a past school board president for three years.
Cavallo's two sons are either attending or have graduated from the Blue Ribbon community day school on Canwood Street.
"The main message through all of this is to have families come to the school," she said. "It seems overwhelming and exclusive, but we are trying to focus on making it affordable for people."
Tickets range from $1000 for general admission to up to $20,000 for a Heschel West faculty sponsorship package. Twelve VIP tickets at $1800 were sold almost immediately, Cavallo said.
"I am hoping that we can get 200 to 250 people to purchase tickets and attend," Cavallo said. "Right now, we are at the 125 mark."
Deemed a "backyard BBQ," besides a performance by Dave Matthews, attendees will have the opportunity to indulge in several sponsored treats—from Agoura Hills' Tifa Chocolate & Gelato and Thousand Oaks' Bent On Coffee to WaterOne and Sapporo beer.
A founding family of Heschel West referred Cavallo to CharityHappenings.org. "It was instrumental in helping us gain exposure and connections," Cavallo said. Event planner Debra Parr of Amazing Grace Designs donated her services, as well as a number of parent volunteers from across the Conejo Valley.
"I am learning by the seat of my pants," said Cavallo. "It is amazing. I have never experienced anything like this."
Head of School Yuri Hronsky learned of Cavallo's fundraiser at the beginning of summer, before officially taking his position in July.
"When I came on board, I felt that this was somehow a gift to me," said Hronsky, a fan of Dave Matthews. "To be willing to do this for a small little school in Agoura reveals everything about his character. He is doing it blindly. He is doing it quietly in between his concerts. This is something bigger."
Hrsonky hopes that the concert will raise enough money to sustain families for the coming school year.
"In the last couple of years, it has been really tough on the school financially. A lot of our families got hit really hard and are struggling now to get their kids to school," Hronsky said. "This is the kind of gift that has a lasting legacy for years to come. I am not even sure there are words for the amount of gratitude we have for this."
The Cavallo's Backyard BBQ Concert with Dave Matthews will take place on Sunday, August 22 in Hidden Hills. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. The concert is at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.