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Months ago after much investigation, I made the discovery of the christmas cantata, "The Ballad of The Brown King" by Margaret Bonds with text of Langston Hughes. However, trying to find the actual music caused many a sleepless nights and countless hours of research. Well it all paid off with our 2 SOLD OUT shows on Sunday, Dec. 3rd. Response from. the audience members included, "I was blown away", "This was the most delightful experience", "You must make this an annual tradition", "What a refreshing and inspired way to launch the holidays", "How is it possible no one has ever heard of this piece?". Our cast of nearly 20 musicians and singers were giddy with the shared experience of bringing to life a work that inspired each of us with the freshness and beauty of Margaret Bonds' composition. While most of us are familiar with Langston Hughes, far fewer are aware of one of his closest friends, composer, Margaret Bonds. I encourage you to explore her life and her work. She was a maverick back in her day and I would say her efforts to preserve the works of African American composers would be considered at the forefront of what many are trying to accomplish today. It was a great honor to dedicate our performances to the great Rosalyn Carter. Her passing is a great loss to the world but her contributions to peace and the betterment of the earth will be felt for generations to come.

Musikiwest, (a 501 c(3) organization) presented this event made possible by your donations and support of events held in SandBox. We are honored to have been awarded a Community Arts Grant by The Arts Council for Monterey County. We were blessed to have such incredible singers and musicians from the Bay area join us for this production.

Our community engagement continued on Monday, Dec. 4th when our Musikiwest acclaimed super hero musicians, Nancy Zhou, Daniel Dastoor, Katie Kadarauch and Michelle Djokic engaged with hundreds of students from the North Monterey County High School and Middle School presenting our scripted open rehearsals addressing conflict resolution through the collaborative nature of chamber music. These visits to the classrooms were made possible by generous grants from the Pebble Beach Company Foundation and Yellow Brick Road.

Musikiwest is once again honored to be included in the 2023 MC Gives campaign . Thank you in advance for your support for our efforts here at SandBox and outside in the classrooms. Every gift regardless of size makes a huge difference.

Here is a brief clip of the magic that happened in The Ballad of The Brown King this past weekend.

And here is photo from our musicians in the classroom of the North Monterey County High School.

Please enjoy a safe and peaceful holiday. Wishing you all good health filled with great music and art in 2024!

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

This past week my brother in law Ming Tsai made a surprise visit to SandBox. When I got word he would be arriving in a couple of hours I headed out for ingredients we might provide him with to create the magic that happens when Ming cooks. We have a magnificent kitchen that was designed by the much loved architect, Jerome Lomax. I suspect it was never put to such good use as this meal with Ming. I realized as I watched Ming creating the recipe from his imagination, inspired by what he had to work with, that it is very much like the process of curating musical programs in SandBox. It's all a balance of flavors, textures and colors. The common thread throughout is that the real pleasure culminates in the sharing in community around the table or in SandBox. Ming travels the world cooking just as we musicians travel the world performing. We savor the food and we savor the arts. I don't believe we could live without either.

We are so fortunate in Monterey County with the freshest food. I walked down the pier to the Monterey Fish Market to find local Halibut, sword fish and rock cod. What a treasure exists in that store! The vegetables were all locally grown and fresh. With the bounty from nature and the cultural bounty that exists in our region not to mention the natural beauty that abounds, we are truly blessed to cal this region home.

On Sunday July 9, the sell out crowd at SandBox was witness to the brilliant young, gifted Romanian pianist, Alina Bercu. Mark Mancina made not only Alina's appearance at SandBox possible but was also the one to make the introduction The program displayed the versatility in Alina's technique and interpretation of the many styles on display. The program took us on a journey that began with a stunning performance, masterfully revealing the contrapuntal complexities of J.S.Bach's Italian Concerto. This was followed by two Chopin Nocturnes Opus 29 which the triggered a collective sigh from all who were present. With only one rehearsal under our belts, I joined Alina and violinist Jenny Cho in a performance of the Trio Elegiaque in g minor by Rachmaninov. The spontaneity of the brief encounter made for an exciting palate cleanser to set the scene for the main course which was Modest Mussorsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. The audience was on their feet and as members of the audience left one could see awe, smiles, contentment and and even tears in their eyes.

A week ago I received a text from friend and colleague Francisco Fullana asking if he could stay with me over the weekend and suggested we might even make some music together. Five days later on Friday evening, March 24th we found ourselves playing to a sell out crowd in SandBox and raising nearly $2000 to help in the recovery efforts of the community of Pajaro. Francisco arrived late on Thursday evening after performing the Szymanowski violin concerto #1 in Madrid the night before. Frida morning we briefly read through our duo repertoire planned for Friday evening then he rushed up to Santa Clara County Court House to take his oath and receive his American citizenship!!! Returning with only 45 minutes to spare Francisco wowed the audience with his virtuosity and musicianship. The evening started out with the beloved

Chaconne by JS Bach, followed by a self designed triptych of sorts:

Duo - Allegro serioso, non troppo. Zoltan Kodaly

Duo. Andante Pal Hermann

Duo- Allegro Giocoso - Zingaresca Erwin Schulhoff

this was followed by some very showy solo works:

Asturias Isaac Albeniz

Recuerdos de la Alhambra.

Francisco Tarrega

Amazing Grace

It was a rousing ovation for everything shared that evening and tremendous gratitude for all we were able to accomplish and share in community. It was a great concert for a great cause. We were especially grateful to Gail Dryden for having brought 6 of the most divine home made chocolate raspberry tarts to share with everyone present. We also want to recognize Beth Peerless from the Monterey Herald for giving SandBox the incredible shout out in Thursday's Monterey Herald! It takes a village, as the saying goes. What a wonderful village we created together. Thank you everyone!

Here are a few brief samples from the evenings offerings:

Andante for the Grand Duo by Pal Hermann

Zingaresca from the Duo

by Erwin Schulhoff

Gail Dryden delivering her marvelous chocolate raspberry tarts!

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