New ‘Vino & Vinyl’ event with Michael McDonald to benefit Aspen foundation for high school music student |

New ‘Vino & Vinyl’ event with Michael McDonald to benefit Aspen foundation for high school music student

Kelly J. Hayes
Special to The Aspen Times
Michael McDonald will be in Aspen on Wednesday and Thursday, first at a benefit event Vino & Vinyl and then playing the Belly Up on Thursday.
Aspen Times file


Where: Victoria's Espresso and Wine Bar When: Today, 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $125 ($100 tax deductible) and can be purchased at, by calling 970-920-4996 or at the door. Space is limited

Wine, music and scholarships will unite Wednesday night as five-time Grammy winner and ex-Doobie Brother Michael McDonald comes to Aspen early for a sit-down conversation at the inaugural Vino & Vinyl 1.0 fundraiser.

The event, which is at Victoria’s Espresso and Wine Bar, will benefit the Jake Foerster Music Arts Fund and the JAS Music Scholarship Programs. Attendees will hear songs played on vinyl records as originally intended, sip from a selection of fine wines and nibble on tapas and poke from Victoria’s Australia-centric kitchen.

Aspen filmmaker and event organizer E.J. Foerster will talk tunes with the legendary McDonald as he interviews the singer known for possessing one of the most distinctive voices in music.

“We just thought that playing some classic music from that pocket in time of the ’70s and ’80s while drinking good wine would be a great way to connect with people,” Foerster said. “When we heard Michael McDonald was playing the Belly Up this week it kind of all came together. I guess you could call it an educational event with wine and song that will raise money for a good cause.”

This year the Jake Foerster Music Arts Fund, which E.J. started in 2013 as an homage to his late son Jake, a DJ who grew up in Aspen and came through the Aspen school system, awarded six scholarships to graduating high school seniors. The goal is to provide annual scholarships for exceptional, unique and diverse talents in the medium of sound and music to graduating seniors from Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs high schools.

“Jake loved music and was a budding DJ,” said E.J. about his son, who died in 2013. “I was still in the fog of grief, really, when I decided to begin a foundation that would honor Jake’s journey by helping others who were also passionate about music.”

The JFMAF holds a yearly November event at Belly Up, where local musicians host the “Sonic Showdown” event, a riff on the Battle of the Bands at the Temporary in Basalt this year.

McDonald is headlining a show Thursday evening at the Belly Up as part of his current tour and agreed to come in a day early to be a part of the event. With hits like “Minute by Minute” and “What a Fool Believes” with the Doobies and the solo hit “Yah Mo B There,” which captured a Grammy in 1984, McDonald cemented his place in the pantheon of soulful singers.

E.J. hopes that the Vino & Vinyl concept will become an Aspen tradition.

“I think of it as kind of an Actor’s Studio for music,” he laughed. “We are so fortunate to have so many great artists come through Aspen, both with JAS and the Belly Up, that it would be great to have a series where we could sit down and have conversations. Basically it’s about bringing a lot of joy to town.”

And drinking a little wine.


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