Author: Varner, Mark

September song
Dear friends,

So dawns another bluegrass week. Good gravy! We enter into the September, which is, I kid you not, Be Kind To Editors and Writers Month. We find ourselves in the thick of a bluegrass maelstrom. The gods looked down and shouted, with great wrathful tugs at their respective beards, “Yea! The month of September shall be strewn with bluegrass events so numerous that mortals will pull themselves into manifold pieces striving to attend even half of the festivities!” The gods, as usual, called it. Last weekend: Brown Barn. Next weekend: Hobbs Grove. The following weekend: Plymouth. Then there are a hundred local events, including the CBA sponsored “Night Under the Stars” with IIIrd Tyme Out at the lovely Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill on September 17.

For some it started at Brown Barn Bluegrass (with a capital “B” – capital “L” – capital “U” … well you get the point: it was gnarly traditional bluegrass) Festival in San Martin. A creation of and now a tribute to CBA co-founder Jake Quesenberry. This is not a CBA event, but in honor of Jake the CBA helped sponsor it. It was a quality festival. The sound was good, location pleasant and the lineup was hand picked to represent some of the top traditional bluegrass bands in the state of California. This is an important event for the South San Francisco Bay area. The surrounding environs are replete with grassers and the jams and local bluegrass concerts are extremely well supported.

For me it was nice to see folks I had missed due to misadventures denying my plans to attend GOF. It was especially nice to see my pal Angelica. She’s doing great. She played some of her new CD for us and it’s really terrific! It features folks like Bill Emerson and Michael Cleveland. The recording is first class and Angelica’s voice sounds as big as can be. She is obviously very, very proud of the product of many months of work.

For the kids and me the merry month of September began with a very special show that the youth band OMGG did for the veterans from the Palo Alto VA Hospital last Thursday night. The heroes the kids, AJ Lee, Nate and Max Schwartz, and Marty and Veronica Varner, came to perform for were being cared for for various injuries. They were veterans who saw combat everywhere from the Pacific Theater of WWII to the young Hispanic woman, an Iraq vet, in a wheelchair. They were there for a dinner sponsored by the local Elks club. The young band OMGG provided the entertainment.

The event is a remarkable partnership between the Elks and Mr. Patel who owns, among several others, the Cabana Hotel in Palo Alto. Mr. Patel’s generosity is not limited to letting the Elks use the lovely courtyard at the Cabana to stage the buffet and concert. They also supply food and service. Wow. The concert was sponsored by a very generous Elk, Mr. Ralph “Wild Oats and Honey” Nelson. Our long time pal Larry Lynch worked his tail off doing a fantastic job on sound.

AJ sang the National Anthem for the crowd and the kids provided and hour and a half’s worth of fine music. The respect of the band for their audience was tangible. What an evening of which to be proud!

Speaking of proud, I did my duty and voted for the CBA board on the website the other day. It took about 15 seconds. Done! Now I can, as Chef Mike says, start complainin’!

Your pal,
Mark Varner
Posted:  9/8/2008

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