I was thrilled to get a call from Darcie Kent Vineyards, a family-run winery located on Tesla Road in the Livermore Valley.
The view from the tasting room porch.
Darcie Kent has been making wine for almost 20 years but just moved into their new digs earlier this year. Thus I was excited to help them celebrate their first holiday season in their beautiful, bright tasting room and provide some live music.
The charming tasting room.
I joined them for the afternoon, playing a mix of jazz standards and holiday favorites while guests filtered in and out. What I really liked about this tasting room was the way the staff interfaced with their customers. Instead of pouring solely from behind the bar, the folks from Darcie Kent were circulating, bring wines directly to their customers who were relaxing on couches and at high-top tables.
I had a blast getting a chance to interact with both the customers and the staff. I took a few requests along the way (Charlie Brown’s “Christmastime is Here,” Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”, and the obligatory “Frosty” and “Rudolph” for some of the younger guests). I even had the honor to share the piano with some young, aspiring musicians!
Overall, it was a great event and a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Livermore. The team at Darcie Kent was extremely welcoming and I certainly hope to play here again in the future.
After trading contact info with their Tasting Room Manager a couple years ago, Matanzas Creek Winery in Santa Rosa’s Bennett Valley invited me to provide music for a wine club event. Wine club members would be visiting the tasting room to pick up their latest shipment and also try the latest release of “Journey”, a series of estate labels that run for between $50 to $100 a bottle.
Matanzas was looking for a “Journey” theme to the music, so I pulled together as many songs I could find that either had the word “Journey” in the title or had to do with traveling. What resulted was a somewhat eclectic set list, including Enya, the Eagles, and U2. I also made sure to include a couple of songs by San Francisco’s own “Journey”, the band.
The event was a blast. Matanzas Creek has a beautiful, spacious tasting room and an outdoor patio that overlooks their unique Lavender fields. I set up inside, and played for about two and a half hours. Afterwards I had a chance to enjoy a glass of Journey Sauvingnon Blanc and chat with the tasting room staff. It was a great night, and hopefully just the beginning of my collaboration with Matanzas Creek. I hope to return in summer of 2014.
My latest event took me down to Pacifica, a coastal city and southern suburb of San Francisco, for the wedding of Jaime and Kim. The couple had rented a beautiful home overlooking the ocean and Pacifica Pier, and they held a intimate ceremony with their family and friends. I played two sets, each one hour long. The first set primarily consisted of my standard jazz repertoire, with the second set focusing on 60s, 70s, and 80s tunes. Towards the end of the second set, I switched into karaoke mode and found myself leading a rousing sing-along of “Sweet Caroline” and “Brown Eyed Girl.” The event’s small size allowed me to interact more closely with the guests which I enjoyed very much. A special thanks to Jaime and Kim for asking me to be a part of their big day!
Part of the fun of performing is getting to know new venues. The Bay Area has so many distinct regions and communities, and every gig is an opportunity to see a new place. My recent event in the quaint town of San Anselmo (Marin County) was no exception.
Ron and Cherry found me online and hired me to provide music for their wedding ceremony at the San Francisco Theological Seminary. Their ceremony was held in the gorgeous Stewart Memorial Chapel, perched atop a hill at the center of campus. The engagement lasted two hours, including 30 minutes of prelude music, music during the ceremony itself, and an additional hour of background music for the guests while the couple was doing their pictures.
Ron and Cherry were really fabulous to work with; extremely easy-going, gracious and appreciative, and down-to-earth. It was a pleasure to get to know them and take part in their special day.
I teamed up with vocalist Marilyn Paquette to play Ellen and Michael’s wedding ceremony at Mont La Salle, a beautiful retreat and conference center in the hills above Napa, California. Mont La Salle serves as the Western U.S. headquarters for the “De La Salle Christian Brothers,” an international organization affiliated with the Catholic Church, and they have a gorgeous chapel on their grounds. The acoustics in the chapel were pretty great, and I was thrilled with sound Marilyn and I were able to create. I played the full Catholic mass on a Grotrian Steinweg grand piano.
Special thanks also to violinist Sean Romero for his contributions to the prelude music!
The grounds of Mont La Salle.
Tim with violinist Sean Romero and vocalist Marilyn Paquette.
Shelley and Brandon had a beautiful wedding day at the Mark Hopkins hotel. I was excited to work for them and to return to this historic venue; it was my third visit in about a year. I really liked this couple’s set list; Christina Perri’s emotional “A Thousand Years” for the opening procession, “Happy Together” by the Turtles to close the ceremony, and a varied set of tunes for the cocktail hour including songs by U2, Fun, Sara Bareilles, and Bruno Mars.
It was really fun to work for Kelly and Ryan, an awesome easy-going couple with a great taste for music. They hired me to play their ceremony and cocktail hour at the Berkeley City Club, one of the premier event venues in Berkeley and a cool, historical Bay Area treasure. The ceremony was held in the classy Members’ Room, with the cocktail hour outside on the terrace. Kelly and Ryan pulled together some eclectic requests for their music, including songs by Huey Lewis, Hall & Oates, Bon Jovi, and Lady Gaga.
While in Hawaii last week, I was super excited to purchase a ukulele at Waikiki’s International Market. It’s a standard mahogany concert ukulele made by Leolani Inc. of Honolulu. I’m in the process of learning how to play it, with the hope that I can eventually work it into some of my gigs, and maybe even use it as a stepping stone to learning the guitar. Aloha ukulele!
Mari and her husband invited me to provide cocktail hour music for her birthday bash in the San Francisco Fairmont’s penthouse suite. It’s an absolutely gorgeous venue. Multiple rooms with spectacular views of the city in all directions, a domed library room that looks out onto a patio and doubles as a very nice room for the bar, and a very nice baby-grand piano in the main salon made for quite the setting for a party. Mari was looking for upbeat, modern songs that would fit in with the feel of the party. I brought along a set that included Coldplay, Foo Fighters, REM, Rolling Stones, and U2. It was a great night and I had a lot of fun at this gig.
I was excited to return once again to the Mark Hopkins Hotel to play another cocktail hour. Alexandra happened to be touring the facility while I was setting up for my last gig at the MH in May, so by chance she was able to hear a bit of my repetoire. Alexandra and Brandon’s wedding weekend was during once of the busiest weekends in recent San Francisco history, with Fleet Week, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and America’s Cup racing happening all at the same time. The hotel was packed and getting there was exciting to say the least, but the wedding reception seemed to go off perfectly. I once again played on the grand piano in the Room of the Dons, which has some stunning views of the surrounding city.
Working with Alix and Brandon was really great; they are a fun and laid-back couple and super easy to coordinate with. I put together a set list for them including some standard jazz tunes, some Gershwin, and a bit of a local touch too.