Winding Down the Summer in Style

My wife, Debra, and I somehow ended up on the invitation list for the Throckmorton Theatre’s Summer Soirée Concert, held this past Sunday at the home of Joel and Diane Schatz. The beautiful redwood house is perched partway up Ethel Avenue, with a breathtaking view of Mt. Tamalpais from the living room, decks and music room (yes, there actually IS a music room!)

In talking with Mr. Schatz, over cocktails being served on the deck as waiters from nearby restaurant Piazza d’Angelo offered trays of hors d'oeuvres, we learned their home was over 100 years old and was more or less “a wreck” when he and his wife first purchased it. “It was just sitting on the ground,” he said, adding that in restoring the house it, “we maintained the original footprint but raised it and put a proper foundation underneath.”

Their magnificently upgraded property and its owners played host to about 50 visitors that attended what was, essentially, a short chamber music concert held in the room dedicated to just such an event. Seated in folding chairs facing a semi-circle of music stands, we were treated to live music performed by musicians from both the San Francisco Opera and the Marin Symphony.

Kicked off by Danny Slomoff, the husband of theatre owner Lucy Mercer, the program included musical pieces by Pazzolla, Gliére, Summer, Mozart, and Daugherty. Prior to the musical portion of the concert, there was a spoken word performance by Mill Valley native and stage actress Anni Long, who gave a dramatic recollection of the artistic opportunities she had growing up in Marin that launched her performing career.

The musical portion had been organized by violinist Beni Shinohara, who is Assistant Principal Second Violin with the S.F. Opera Orchestra. Serving on the board for the Throckmorton Theatre, she drafted fellow musicians Jenny Douglass, Victoria Ehrlich, José González Granero, Richard Kvistad, and Virginia Price to perform the slate of classic music.

Cookies and conversation followed the performances as the afternoon began to turn into evening. All in all, quite a quietly magnificent way to spend a Sunday afternoon – and all for a good cause.