The most fascinating aspect of the Green Music Center's Schroeder Hall isn't the building itself—it's not even the incredible Brombaugh Opus 9 organ housed above the stage—it's the way the two came together.
The 250-seat hall opening this weekend at Sonoma State University is designed for students. It serves doubly as a lecture space and a recital hall, with permanent wooden chairs and desktops that fold onto one's lap from the side of the seat. But as much attention was paid to the acoustics of the space as the main hall, which has hosted internationally known superstars like Tony Bennett, Yo-Yo Ma and Allison Krauss.
During construction of Schroeder Hall, the university had a chance to purchase the Brombaugh organ, which Oberlin College music professor and organist James David Christie calls an “absolute masterpiece.” Since the purchase was made during the design phase, the hall was actually acoustically tailored to fit this one instrument. When Christie played a piece he wrote for his sister's wedding at a media preview earlier this week, the marriage of the instrument and it's new home proved to be a perfect union, indeed.
Christie says he chose the piece specifically because it showed off the full range of the instrument, which rang true. In Schroeder Hall, the low pedal bass of the organ was powerful but not overly so, and the midrange was present but not piercing. The highs were mellow, and the sound was crisp and clear through the nearly five-second reverberation of the stone, oval building. All frequencies are even and the timbre is unique and pleasing. “When playing this organ one immediately feels at one with the room,” Christie said after his performance.
It was Friday night and Smiley's in Bolinas was popping hard with the sounds of the Fairfax-based Tom Finch Group. I mean them guys was smoking, throwing off some funk-fusiony originals between California-cool takes on Led Zep and a "Not Fade Away" that you could hear all the way to the Phil Zone over yonder a-ways at Terrapin Crossroads. Got to talking with the bass player, Andius Jent, who played a ferocious, driving solo that went on for six glorious years. I'd have paid the $10 door just to hear "Ramble On" and the bass solo, the end. Punishing! Awesome! A great way to end the week, in a great saloon, in a great town, fully immersed in the glorious mythopoetic freakaliciousness of West Marin. Anyway, we got to talking and Jent says that Fairfax is basically the New Orleans of Marin County, music-wise. That seemed a stretch, given the stark demographic differences between the respective towns, but hey, we're just talking. That bass solo was so freaking epic, I'll give it up for Jent and figure on a Fairfax outing in coming days to check his claim. What the heck, it's Mardi Gras season and nothing says One Love like a spiritualized second-line parade through the redwoods.
The four-day festival brought big names like the Black Keys, Flaming Lips, Alabama Shakes, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and others to the Napa County Fairgrounds last year much to the delight of music fans, both local and traveling from abroad. But it was more than just tinnitus left by the fest, with up to $10 million in debts owed to vendors, stagehands, cleanup crews, booking agents and many others totaling 174 debtors. It’s future was in doubt until now, with the announcement today of a new ownership group and new dates: May 30-June 1.
The festival director is Steve Macfadyen, who served most recently as entertainment director at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa near Palm Springs. The ownership group, called Latitude 38 Entertainment, confirmed that the event will be held again at the Napa Valley Expo, but will feature only three days of entertainment as opposed to last year’s five day bonanza.
The Bohemian's second-annual 24-Hour Band Contest was held on July 13, 2013, and man, was it a night to remember! Burning Token Media was on the scene to document the whole thing—the choosing of the bands on Friday, the rehearsals on Saturday, and of course, the mighty performances.
Watch the results in playlist form here, or see individual performances below.
Band #1: PSYCHO SANDWICH!
Band #2: WONDER WENCH!
Band #3: FIVE BRIDGES!
Band #4: ROSE!
Band #5: GROUP THERAPY!
And... who won? See below:
When boat races, delicious food, cold drinks, $5 weddings and good ole' fashioned Americana music come together, you can be sure that the Rivertown Revival (RR) is making its way into Petaluma, usually known for being the 'Butter and Eggs' center of Sonoma County. Jam-packed with enough musicians, vendors and art boat competitions to keep anyone satisfied, where to begin?
Here's a helpful breakdown of the various events occurring on this exciting day in which you may choose to indulge.
On five stages you will find musicians/bands of different backgrounds and genres performing throughout the day.
2013 NorBay winners for rock, The Highway Poets and for country/Americana, Frankie Boots & the County Line; Bay Area-based folk-punk band, Vagabondage; 13-piece funk/ecentric street band, Church Marching Band; Bay Area native and American roots-focused, Steve Pile band; singer-songwriter with a toy piano, Eliza Rickman; and (for the kids), children's songwriter and guitar player, James K.
For the full list of performers, visit http://rivertownrevival.com/2013/05/rivertown-revival-2013-roster-revealed/
Buying cool items, plus food and drinks:
Merchants are present to sell their artisanal, environmentally friendly and one-of-a-kind specialty items at RR, which is committed to keeping the festival local, meaning vendors will be coming from within a 100-mile radius of Petaluma. Local food and beverages will also be available and toting the same message of sustainability.
The festival will once again offer couples their one-of-a-kind and fun-filled party as a setting for an unforgettable wedding, and only for the low, low price of $5. Ceremony reservations are still available and are strongly encouraged. On site officiants will perform vow renewals and legal weddings, for couples with the proper paperwork, that is.
Email RRWeddings@kaisquaredevents.com for more information.
For the Love of Art:
The festival features an array of art- art boats, art performances, music and other items for purchasing, and this year RR invites back sculptors from Sonoma County and beyond to showcase their art on land and some, perhaps, on water.
Called the 'land(ing)' artists, the group includes: geometric sculptor Boback Emad; 3-dimensional sculptors Eileen Fitz-Faulkner and Matthew Rapalyea; 22-year-old Petaluma sculptor Henry Washer; metal sculptor Sean Paul Lorenz; North Bay photographer and master printer Michale Garlington; sculptor and Santa Rosa Junior College design instructor Peter Crompton; metal and ceramic sculptor Todd Cox; and Santa Rosa recycled-metal sculptor Tyson Barbera.
More fun for every one:
1) The famous RR photo booth is here again, with photographer Michael Woolsey ready at the camera.
2) Enter your hand-crafted art boat in the Grand Flotilla competition where judges will score the vessels based on five categories. Apply here: http://rivertownrevival.com/apply-yourself-2/apply-yourself/
3) Kid-friendly activities are provided throughout the day on a designated stage this year, including kid-led music, jug band lessons, crafts, scavenger hunts, salmon fishing and more.
Now that you're a bit more acquainted with the excitement Rivertown Revival has to offer, make sure to join the non-stop fun on Saturday, July 20, at Steamer Landing Park. 6 Copeland St., Petaluma. $5. 11am. Rivertownrevival.com
My editor told me the news, and at first it was hard to believe. But when he lifted me out of my chair from across the room by simply raising his hand in a choking motion, saying in a disappointed tone, ”I find your lack of faith disturbing,” I quickly changed my tune. Hamill will try to help the symphony to stay on target through pieces by John Williams, Danny Elfman and others. No, he will do it, because there is no try. Shut up, Grizzle, my editor says. Fine, I tell him, this is boring conversation anyway.
But will Hamill be conducting a piece? If he takes the stage, the audience might get a very bad feeling about this. But it might all be a clever rouse to cover up the real conductor, Sarah Hicks, who has served as Principal Conductor of Pops and Specials Presentations with the Minnesota Orchestra since 2009. Those 16th notes, too accurate for Hamill, one might think. Only imperial conductors are so precise.
Don’t get stressed on the way to the concert—if some big galoot in a tree crushing SUV cuts you off in the parking lot, just let the wookie win. And dress nicely—you don’t want to be called a scruffy-looking nerf herder, do you? But don’t get cocky. And as always, may the Force be with you.
The tickets are a gift from the Santa Rosa Symphony, performing Beethoven’s Consecration of the House, Ravel’s Bolero, Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto performed by SRS conductor laureate Jeffrey Kahane, and Copland’s Canticle of Freedom, featuring the 100-voice Symphony Honor Choir. The Symphony also commissioned an orchestral work, Sonoma Overture, by Petaluma composer Nolan Gasser. It’s worth going just to hear Kahane play Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto, let alone see it.
Yes, it will be visible from the nosebleed free seats, because, as the symphony points out, “Most of the lawn seating will not have a view of the stage; however, large outdoor screens and a state-of-the-art sound system will facilitate an exciting experience for all.” This means the pressure is on the camera crew and director to create an exciting experience for those 2,700 who are sure to gobble up the free seating. Even though it’s free, tickets are required (though they will be available at the gate, is still available). Presumably, seating on the lawn is first come, first served.
As of right now, there are still very good seats available at the $25 tables directly outside the hall. Those might be worth the price, too, but make sure your seats aren’t in the “half stage visible” section. For both the free and $25 lawn seats, patrons are invited to bring their own picnic, but not alcohol, to the concert. Box lunches, wine and beer will be available for purchase. For the free lawn seats, feel free to bring low chairs or blankets. Ever been to a concert at the Shoreline in Mountain View? It might be like that, but not built on a mound of old garbage. Check out the Santa Rosa Symphony's website for details and tickets.
Don’t just play your music to dustballs behind closed doors anymore! The Sonoma County Fair is looking for young talent, so bring your garage band out to play in the Battle of the Teen Bands! The competition will be held in Community Theater (previously known as Redwood Theater) on Saturday, Aug. 11.
Groups will be awarded based on vocal/instrumental ability (up to 40 points) and up to 20 points in the following three categories: group performance ability, stage presence, and audience reaction. There’s also an optional bonus of up to 5 points for those performing original music.
And sweet prizes await—first place takes $1,000 home, along with a trophy and a contract to perform on the Park Stage at the 2013 Sonoma County Fair! Second place receives $500! Third place receives $250! What’s there to lose? Sign up before Saturday, July 21!
Age: All performers must be between 12 and 24 years of age. Additionally, at least two band members must be 12 — 18 years old, and no more than two members can be between 18 and 24.
Be careful when you apply: Once the Entry Form is filled out, each act entered must only perform with the people listed on it. No changes or substitutions will be allowed. Individuals can only perform with one act during the entire competition.
Don’t be late: Contestants must arrive at the Community Theater (Redwood Theater) by 6pm on the day of the contest, Saturday, August 11.
The act: Acts must be performed live—vocally and/or instrumentally. No props or special effects can be used otherwise. A professional quality drum kit will be provided and contestants are expected to use that rather than their own.
Watch the clock: Acts are 20 minutes total, including set-up, performance, and tear-down.
Have good taste: No music or lyrics that the Sonoma County Fair and its representatives considers offensive may be performed.
Be original: If contestants perform their own music, they can receive extra 5 bonus points from the judges. Music eligible for bonus points is any piece that is written or co-written by at least two band members. And don’t lie about it either; any band claiming to be playing their own music may be disqualified if a copyright exists for the music that does not name a member of the band as author or contributor.
So what are you waiting for? Rock out!
To enter, email email@example.com with BATTLE OF THE TEEN BANDS in the subject line. Include the name of a contact person, mailing address, phone number, email address, the name/age/instrument of each band member, as well as a photograph and demo. Deadline is Saturday, July 21.
What a tremendous turnout we had in voting this year with 1,637 total votes! But the gold records can only go to one winner in each category. Without further ado, the winners of the 2012 NorBay Awards are:
Blues / R&B: Levi Lloyd
Country / Americana: The Crux
DJ: Zack Darling
Folk / Acoustic: Church Marching Band
Hip-Hop / Electronic: Radioactive
Indie: Girls and Boys
Jazz: Hot Club Beelzebub
Punk / Metal: No Sir
Rock: Baby Seal Club
World / Reggae: Dgiin
Thanks to everyone who made it such a special night. Here’s to next year!
Here's how it works: You sign up for the contest. You tell us your name, the instrument (or instruments) you play, your experience level and practice space situation. All ages and all experience levels are welcome.
Then, on July 13 at 6pm, we'll meet at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa. We'll pick names randomly, assembling bands made up of complete strangers—a singer, a drummer, a bassist, a guitarist, a singer, a keyboard player, a horn player, an accordionist, a rapper, a kazoo player… anything goes!
The bands will then have 24 hours together to get to work in the practice space, writing two original songs and learning one cover song, and returning to perform the very next night at the 2012 NorBays! Prizes will be awarded to the winning band.
Are you in? Of course you’re in. Sign up by clicking here!