It could happen one day that when halftime comes to a local roller-derby bout, a grateful woman will strike up a tune or two on her accordion.
Read this and you’ll know why Roxanne Oliva is there, making squeezebox music as a thank-you to the women of Sonoma County Roller Derby.
A couple of weeks back, Roxanne and her husband, Paul, drove to Santa Rosa’s Rose Parade in Paul’s 1962 Rambler American convertible and awaited their turn to join the procession. They’d signed up for the parade to publicize one of Roxanne’s favorite events, the Accordion Festival, which returns to Cotati in August.
Drat. Even before it came the Olivas’ turn to pull onto the parade route, the green Rambler’s engine overheated. The couple was stranded, and was blocking the way of all the parade entries behind them.
From her perch above the backseat, Roxanne noticed the approach of women with the next-in-line parade entry, Sonoma County Roller Derby. Wearing their skates and helmets, the women began to push the idled Rambler.
“I thought they would just push us out of the way,” Roxanne said.
“No, they pushed us all the way through the parade!”
Happy to do it, subsequently said the league’s Leeanna “Leethal” Gregorio. “Otherwise they would have been left behind.”
A friendship was born to Roxanne, who performs every year at the Cotati Accordion Festival, and the women of the roller derby. The skaters invited Roxanne to come play at their next bouts in the fairgrounds’ Grace Pavilion on June 24.
Roxanne said she’ll be there if she can, and if she can’t she’ll play at a future Sonoma County Roller Derby event.
Not impossible is some sort of roller-derby presence at the August 19 and 20 Accordion Festival in Cotati’s La Plaza Park. Its theme happens to be what? “Year of the Woman.”
THANKS TO MR. FLECK: Sweet and potent moments flowed at the awards ceremonies that preceded graduation at local public high schools, foremost among them this one at Santa Rosa High.
Invited onto stage were 23 seniors who, unbeknown to them, had been nominated by SRHS staffers to receive one of the scholarships made possible by the surprise gift bequeathed to the school’s education foundation in 2014 by alum James Fleck.
He gave, for the benefit of Panthers bound for college or professional training, a bit more than $2 million.
Investment returns this past year allowed the foundation to award to the 23 students, the most ever in the short history of the Fleck scholarships, a total of $108,905. Or $4,735 each.
The Fleck recipients and their parents soaked many Kleenex.
KATE WOLF RETURNS to us in a documentary that focuses on the life and music of the Sonoma County folk singer and songwriter, and that KRCB-TV will broadcast at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
The 90-minute retrospective is part of the PBS series, “The American Music.”
Kate Wolf was a local treasure who went national. She succumbed to leukemia in 1986.
KRCB will show the documentary several more times during the week of June 11. And on June 22, the first of more than 40 acts will take the stage at the 22nd annual Kate Wolf Music Festival at Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville.