September 6, 2012
San Jose Mercury News
By Sal Pizarro
San Jose State graduate and longtime benefactor Phyllis Simpkins, who died in July at age 87, is being honored by the university at 3 p.m. Friday at Morris Dailey Auditorium.
Simpkins and her late husband, Alan Simpkins, pledged nearly $20 million over their lifetimes to support San Jose State programs including the International House, athletics, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and the marching band.
The memorial will be followed by a reception in the Rose Garden and Bell Plaza area outside Tower Hall. Both events are open to the public.
One of Phyllis Simpkins last gifts during her lifetime helped the marching band purchase badly needed uniforms. They’ll be on display Saturday during a halftime show dedicated in her honor at the football home opener at Spartan Stadium. And while it won’t be visible to the crowd, band director Scott Pierson made sure band members remember Simpkins and other contributors. The names of individual donors are stitched inside the collar of each uniform.
NIGHT AT THE OPERA: Hakone Estate and Gardens in Saratoga will provide a beautiful backdrop for a Friday night performance of “Don Quixote: Man of La Mancha,” featuring stars from Opera San Jose and the San Francisco Opera.
The cast includes bass-baritone John Minagro in the lead role, along with tenor Christopher Bengochea and soprano Sandra Rubalcava Bengochea.
The performance will be bookended by a wine and appetizers reception and a dinner with (and under) the stars. Tickets for the event, which begins at 6 p.m., are $150 ($125 for Hakone members). To reserve tickets, call 408-741-4977.
MAKE MINE A DOUBLE: The Black Brothers Band brings its Irish music to San Jose on Friday with a 7:30 p.m. show at Theatre on San Pedro Square.
When the show’s over, I’m told that brothers Shay and Michael Black have been invited downstairs to O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub for a pint and socializing. The celebrity bartender of the night will be Tim Quigley, the new president of the San Jose-Dublin Sister City Program, co-presenting the concert with the Celtic Society of Monterey Bay.
Tickets are $20 in advance or $22 at the door and are available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/251776.