VH1 Save The Music

VH1 Save The Music Event in Napa Valley

Article By Sandra Michaan

Photos by Kevin Graft

A heavy mist fell upon the serene and lush landscape at Solage Calistoga in Napa Valley when VH1 Save The Music threw its first Musically Mastered Menu event of the year. This SOLD OUT gathering came out to support a great cause that merges the music and culinary worlds for an intimate evening of raising funds to restore music programs in public schools across America. Matt Nathanson “Come Get Higher”, a singer-songwriter based in San Francisco, headlined this event.


The venue was decorated in elegant tones with warm lighting and crystal chandeliers. The centerpieces were natural wood sculptures of driftwood with lush orchids and greenery.

The first hour, guests spent the time mingling and perusing the silent auction items, ordering specialty cocktails at the bar and enjoying some delicious hors d’oeuvres. I tried their concoction “Sex in the Valley” which was a refreshing green tea vodka cocktail and a crowd favorite.


During this time, I met a super fan of Matt Nathanson’s, Melissa Fong. This performance marked the 101st time she saw him in concert. She attended with her wife, Esmee Traudes and they were still celebrating their Honeymoon. They recently got married in San Francisco City Hall.

While we’re arriving, Chef Brandon Sharp, a Michelin-starred talent at Solbar, prepared his gourmet fare for dinner. Chef Sharp created a menu inspired by Matt’s music. The three-course menu included Lake Pontchartrain blue crab appetizer, loin and shoulder of Emigh Farms lamb as the main entree, and a decadent sugar pie pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. I especially enjoyed the crab appetizer paired with a glass of local wine.

Matt Nathanson opened his set with a song called “Adrenaline.” He stated it was “a song about sex, another thing that goes with food.” Matt sang several songs to an attentive, enthusiastic crowd. Most of the songs were from his new album such as “Headphones,” “All We Are,” “Giants,” and ended with one of my personal favorites, “Bill Murray”, a song he wrote to appease journalists when asked if there is someone famous he’d like to meet. Not to make Matt jealous but I have met Bill Murray and I would also like to go on a road trip with him. Matt bantered between songs with funny personal stories and discussed what music education meant to him while growing up, saying it “saved my life” and added, “The world was super beautiful and magical when you had a soundtrack to it.” Inspiring words from a true music lover.

In the 19 years that Save The Music has existed, it has brought more than $51 million in new musical instruments to 1,964 public schools in 233 districts around the country. The event was successful in raising more than $15,000 (with the final tally still being counted). More Musically Mastered Menu events to be announced across the country in the months to come so stay tuned.