The regular Tuesday night market music at the Plaza has stopped. With the exception of next Saturday’s Valley of the Moon vintage festival and the occasional urban guerrilla drummer who sets up his kit on the horseshoe, there will rarely be live music at the Plaza until the end of the day. resumption of the farmer’s market next June.
Four of the Farmers Market Nights feature live jazz around the Grinstead Amphitheater, while the Horseshoe Lawn hosts another band. Jazz is performed by world-class musicians on the second Tuesday of each month and is presented by the Sonoma Valley Jazz Society.
The SVJS has been an organization active in the Valley for about 34 years. Current SVJS President Janice King, looking back on those happy days of 1987 (a big year for Ronald Reagan, the Minnesota Twins and the Simpsons), said: “It was a collection of jazz fans who created a small group to present a few small concerts. the first two years, then they moved to the Plaza.
These very popular concerts at the Plaza have lasted for 32 years. The SVJS began to expand again, this time with events like “small one-off concerts. We’ve been doing jazz at the Lodge for a while, jazz in the back room of the Plaza Bistro for about six years, ”King said. The SVJS has produced shows, called Jazz in the Barn at Many Moons Ranch, during the summer months for the past eight years.
King has been involved with SVJS for “30+ years”. She started as treasurer, was promoted to vice president for a year, and has been at the helm for over 20 years. Current Vice President Lina Perlas held the hammer for a few years, then King came back.
King’s singular vision of providing live, high-quality jazz to music lovers in the Sonoma Valley has driven the organization. As a non-profit organization, the SVJS exists for the community and strives to make jazz more widely available in our region.
King said, “We try to have jazz at least once a month.” These shows are made possible thanks to the contributions of many members and sponsors of the organization. These pay for the shows in the Plaza, his most obvious gift to the community.
“A lot of musicians try to make a living playing music. They put a lot of time and effort into practicing, learning music and stuff… so we’re really trying to pay well, ”King said. Jazz musicians who play on those great Tuesday nights often travel a long distance and are happy to make dough on what is usually a night’s rest.
The monthly concerts at the Plaza have left fond memories. King remembered one concert in particular from about 15 years ago. The great jazzman Mose Allison brought his band to perform for the Sonoma crowd. “We made a mistake there. KCSM DJ, (local jazz pianist) Dick Conte, mentioned it on his radio show. Oh my god we had so many people. The Plaza was packed like July 4th. The people at the town hall were really upset. Several times later, if we had a meeting with the City, they would say: “You’re not going to do one of these concerts anymore!
King mentioned a particularly zealous Allison fan. King said: “A woman took the stage with one of his old albums and wanted him to sign it while he was playing.” They then realized that they had to leave the stage.
“This night has been quite memorable. It was awesome, people loved it, ”King added.
In addition to the members and sponsors who are so important to keeping the Society solvent and vibrant, King has made a point of appointing a loyal team of volunteers who have been so supportive. They are, in alphabetical order, Bill Casey, Victor Conforti, Debbie Mulcahy, Lina Perlas, Tim Randa, Bob Vargas and Sue Vargas. Janice King herself devotes a lot of necessary hours of work.
King also said, “We always have a thank you concert for our members and sponsors, with some tickets for the general public,” another reason to join the Society. This year’s concert, with the George Kahn Quartet, takes place this Sunday and is sold out. But if you’re inspired to join the SVjS and secure a spot at next year’s Thank You Show, visit sonomavalleyjazzsociety.org for more information on how to do it.