Restored Napa Valley Venue Opens with Benefit Concert

Napa residents Celeste and Robert White are leading an effort to rebuild and reopen a venue in neighboring Yountville.

This summer, the remade Historic Theatre opens to the public with a concert featuring Grammy-winning country artist Zach Williams. The show on August 19 is part of the Napa Salvation Army Culinary Training Academy’s fundraising event, Out of the Fire.

The in-person event features guest chefs, an online auction and live music. In addition to the fun, the benefit will raise awareness and funds for academy students in the culinary training program.

This year, Out of the Fire includes an expanded two-night experience. Night one, Wednesday August 18, takes place at Raymond Vineyards in Rutherford. Night two, Thursday, August 19, marks the debut of the Historic Theatre.

At Raymond Vineyard, guests will enjoy a culinary walk-about with food stations featuring chefs including Salvation Army Culinary Training Academy Director, Executive Chef Paul Fields; Salvation Army Executive Chef and Instructor Eric Magnani; and Chef Rebecca Peizer–formerly of the Culinary Institute of America and creator of the program’s curriculum.

Other chefs appearing for the walk-about include Chef Seth Stowaway of the much anticipated Osito restaurant, opening this fall in San Francisco, and Executive Chef Ethan Speizer of Ashes & Diamonds Winery in Napa.

“We are totally energized to have put together this special culinary-inspired evening with our Chef friends and ambassadors and some of our graduated students who uniquely know how The Salvation Army has been a catalyst for life change,” Fields says in a statement. “It costs us about $10,000 to fund a student or ‘fund-a-chef’ as our fundraising program is called and each year we continue to expand our supporters by sharing these real-life stories of turn-around, recovery and redemption.”

At the Historic Theatre, Zach Williams will perform and engage in a meet-and-greet in an intimate evening. The Historic Theatre was originally relocated from Mare Island to Yountville in 1950 and is located behind the Yountville Community Church. The Whites and the team behind the venue’s restoration have rejuvenated both buildings. The theatre will serve as a space for the charitable organization Lux Forum, which the Whites are part of, to host events.

Throughout both nights, Out of the Fire will showcase the Napa Valley Culinary Training Academy. The first-of-its-kind culinary program educates people who have struggled with homelessness and substance abuse. In the culinary academy, students develop kitchen skills to gain meaningful employment while instilling professionalism, confidence, and dignity.

“Stability is key to long term success, which is why our support is a combination of caring team members and other Napa County nonprofits such as MENTIS, Napa Adult Ed and CareerPoint who bring their expertise around the topics of mental health support, adult learning and career development,” Rick Osgood, Salvation Army of Napa Advisory Board Member and program advocate, says in a statement. “We know that there is a direct relationship between meaningful employment and ongoing substance abuse treatment, as well as how self-sufficiency and employment can positively impact rates of abstinence and community integration.”

For more information and to purchase tickets for the concert at the Historic Theatre on Aug 19, visit

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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