For Mike and Patty Lunt, music and community inspire legacy giving

What happens when a musician moves to town and discovers the LBC? Guitarist and LBC donor Mike Lunt spells it out loud: “The sound! The atmosphere! The stage – it was fantastic! After that, Patty and I went to see several shows of varying types, from ballet to comedy to the different music shows. Everyone from the ushers to the concessions staff were kind and welcoming. We pretty much fell in love with the place.”

Then Patty Lunt points the spotlight on the other half of their story: “The fact that it is a nonprofit and community oriented really struck home for us. The whole attitude at LBC is ‘We’re here for the community, and the community comes first.’” Plain and simple, what better reasons to donate their estate through their trust as a legacy gift to the LBC? Their gift will ensure LBC continues to connect community through the arts across schools, homes, and stages indefinitely – and in their name.

“Playing it forward” through music

Mike plays bass for local band Highway 12, with a passion for music that he discovered as a teenager. Over the years, he was in several bands and, for a while, had a small home recording studio where he made recordings and CDs.

Mike and Patty also both grew up around Monterey Bay and owned and operated the Recycled Records store near Cannery Row for 32 years. “You can’t complain when you spend all day listening to music and talking to people about music,” said Mike. When it was time to retire, they sold the store, which had been open since 1975, and they settled in Santa Rosa.

For Mike and Patty Lunt, music and community inspire legacy giving

“We love it here. We enjoy every day,” Patty said. “Once we discovered the LBC and learned about the musical programs LBC makes possible for kids, we wanted to be part of that. Especially the school programs, where students are introduced to the music of different cultures. We believe in that a lot.”

“Music gives you exposure to different cultures that you might not experience in your day-to-day life, and when that happens, people become more open minded, more inclusive,” Patty said. “There is so much disparity in the world these days, so much fear of anyone different. One of the most important things we can do for children is to take away the fear of differences and teach them that we are all just people whose life experience, when explored, can make our own lives richer.”

“Most concert halls you go to, you get rock, jazz, classical, but at LBC, you get a broader spectrum,” Mike said. “The Hispanic culture that is such a big part of this community is represented in the many Latin music programs. You wouldn’t find those in most rock-oriented concert halls in the Bay Area.”

Once Mike and Patty learned about and experienced the many ways LBC enriches the region with a wide variety of arts and entertainment programs, a light bulb went off. “We had been thinking about what we would do with our estate for many years because we don’t have any kids,” said Patty. “I guess it was our experience attending the first show after the fires that really drove the answer home.”

Patty described the atmosphere around that first gathering in the theater like it was one big beating heart reminding people they were alive and loved. “I think that’s when we just looked at each other and said, ‘Wait a minute. We love the LBC. Everybody loves being there. There’s always a great sense of community. We really wanted to do something lasting.”

“This was something we had talked about doing for a while because everyone should prepare,” said Mike. “The time was right, and it makes me sleep better at night, knowing that, when my time comes, we’ve done something for the community. And you don’t have to leave your whole estate to LBC. You can leave them $5000, and it would do so much for so many people. Everything is appreciated.”

“As soon as we said it, we got the feeling like that’s what we want to do,” said Patty. “To keep that alive for this community so that, maybe years after we’re gone, some kids who aren’t even born yet will be able to pursue music because of our donation. Maybe a life just went down a totally different path because a student took the music class we made possible.”

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