Sonoma State and B and T!

Week IV of our Spring sabbatical trip began with a residency at Sonoma State and ended with Brett and Teri spending the weekend with us wine tasting.  Not a bad week, but first a pic of the tree off the deck of the house where we are staying:


I miss the big Oak trees from our years living in California, so I thought I would throw one in for you.  A shout out to our hosts Susan and Todd, who carefully prune this monster of a tree and keep it in top condition!

Sonoma State resides in Rohnert Park California, just 40 minutes South of Cloverdale.  SSU has about 8800 students, 130 of which are music majors in the music department.   A small faculty of 7 full timers, teamed with numerous adjuncts, cover all of the studio work, ensembles and course work for mainly performance and music education majors.  What they lack in size is made up for in quality.  This is a good little music program smack in the middle of wine country (I’m surprised anybody practices!).  My job was to teach all of the low brass private lessons and lead a masterclass for the brass area.  No photos of the one on one stuff, but here are a few pictures from the masterclass.  The event started with me coaching a brass octet and moved on to individual brass players.  Here is a sampling:

IMG_2324 (1).jpg



Here is a shot of Grandma holding her cat.  The week previous, Liz and her sister (from LA) flew up to celebrate her Dad’s birthday, which was a great success.


Brett and Teri flew in for the weekend and we tasted at Williamson (wine and cheese pairing), Hanna (took a picnic lunch), and Seghesio on the first day.  We ate at Cloverdale’s newest and quite tasty restaurant, Trading Post.  Saturday, was J Rickard’s Spring release (of all the new wines) party.  From 11am-4pm, unlimited wines, a band, and Taco Soup, all under the sun.  Eliza greeted us and she and Jim gave Brett and Teri a personal tour of the new caves, and a lesson in grafting.  We sipped 2 Cabs, and Old Vine Zin, a Voignier, Rose and a Sav Blanc.  Congo Bobby and his band provided extremely well played jazz standards and I even “sat in” on a tune.  Here are a few pics of the event.




We consumed mass quantities of wine and bought a case between the four of us.  Fortunately, my brother Bruce has agreed to let us ship the wine to him in LA.  He will bring the wine with him when he visits Utah this summer.  Don’t ask about the alcohol laws in Utah.  Even the Taliban are surprised when they hear about what we have to endure.  Unbelievably, we drove directly over to Ferrari Carano and sipped all of the wines they had to offer.  The walk in the gardens (see the previous posts) were quite impressive as usual.  We finished the weekend with a tasting at Locals and subsequent dinner (with our wine purchase – free corkage) at our Geyserville fave, Diavola.

Sunday morning, B and T treated us to Easter Brunch at Savvy, our cafe in Cloverdale.  We then made our way to the airport and dropped them off in the late afternoon.  Paul and Clark met us at the house boat in Sausalito and we had wine, Lagavulin and Easter Pizza (not in that order)!  Paul’s friend Kitty and my old friend Mark from the San Francisco Symphony joined in on the fun.  Another great day in Northern California!

During Brett and Teri’s visit, we managed to find a few minutes to drive up to Lake Sonoma and find an overlook of the lake.  Stunning is all I have to say.  Pics included:




I want to take a moment and tell you how wonderful this sabbatical has been.  (After 25 years, it was time!)  We are very lucky to be able to take a year and play, study, perform, sip and travel.  I’m feeling  a bit overwhelmed by it all today and realize just how fortunate we are.

Brett and Teri took a bunch of pictures as well.  As soon as I have those, I will post them in the next blog, probably in a day or two.

Finally, we have a man eating unicorn goat thing in the field across from our house.  It seemed that for a couple of weeks, I was the only one who saw the animal.  It is quite large and looks like a smallish horse from afar.  But, it has a goat’s head.  I decided it had to be a “unicorn”  because A. no one believed (incl. B and T) that it existed, and B. I couldn’t figure out what it was, since it was always quite far away. “Man Eating” just added to the intrigue.  A “goat thing” is definitely what it turned out to be and the proof is in the pictures.  It is really friendly, doesn’t eat men (but eats about anything else, including our tin foil) but enjoys sweet potato peels, and stands quite tall on its hind legs.  After much waiting, we finally captured the thing in a picture or two:



I know, pretty anti-climatic.  Whatever.  It’s cool to have a goat come visit you from right across the street!

We are half way through our spring trip, 4 out of the 8 weeks.  We will be in Cloverdale for 2 more weeks, mostly bbq-ing, wine sipping and riding bikes around the vineyards.  We then will head to Vancouver, stopping in McMinnville (May 1-3) just South of Portland, so that we can sample Pinot Noir wines.  Then the Canadian portion of our trip will commence.  Again, I will send additional pics when I hear from Brett and Teri, but until then, drink great wine!








Author: euro916

I am a college professor in the music department of Utah State University. I will start my sabbatical on May 1, 2016 and plan to document the year's experiences in this blog. The sabbatical consists of musical endeavors in Europe/UK for 3 months, and half a semester as guest artist in a couple of California universities. Thanks for following!

4 thoughts on “Sonoma State and B and T!”

  1. Looks like you lot are having a fabulous time! I lost track of all the wines, I don’t know how you can keep them straight. So glad you guys are doing this! Well deserved.


  2. lesson in grafting
    far step from a master class
    and quieter

    light glints off brass
    soon the music will begin

    it may not exist
    but a unicorn’s logical
    like trombone music


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