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September 18, 2019

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A $4.5 million violin is placed in the hands of Las Vegas ace at L.V. Phil show

Elann Saula Family

Mona Shield Payne

Three-year-old Elann Saula poses with his family, left to right, Leslie, Sami, Kinalone and dog Gadji, at his home in Las Vegas.

Updated Thursday, March 3, 2016 | 8:12 p.m.

Elann Saula

Three-year-old Elann Saula sits in the reception area awaiting connection treatment for lymphangiectasia, a rare disease centered in his intestines, at Children's Specialty Center of Nevada in Las Vegas Thursday, January 8, 2015.  Elann is the son of Launch slideshow »

The Kats Report Bureau at this writing is New York-New York, where on Saturday the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is hosting its annual head-shaving fundraiser on the hotel’s Brooklyn Bridge facing the Strip.

The past three years, I have contributed my own locks as a way of raising money and awareness. This year, I will be moving to McMullan’s Irish Pub, where proprietor Brian McMullan launched the event in 2000 to connect to the national St. Baldrick’s campaign to combat childhood cancer.

At 12:30 p.m., I will be shaving the person who shaved my head a year ago, 5-year-old Elann Saula. Elann has formed a fundraising team (contribute to that team at and search Elann S) with a goal of $10,000 to send to the folks at St. Baldrick’s.

Elann just turned 5 last month and suffers from a rare combination of multi-autoimmune diseases that compromise his ability to combat illnesses. He receives treatments to arrest his condition at Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada, the only nonprofit pediatric cancer outpatient treatment facility in the state.

Elann was the focus of my 50th birthday party at Copa Room at Tuscany Suites on Sunday night (more on that later, God willing) hosted by Kenny Davidsen and his “Playlists” crew and MC’d by Jassen Allen.

That event, a night of music from 1966, raised a total of $2,300 just from the bucket pass in the room (which was filled, at least, to its 150 capacity through the evening) and the $1,000 match by hotel owner Brett Heers.

With that charitable update, we groove and groom elsewhere:

Click to enlarge photo

This Stradivarius violin is known as the “Chanot-Chardon.” The instrument dates to 1726, during the late period of Antonio Stradivari’s life, and has been played by Joshua Bell, among other acclaimed artists.

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Las Vegas violinist De Ann LeTourneau.

• One of the city’s dynamic performers and vibrant personalities, the violinist De Ann Letourneau, is performing with an instrument valued at $4.5 million during Saturday night’s “Cabrera Conducts Mozart” Las Vegas Philharmonic show at Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center.

The evening begins with a classical conversation with Letourneau and L.V. Phil Music Director Donato Cabrera at 6:30 p.m. and discussion of the night of music to follow. The program begins with Philip Glass’s “Company for String Orchestra,” then Mozart’s Symphony No. 38 in D Major (the “Prague” symphony) and ends with Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major.

In that concluding piece, Letourneau will play a Stradivarius made by Antonio Stradivari in about 1726. The instrument known as the “Chanot-Chardon” violin, from the latter stages of Stradivari’s career, is on loan from Bein & Fushi Rare Violins of Chicago. Joshua Bell is among the many artists who have played this violin.

Tickets for this night of historic music are $26, $46, $66 and $96 and can be purchased through the Smith Center Box Office, at (702) 749-2000 and online at

• On the topic of classic artists, but of a different flavor, at the Smith Center, the Ronnie Foster Organ Trio hits that scene Sunday at 2 p.m. at Cabaret Jazz. His show is simply a force, with a trio of Jess Gopen on drums and Jake Langley on guitar.

Foster has performed with quite a number of established superstars in contemporary music and a few legends, expressly George Benson and Stevie Wonder. He was the MD for Human Nature’s Motown show at Sands Showroom at the Venetian until that act moved to its “Jukebox” format, giving Foster time to focus on his whirling three-man act.

I saw these gents a few months ago at the Dispensary on Trop and Eastern, and that room was filled with some of the best players in the city paying homage to this man. The venue Sunday will be, shall we say, a bit more refined, but expect a great musical experience. Those tickets are $19 and $25 and available at the Smith Center’s website

David Perrico’s Pop Evolution

David Perrico and vocalist Naomi Mauro perform in Pop Evolution, an 18-piece band featuring musicians from various Las Vegas productions, inside the showroom at the Stratosphere, July 2, 2013. Launch slideshow »

• I guess we’re not leaving the topic of stuff at the Smith Center. David Perrico’s Pop Strings show is back 8 p.m. Friday at Cabaret Jazz. This is an 18-piece lineup with 10 string players, with the focus of this performance being Olivia Newton-John (especially “Xanadu”) and Electric Light Orchestra. The guest vocalist is Laura Shaffer, well known for her Monday shows at Piazza Lounge at Tuscany and Sundays at Bootlegger Bistro (with her father, the piano virtuoso Charlie Shaffer).

This show arrives in the face of some unexpected news out of the most recent performance of “Alice — A Steampunk Concert Fantasy” last week at Brooklyn Bowl. Perrico has announced that he will no longer be part of that act, which has one more date — March 23 — at Brooklyn Bowl on the books.

Founder Anne Martinez is now on the prowl for a new music director (and already there are some high-caliber names being tossed around) to carry the show to its next phase, wherever that might be. More will be revealed, as we say, but that particular era with “Alice” is over.

• A friend who was missed at Sunday’s birthday shindig, because of illness, is back at it Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Westgate Las Vegas for the “Gala For the Love of Children” charity gala. We speak of Travis Cloer of “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas, who is the featured performer at the event honoring longtime Las Vegas meteorologist Kevin Janison of KSNV Channel 3 and his wife, Teri.

The event is a benefit for Positively Kids, which helps provide health care for developmentally delayed kids up to age 18, and their families in Southern Nevada.

Cloer is performing the show “Setting the Standard” during the event. The presentation is classics dating to the 1940s through current-day Michael Buble. We say it all the time because it’s true: Cloer’s side projects never disappoint. For info about this night, or the organization, go to and call (702) 577-3106.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at

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