American singer-songwriter Ben Folds, best known as the frontman for the eponymous alternative rock band that smashed hits in the 1990s, has been announced as the new headliner for Livermore Valley Arts’ annual Brilliance at the Bankhead fundraiser at the announced Sept.
Folds is stepping in to replace previously signed headliner Randy Newman, who is unable to perform as he continues to recover from throat surgery earlier in the year.
“Mr. Newman regrets missing this important fundraiser and sends his best wishes for a wonderful evening, and Livermore Valley Arts is confident that Ben Folds will delight our audiences at the highest level,” officials at the nonprofit said in a statement last Friday confirms the surprising change.
“Ben Folds is widely regarded as one of the most important music influencers of our generation, having created an enormous collection of music that spans genres, including pop albums with Ben Folds Five, several solo albums and numerous collaborative albums,” added representatives from Livermore Valley Arts.
Brilliance at the Bankhead, scheduled for September 10th at the Downtown Livermore Entertainment Center, is the largest fundraiser for Livermore Valley Arts each year, supporting its programs at the Bankhead Theater and Bothwell Arts Center and the broad educational and educational offerings of the non-profit organization cultural art education activities.
The evening gala, for which tickets are still available, includes a gourmet dinner by On the Vine Catering, coffee by Story Coffee, live music in the plaza before the show, raffle and live and silent auctions – in addition to the musical performance in the marquee.
Livermore Valley Arts announced back in February that Newman, an Oscar- and Grammy-winning pianist and singer-songwriter perhaps best known for his original songs in Disney/Pixar films such as the Toy Story series , who will be hosting this year’s event and are helping kick off the 2022-23 season to celebrate Bankhead’s 15th anniversary.
Newman, 78, publicly announced in early March that he would be postponing his then-upcoming An Evening with Randy Newman European tour to 2023, but he was still considered ready to headline September’s Bankhead Gala.
“Recently I noticed that I was shrinking. People I towered over now towered over me,” Newman said on his website in March. “Could this be revenge for writing ‘Short People’? As it turned out, my neck was broken. They operated on me successfully I believe.”
“So far I’m looking less like an anteater and more like an early ’60s folk-rock artist. But the doctor said I wasn’t ready to tour yet. I was really looking forward to coming to Europe to perform I really miss performing and I’m looking forward to a time when I can come. I’m sorry I won’t see you this time, but I will see you soon,” he added.
As recently as last month, Livermore Valley Arts promoted Newman to headline the gala, but the organization apparently had to change gears as summer rolled around.
Enter Folds – who climbed the alternative charts in the ’90s with Ben Folds Five with their best-known hit ‘Brick’, along with other singles like ‘Army’ and ‘Underground’.
“Folds is also an accomplished solo artist known for performing arrangements of his music with unusual instrumentation, including symphony orchestras and a cappella groups, and will impress the Tri-Valley accompanied by the Livermore-Amador Symphony,” officials said Livermore Valley Arts.
He is currently the first-ever Artistic Advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center and an active member of the Artist Committee of Americans for the Arts, including the Board of Directors of the Arts Action Fund.
Folds released his first book in 2019, “a collection of connected essays, anecdotes and lessons about art, life and music” that led to a spinoff podcast series, Lightning Bugs: Conversations with Ben Folds, officials said.
Brilliance at the Bankhead is scheduled to begin September 10 at 5:30 p.m. Sponsorship, VIP tickets and standard tickets are available. To learn more, visit www.LivermoreArts.org.