Nationally renowned pianist Richard Glazier will present his show, “Our Love Is Here To Stay: The Music of George and Ira Gershwin” on Saturday, March 10, at the Hanna Auditorium in Sonoma.
The event, billed as a wildfire trauma relief concert, will raise funds to support four local nonprofits leading trauma-recovery and resiliency projects for children in the Valley —including the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, the Boys and Girls Clubs, Hanna Boys Center and the Sonoma Charter School.
Glazier, who calls himself a “raconteur and cultural historian,” has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Library of Congress, and has been featured in three PBS television specials. Glazier’s repertoire is dedicated to the American Popular Songbook, and holds a special place for the music of the Gershwin brothers who, in the 1920s and ‘30s, penned such standards as “I Got Rhythm,” “Rhapsody in Blue,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Summertime,” and many others.
“The music of the Gershwins represents the voice of America and what our country represents – the land paved with gold and opportunity,” says Glazier. “They were first-generation Americans whose parents came here for a better life and while growing up on the lower east side of New York heard Jewish music, black music, European music, Western European classical music and Russian music.”
Glazier says they combined those influences to create “a unique American voice.”
“Their melodies are part of the fabric of our culture and their music is timeless,” Glazier says.
The producers and underwriters for the event are Gary and Marcia Nelson, longtime supporters of live performing arts and education. The Nelsons are currently supporting a trauma-informed care program through the Hanna Institute; the program is also in place at Sonoma Charter School. The Nelsons are investors in Sonoma Media Investments, which publishes The Press Democrat.
“When I realized the extent of the trauma affecting our students and families as a result of the October fires, we wanted to put together something that would help the families and the nonprofits supporting them,” said Nelson, in announcing the event. “Music and storytelling are soothing. Richard’s personal story is inspiring to young kids. I thought if we could offer that and raise money for the local groups helping our kids, the event would be a win-win.”
The Nelsons are offering to match up to $25,000 in funds raised for each of the four nonprofits’ resiliency and trauma programs.
“It is not a handout, but a hand up, a way for us all to work together,” says Marcia Nelson.
Lee Morgan Brown, executive director of Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, one of the recipients of the funds raised, said the fires have brought an “emotional devastation” previously unknown in the Valley.
“We want to expand the support our youth-centered community organizations provide in the face of this tragedy,” said Morgan Brown.
Glazier began studying piano when he was 6-years old and, after meeting his hero Ira Gershwin in person when he was 12, was inspired to follow his dreams. He went on to study at Indiana University School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music, which later awarded him its Alumni Achievement Award for his contributions to American popular song.
San Pablo Bay
National Wildlife Refuge
Lower Tubbs Island
Hiking distance: 5.5–8 miles round trip
Hiking time: 3–5 hours
Elevation gain: level
Exposure: exposed coastal marshland
Dogs: not allowed past picnic area
Maps: U.S.G.S. Sears Point and Petaluma Point
San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge lies along San Pablo Bay at the northern reaches of San Francisco Bay. The wildlife refuge encompasses 13,000 acres between the mouth of the Petaluma River and Mare Island by Vallejo, including tidal wetlands, mud flats, salt marshes, and open water. Numerous water-ways drain through the surrounding terrain, including the Napa River, Petaluma River, Sonoma Creek, Tolay Creek, and many sloughs. The water-ways are interspersed with grasslands, oak woodlands, and agricultural fields. Lower Tubbs Island, near Tolay Creek, is the most accessible portion of the national wildlife refuge, luring bird watchers, wildlife photographers, and hikers. Lower Tubbs Island Bird Sanctuary is a 332-acre preserve within the refuge. It is a sanctuary for migrating birds, waterfowl, and shorebirds.
This trail follows a dirt levee 2.75 miles to the bird sanctuary on Lower Tubbs Island, then continues another 1.5 miles to Midshipman Point at the tip of the open waters. The terrain is flat, exposed, and windswept with wide open vistas.
TO THE TRAILHEAD
5202 Sears Point Road • Sonoma
From downtown Sonoma, drive 8 miles south on Highway 121 (the Carneros Highway) to a T-junction with Highway 37 (Sears Point Road). Turn left and head east on Highway 37. Drive 0.7 miles, crossing over Tolay Creek and skirting the lagoon, to the first right turn. Turn right and park on the right at the posted trailhead.
Pass the trailhead gate and map panel on the dirt road. Follow the levee of Tolay Creek south along the edge of the wetlands and agricultural fields. At 0.4 miles curve left, passing a picnic area with an information map on the left. (Dogs are not allowed past the picnic area.) Continue southeast and bend right, with views of Mount Tamalpais and Mount Diablo in the distance. A parallel path follows the top of the levee on the right, overlooking the Tolay Creek Lagoon. At 1.6 miles, veer left and pass a metal pumping station on the left. Continue southeast to a trail split at 2.3 miles, located by an information kiosk, the viewing area, and the entrance into the Lower Tubbs Island Bird Sanctuary.
Begin the loop to the right between Lower Tolay Lagoon and Lower Tubbs Island, surrounded by tidal sloughs and salt marshes. Pass a group of red barns on the right, and curve left to the mouth of Tolay Creek. Follow the edge of San Pablo Bay on the levee road, where there is a view of Midshipman Point (the obvious promontory) and the mouth of the Petaluma River. At the east end of Lower Tubbs Island is a road split. Stay to the left along the Tubbs Island setback and complete the loop. Return to the right.
Source: “Day Hikes Around Sonoma County, 2nd Edition” by Robert Stone (Day Hike Books, 2016)