Sonoma Jazz Festival: Signature Fun in Wine Country
The world is an immense playing field with unending places to go, people to meet, and things to do…and what I have found is that the more I travel and experience, see, do, attempt and explore oddly enough makes me recognize how much more there is to appreciate. In my quest to fill life with as many adventures as possible there come certain opportunities and events. My latest escapade was the Sonoma Jazz Festival in the wine country of Northern California. I am not always a fan of big crowded events so I was unsure of what to expect—WOW, was I surprised.
Sonoma, usually a place where one would go to get away from the big city lights to relish in its beautiful nature and relax, became an epicenter of magic and synergy. The Sonoma Jazz Festival lit the up sleepy town of Sonoma Saturday night raising over $500,000 for to benefit critical music education programs and youth sports.
If you are a foodie, California is the place to be and the Sonoma Jazz Festival showcased its fabulous culinary talent with a wide range of delectable goodies from the local area, accompanied by music while enjoying the gorgeous weather. The afternoon’s festivities included lovely white tents surrounded by marvelous local vendors serving their wines, fun cocktails and delicious foods.
Poncho Sanchez, the opening act, got people on their feet and dancing in their seats. His music of Latin jazz, swing, salsa and bebop generated an atmosphere of excitement and exhilaration. It was the perfect warm up before Earth Wind and Fire ignited the valley. Though this event was sold out venue, the concert felt intimate and comfortable. The excitement of the dance floor with huge screens flanking the stage added to the intrigue of the night and the atmosphere spanned all ages and generated an overall appreciation for the music.
When the intermission came, the anticipation for the infamous Earth Wind and Fire was remarkable. Now, I have to come clean here. The last time I listened to Earth Wind and Fire was on my Mickey Mouse turntable with records I snuck out of my brother’s collection. To my surprise I knew almost all the words and with the crowd I sang along. Every song they played seemed more fabulous than the last. The amount of raw talent was amazing; eleven band members constantly moving, vibing, dancing, playing various instruments and singing in perfect harmony.
Maurice White and Philip Bailey had the most incredible range in their voices. The crowd was visibly floored. Verdine White, on bass, was wearing crazy, sequined pants and had a smile on his face the entire concert. The remaining members of the band were throwing their drumsticks and tambourines in the air, somehow never missing a beat, and dancing the entire time. It was evident they have been playing together since 1969.
What a truly, unexpectedly, divine evening through and through. The Somoma Jazz Festival is an event I look forward to attending in the future—a must-see on everyone’s bucket list.