The 555 California Street Tree Lighting Celebration is San Francisco’s premier annual holiday event. In 2017 we are teaming with Culinary Kickoff™ to launch a re-imagined holiday celebration - 555 California Street All Star Holiday Culinary Kickoff™! This year’s exciting new event will feature All Star talent teamed with tasting selections from top Bay Area chefs and vintners. In keeping with the 555 California Street Tree Lighting traditions, this year’s event will include exclusive musical performances, a tree lighting countdown and other beloved festivities.
The 555 California Street All Star Holiday Culinary Kickoff™ benefits All Stars Helping Kids (ASHK), a Bay Area nonprofit that works to disrupt the cycle of childhood poverty and encourage innovation through seed funding and consulting with other area nonprofits. This year’s proceeds will go to the ASHK Fire Zone Relief Project, to help Northern California communities rebuild after the disastrous Northern California fires.
ASHK was created in 1989, when NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott gathered his friends for a dinner to benefit the local community. Astounded that he had raised $100,000 in one night, Ronnie invested the money in several nonprofits fighting poverty in the South Bay. Since then, ASHK has used this simple formula of raising money and redistributing it to create opportunities in education, health and life skills for disadvantaged youth.
This guy’s resume is impressive… Under his belt, or should we say, under his chef’s coat, includes working with some of the best chefs in San Francisco, in some of the most revered kitchens.
Studying under Roland Passot at La Folie, one of the historic four-star restaurants in San Francisco, Jason developed a strong foundation in French/California cuisine while understanding the needs and tastes of his guests in the charming Russian Hill neighborhood.
As an up-and-coming talent, Halverson was offered the opportunity to work with Chris L’Hommedieu at the Westin St. Francis on Union Square at MICHAEL MINA. Halverson was an integral team member that contributed to the restaurant garnering two Michelin stars. As his career progressed, he moved on to open MICHAEL MINA at 252 California Street in 2010 and continued to grow his talent and skills under Ron Siegel, ultimately becoming Siegel’s Executive Sous Chef before leaving to start Hi Neighbor with a young, dynamic crew of other Mina Group alums, including Ryan Cole and Tai Ricci.
Rooted in the culture and discipline of these award-winning kitchens with an appreciation for simply prepared, California-centric cuisine, Halverson strives to deliver consistently craveable food in an environment that matches his personality, which he describes simply as – FUN! He currently brings this energy and delectable cuisine to the kitchens at Stones Throw, Corridor, and Trestle, a two-time Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient and San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 restaurant. These restaurants center on going back to the dining basics by offering great value, high-quality food, a convivial atmosphere, and an elevated level of service.
Halverson was named Eater’s Best Chef in San Francisco for 2015, and Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group received the designation of San Francisco Magazine’s Restaurateurs of the Year for 2017.
Michael Mina’s story is one of two decades of influence, passion and achievement. With the October 2010 opening of MICHAEL MINA, his eponymous signature restaurant at 252 California Street in San Francisco, Michael is at the helm and once again in the kitchen at the same location (formerly AQUA) and city where he first established his culinary reputation 20 years ago. The San Francisco Chronicle three and a half star winner MICHAEL MINA in San Francisco is Michael’s crown jewel and marks the newest phase and ultimate expression in the career of the James Beard Award-winning chef. During its first year, MICHAEL MINA was awarded one Michelin star and “Restaurant of the Year” in Esquire’s annual 2011 “Best Restaurants” issue.
With accolades including James Beard Foundation “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage” inductee in 2013, Gayot Restaurateur of the Year 2011, Food Arts Silver Spoon Award winner May 2011, Bon Appétit Chef of the Year 2005, San Francisco Magazine Chef of the Year 2005, as well as the International Food and Beverage Forum’s Restaurateur of the Year 2005, Michael continues to dazzle the culinary world with bold dining concepts that have contributed to San Francisco’s reputation as a world-class epicurean destination and made him an integral part of the dining scene across the country.
Michael’s culinary and business vision led to the founding of his company, Mina Group, with partner Andre Agassi in 2002. Under the auspices of Mina Group, he has opened 30 operations including MICHAEL MINA, CLOCK BAR, RN74, BOURBON STEAK, ARCADIA, STONEHILL TAVERN, STRIPSTEAK, WIT & WISDOM, PUB 1842, THE HANDLE BAR, PIZZA & BURGER, PABU, THE RAMEN BAR, BOURBON PUB, LOCALE MARKET, BARDOT BRASSERIE, and THE MINA TEST KITCHEN.
At the start of his career, Michael was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime with then Executive Chef of the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles, George Morrone. The two were asked to develop a concept and create a menu for an upscale seafood restaurant in San Francisco – the city Michael had dreamed of calling home one day. Welcomed to San Francisco by a major earthquake his second day in the city, he was unfazed and went to work immediately under George’s direction. Michael dedicated himself to creating a complete dining experience – training the entire kitchen staff personally and refining the menu as chef de cuisine. AQUA opened to rave reviews and national acclaim in 1991. Michael served as AQUA’s executive chef from 1993 to 2002, where he was awarded Rising Star Chef of the Year in 1997 and Best California Chef in 2002 by the James Beard Foundation.
Born in Cairo, Egypt and raised in Ellensburg, Wash., Michael has had a love affair with the kitchen, creating memorable dining experiences for guests from a very early age. Michael’s epicurean journey began in 1987 at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. During those 18 months of formal schooling, he spent his weekends sharpening his natural talents with hands-on experience in Charlie Palmer’s kitchen at the upscale Aureole in New York City.
Michael has been honored with numerous accolades, including the Michelin two-star award and San Francisco Chronicle’s four-star award for the original MICHAEL MINA at San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis on Union Square, Michelin’s one-star award for MICHAEL MINA in Las Vegas as well as induction into the American Gaming Association’s Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2013, he was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.” Additionally, he is an esteemed member of Bocuse d’Or USA and the CIA Society of Fellows. Michael has been featured in such national media as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Food Arts, Cigar Aficionado, Newsweek, TIME, Robb Report, Travel & Leisure, Wine Spectator, and others, in addition to the Food Network's "After Midnight," Fine Living Network’s “Opening Soon,” Pat O’Brien’s “The Insider,” the CBS Early Show, the NBC Today Show and Fox's syndicated "Good Day Live." He has been a featured guest chef at the James Beard House numerous times; cooked for three U.S. presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama; and has been a guest speaker at C.I.A. in Hyde Park and at other culinary institutes in California.
A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Chef Thomas worked in France in preparation for his prominent and varied career in the Bay Area.
He honed his skills at the Palace Hotel for ten years as Sous Chef, Banquet Chef and Restaurant Chef. With an entrepreneurial spirit, he opened his own restaurant, Black Bamboo, which specialized in Asian fusion cuisine. As Executive Chef, he opened the Renaissance Club Sport in Walnut Creek, a hotel concept that combined traditional amenities with a spa and sports facility. Simultaneously, he returned to the California Culinary Academy as a Chef Instructor for the Academy Grill. Thomas became Executive Chef at the Westin Market Street, where he was involved in the opening of Ducca. At the tremendously popular and often in the news, Asia de Cuba Restaurant in the Clilft Hotel, Thomas was once again Executive Chef. His next venture was at the Marriott Silicon Valley where he is overseeing a full kitchen renovation.
Chef Thomas has broad experience with both restaurant and banquet production. He considers locavorism, Asian fusion of all varieties and French cuisines to be among his specialties. He is especially interested in exploring and visiting local and sustainable growers to further comprehend the movement.
Since taking the helm as Winery Chef at Napa Valley’s renowned Silver Oak Cellars in 2008, Dominic Orsini has transformed what it means to be a winery chef. With a philosophy centered on creating cuisine designed to enhance the enjoyment of wine, Dominic has expanded the approach by creating a style of cooking that embraces not just the wine, but also the wine country experience as a whole, focusing on the sense of place that is so central to the crafting of fine wine.
As Silver Oak’s first Winery Chef, Dominic takes inspiration and ingredients from the seasons as well as the winery’s vineyards, cellars and gardens. He uses vine cuttings to smoke meats, cover crops to make pesto, leftover grape lees to make vincotto, Cabernet to make pâte de fruit, and barrel staves to fuel his wood-burning oven. Almost all of the produce he uses, including olives, herbs, fruits and vegetables, is grown in Silver Oak’s organic gardens. What he can’t use fresh he dries, cans or otherwise preserves. He grows heritage corn for his own polenta and grinds his own flour. The starter he uses for breads and pizza dough was created from 20-year old Cabernet vines on the winery property. With endless curiosity and enthusiasm for capturing both time and place in his menus, Dominic has pushed the boundaries of what it means to cook locally-grown food according to the season.
As part of his full-time duties leading the culinary program at Silver Oak, Dominic orchestrates the dining experience at the winery’s popular, twice-yearly Release Day celebrations, leading chefs from local restaurants such as Harvest Table, Morimoto, La Toque, TORC, Goose & Gander, and Farmstead in the design of custom food pairings around Silver Oak’s distinctive Cabernets.
Dominic is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a Level I Sommelier who honed his culinary skills at fine restaurants in New York and Napa Valley. His journey at Silver Oak is chronicled in his new book, The Silver Oak Cookbook: Life in a Cabernet Kitchen, published by Rizzoli in the fall of 2016.
Carlo Cavallo began his culinary career in 1990 working as a Pastry/Sous Chef at the famed L’Assassino Ristorante in Milan, Italy. He then took a job as the Chef du Cuisine at the famous Belmonte Hotel in Lugano, Switzerland, where he perfected his talents in French Provencal cuisine. He then spent the next three years as the Executive Chef for Giorgio Armani’s Restaurants in Beverly Hills, Boston and Costa Mesa where he developed ardent following from the Hollywood celebrities that frequently dined there. At Armani, Cavallo received excellent reviews and was honored as the “Best New Chef of the Year” in Los Angeles Magazine. Cavallo next took a position for a year as Executive Chef at the Hyatt Sainte Claire Hotel in San Jose. He was in charge the Restaurant, Bakery / Cafe and Banquet facilities that had revenues in excess of 10 million dollars. He oversaw the food and beverage for the NHL All- star weekend and Major League soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes inaugural season opening Gala.
In November 1999, Carlo Cavallo opened Meritage Martini Oyster Bar & Grille, which was considered one of the wine country best restaurants. It was the perennial winner of Best Seafood Restaurant in Napa and Sonoma County since 2000 till its sale in 2015. Chef Carlo also is the winner of 2009 Best Beef in America Chef's Challenge put on by National Cattlemen's Association. Carlo has won consecutive Best Overall Martini awards in 2009, 2010 and 2011 at Martini Madness competition showcasing his mixology skills. He was also nominated to the prestigious Best Chef America list in 2013.
Chef Carlo Cavallo provides catering services for several Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley wineries for private winery functions. He currently caters corporate events for Louis Vuitton boutiques in Beverly Hills and San Francisco. He was recently the featured as Star Chef for the Sonoma Showcase of Food & Wine. He served a term on the Board of Directors of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers and had the title of Culinary Director of the Sonoma Valley Wine Auction for 5 years.
In February 2014, Cavallo opened B&V Whiskey bar in the Historic Sonoma Creamery building to rave reviews. B&V whiskey bar has an upscale casual format, over 90 whiskeys & Rye’s, and a menu that was inspired by his award winning Best Beef in America recipe.
Chef Carlo has appeared on many national and international Television programs such as the FoodNetwork, CNN’s On the Menu, NBC “In Wine Country”, PBS and ABC morning news. He has been featured on Japanese and French Television programs. His recipes and restaurants have been featured in the New York times, Los Angeles Times, Gourmet, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, La Cucina Italiana, Chef magazine, Conde Naste, Food and Wine, San Francisco Chronicle, Press Democrat, and Marin Independent Journal as well as several other publications.
He has cooked for former Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi on a regular basis, the English Earl of Kent, as well as other European aristocracy. He was selected to cater a luncheon for the Pentagon’s Lieutenant General Joseph H. Wehrle and 30 foreign liaison Brigadier Generals from around the world. Chef Carlo's catering company has done events for the Italian, Mexican, Egyptian and Russian embassies here in wine country featuring such dignitaries as Felipe Calderon, President of Mexico, Governor of Michocan Leonel Godoy, Italian Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta, Russian Ambassador Sergey Ivanovich, and Egyptian Ambassador Sameh Shoukry.
Some of his celebrity clients Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Dana Carvey, Luciano Pavarotti, Arnold Swartzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Joey Pantoleone, Pricilla Presley, John Lasseter, Cynthia Nixon, George Lucas, Lewis Black, Michael Keaton, Courtney Cox, Ed Asner, Alan Alda, Dustin Hoffman, Rod Stewart, Carlos Santana, and Sammy Hagar. Chef Carlo likes to downplay his celebrity chef status by saying , “ It’s not about who you are cooking for, it’s about the preparing the great food and enjoying good company!!
Ken Frank is entirely self-taught and brings a personalized touch to his contemporary French cuisine at La Toque. Frank’s love of French cooking stems from his childhood spent in Yoivre, France. Frank first achieved national acclaim at age 21 at the Los Angeles restaurant La Guillotine. He originally opened La Toque in Los Angeles, before moving the restaurant to Rutherford and then to The Westin Verasa Napa in 2008. La Toque maintains a Michelin Star and Wine Spectator’s Grand Award, the highest honor for a restaurant’s wine list.
Charles Phan is the inventor of modern Vietnamese cuisine in America and Executive Chef and Owner of the Slanted Door family of restaurants. Born in Da Lat, Vietnam in 1962, the Phan family relocated just before the fall of Saigon, and spent two years in Guam before finally settling in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1977. A former architecture student at UC Berkeley (and a one-time software salesman), Phan opened his first restaurant, The Slanted Door, on Valencia Street in San Francisco’s Mission District in 1995. It was quickly recognized for its unique Vietnamese flavor. The restaurant relocated from its original space to its current location in the historic Ferry Building in 2004. Phan’s other restaurants are: Out the Door, OTD, South at SFJAZZ, Hard Water, and Green Cap Catering in San Francisco, California.
In 2004, Phan won the James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: California”. The Slanted Door won Outstanding Restaurant award by the Foundation in 2014.
Charles has been featured on Food Network’s Iron Chef America and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. In addition to his awards and accolades, Phan is a leader in San Francisco food community and has participated in countless charitable events including Share Our Strength, University Hospital, Project Open Hands, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Make a Wish Foundation, Meals on Wheels, CUESA, Alex’s Lemonade, One Vietnam, 18 Reasons, Taste of the Nation, La Cocina, SF Food Bank, NY and LA Food an Wine.
Charles’ first cookbook “Vietnamese Home Cooking”, published by Ten Speed Press, won 2013 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Chefs and Restaurants cookbook award. His second cookbook, “The Slanted Door” Modern Vietnamese Food, published in Fall 2014 by Ten Speed Press, won amazon.com’s Best Cookbooks of the Year and received 2015 Best Photography award from IACP.
Richard Reddington’s passion for food and wine was sparked by his travels throughout Europe and fueled by his experiences working in some of the world’s best kitchens. As Executive Chef at REDD he offers a contemporary interpretation of Wine Country cuisine. He began his career working for Roland Passot at San Francisco’s La Folie in 1990 later moving to Postrio and then heading to David Burke’s Park Avenue Café. A stint at Rubicon in San Francisco was followed by a French Sojurn at the Michelin three-star Arpege and Le Moulin de Mougins with Roger Vergé, a prelude to working with Daniel Boulud at Restaurant Daniel. Returning to California he was opening Sous Chef at Spago Beverly Hills before joining Chapeau in San Francisco where he was named “Rising Star” by The San Francisco Chronicle. He spent the next 18 months as Chef de Cuisine at Jardiniere. In 2000 he moved to the Napa Valley as Executive Chef at Auberge du Soleil. He was voted “Best Rising Star Chef” by San Francisco Magazine in 2003. After leaving Auberge in 2004 he took the reins at Masa’s in San Francisco before opening his own restaurant. Opened in November of 2005 REDD offers food and wine lovers a new reason to visit Yountville’s gourmet “Restaurant Row”. In January of 2012 Chef Reddington opened his second restaurant, Redd Wood in the North Block Hotel also located on Washington Street. An upscale Pizza Restaurant it has become a favorite of locals and tourists alike.
NFL Champion Ronnie Lott, and his wife Karen have tirelessly dedicated their time to All Stars Helping Kids (ASHK) and the Bay Area community. In the past 25 years, Ronnie and Karen have helped ASHK to provide more than $10 million in grants to over 100 organizations, impacting thousands of young lives throughout the Bay Area and beyond.
Ronnie Lott's legendary football career began in 1981 as a first-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers. Ronnie went on to achieve four Super Bowl titles and ten Pro-Bowl appearances. He is one of only five 49ers to play on all of the team's 1980s Super Bowl wins. Ronnie retired from professional football in 1994 after ten seasons with the 49ers, and additional years with both the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets. In 1994, he was selected as the Safety for the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000, and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
Country- blues-rocker Frankie Ballard released his latest album El Rio (Warner Nashville) to critical acclaim and was selected by Rolling Stone as one of the 25 Best Country and Americana albums of 2016 and The Tennessean as one of the best 16 Nashville albums of 2016. The singer songwriter has had three #1 country hits to date and boasts Spotify streams in excess of 2.2 million. With combined album sales of over 450,000 to date with over 150 million total streams across all streaming platforms, Ballard continues to lead the lead country music mixing an American heartland rock sound with traditional country and blues.
Frankie Ballard’s previous album, Sunshine & Whiskey, produced three consecutive no. 1 singles – the platinum-certified “Sunshine & Whiskey,” the gold-certified “Helluva Life,” and one of the Top 3 Billboard Country Airplay songs of 2015, “Young & Crazy.” He has performed on national television including Today, Live with Kelly and Jimmy Kimmel Live. Ballard has performed and toured with Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Bob Seger, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Big and Rich as well as at festivals such as Summerfest, Tortuga Music Festival, CMA Fest and many more.
El Rio was recorded at the famed Sonic Ranch, just south of El Paso in Tornillo, Texas, Ballard, band, and producer Marshall Altman left the comfort of Nashville in exchange for the opportunity to immerse themselves 24/7 creating this unique and fresh album. Rolling Stone describes the album as, “a different kind of album for the Michigan-born, Nashville-based songwriter, filled with country-rock anthems that have more in common with the heartland heroes of Ballard's youth — especially Bob Seger and John Mellencamp — than the outlaws and highwaymen whose names are so often cited by country music's younger class.” Ballard explains in the same article, "It's just my own brand of American music. There's rock & roll. There's country stories and country lyrics and country songs. And there's a lot of blues swagger and blues guitar playing. It's all those things together."
Born out of Northern California’s chaotic, late-1960s musical stew, The Doobie Brothers’ rugged, real and authentic approach to rock and roll made them biker bar stalwarts. But their self-titled debut album in ’71 went beyond just leather and motorcycles, revealing even more musical layers; sweet three-part harmonies and rootsy, introspective, acoustic flavors.
The Doobie Brothers’ legacy has been built upon not just hit records, but also an unrivaled commitment to musical integrity and a steadfast allegiance to their enthusiastic fan base. The bands ability to evolve in a constantly changing industry and connections to generations of listening audiences is a testament to their craft.
It all began in 1969, when a drummer named John Hartman arrived in Northern California. He was there to meet Skip Spence from the band Moby Grape and become part of a supposed band reunion that never quite got off the ground. But it wasn’t all for naught. Spence (who had also played in the Jefferson Airplane) introduced Hartman to his friend Tom Johnston, a local singer/songwriter/guitarist -and they connected. Hartman and Johnston began playing local Bay Area bars. They soon met singer/guitarist Pat Simmons, whose finger-style playing richly complimented Johnston’s R&B strumming-style, and the foundation for The Doobie Brothers was set.
While their debut album in 1971 did not chart, just a year a later, their second record, Toulouse Street, became a breakout sensation. Producer Ted Templeman helped the band craft a sound that was organic, yet radio friendly, and brought in Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne to add unique musical textures.
From there The Doobies hit the road, tirelessly working their way around the world. They established themselves with a breathtaking run of hits on Warner Bros. Records that tapped into a myriad of American styles. “Listen to the Music,” “Jesus is Just Alright,” “China Grove,” “Black Water,” “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” “Long Train Runnin’” and other anthemic singles confirmed their status as fine craftsman who could also rock arenas.
In 1974, Steely Dan co-lead guitarist and session legend Jeff “Skunk” Baxter joined the band as third guitarist, one of many unique and talented players who would revolve in and out of the band over the years. The group’s expanded lineup was augmented in 1975 by Michael McDonald, whose soulful vocals and songwriting led to the hits “What a Fool Believes,” “Minute by Minute,” “Takin’ It To The Streets,” and “You Belong To Me.” Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, John McFee, joined in 1978 bringing his wide range of musical styles and experience recording with Van Morrison, Steve Miller, Elvis Costello, and The Grateful Dead to The Doobies’ sound.
The collaborative, almost communal sense of family within the band allowed them to stay fresh and unpredictable over the years, while never forsaking their deep American musical roots, boogie-jams and all.
After a respite in the early 80s, the band reunited in 1987 for a series of gigs benefiting veterans’ groups and children’s charities (ultimately raising millions). Those shows at the Hollywood Bowl were the fastest sell-outs since the Beatles had played there more than 20 years earlier. In a Los Angeles Times poll the year before, fans voted Led Zeppelin and The Doobie Brothers the bands they wanted most to see reunite.
Continuing to record, The Doobies released World Gone Crazy in 2010, produced by Ted Templeman, and Southbound on Arista Nashville in 2014. Southbound, produced by David Huff, featured new recordings of the band’s iconic hits, with country music’s biggest stars including Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley, and Toby Keith.
The Doobie Brothers were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004, have won four GRAMMY® Awards and sold more than 48 million records worldwide (including three multi-platinum, seven platinum, and 14 gold albums). Their 1976 Best of the Doobies has sold more than 12 million copies, earning rare RIAA Diamond status. Their No. 1 gold-certified singles “Black Water” (1974) and “What a Fool Believes” (1979) lead a catalog of hits that includes “Listen to the Music,” “Jesus Is Just All Right,” “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” “Long Train Runnin’,” “China Grove,” “Take Me In Your Arms,” Takin’ It to the Streets,” “Minute by Minute,” “You Belong to Me,” and “The Doctor.” In all, The Doobies have tallied five Top 10 singles and 16 Top 40 hits.
“We’re basically an American band – we cover a lot of areas,” says Johnston. “We cover blues, R&B, country, bluegrass, and rock ‘n’ roll. It’s based on rhythms, rhythm structures, picking, and harmonies. That’s been the signature of the band.” He continues, “You take Pat, who comes from a folk/blues background, with a lot of picking and stuff like that; he was a big fan of Rev. Gary Davis and Dave Van Ronk. I come from a blues, soul, R&B, and rock ‘n’ roll background. Then you stick John McFee into that mix. John came from a country background when he started out and was in the country band Southern Pacific. And he is a session musician – he’s played with everybody from Steve Miller to Van Morrison to Elvis Costello. If it’s got strings, he can play it.”
“We all have the same work ethic,” says multi-instrument virtuoso McFee, self-described as the “new guy.” “Tom, Pat and I are still surging ahead. We’ve stayed together as friends as well as musicians. We are compelled to challenge ourselves. I mean, I love playing the old songs. But when we’re working on new material now, I think we’re coming up with better parts. The band has always been good, so it’s kind of like we’re competing with ourselves. But honestly, we’re playing better than ever.”
Simmons notes, “We didn’t really sit around and think, ‘Oh, we need this element or that element.’ The music has always been an honest representation of whatever we happen to be working on at the time. We had all been playing music for a long time before we put the band together, and our roots influences are what come out. Those influences always overtake whatever conceptual ideas you might have. It’s always been that way with this band — you always return to who you really are.”
The ability of The Doobie Brothers’ music to connect with the essentials of people’s lives in tuneful, affecting songs has developed an audience that spans generations today. Known for their dynamic live performances, the band plays close to 100 shows a year touring worldwide, delighting concert goers of all ages.
Simmons adds, “We have a hardcore fan base that has handed our music down through the years to their children and their children’s children. Repeatedly, people go to our concerts and come up to us and say, ‘My dad turned me on to you guys years ago, and I’ve loved you guys all this time, and my kids are listening to you now.”
“And the songs that people all know, be it ‘Listen to the Music,’ ‘Black Water’ or ‘China Grove,’ are still getting played,” Johnston adds. “Any song that stands the test of time for 40 years or is getting played around the country on a daily basis – that to me is a testament to the quality of the tunes, and that they have something to say that resonates with people. I’d like to say this band has been relevant – it’s been relevant musically, it’s been relevant lyrically, and we’ve always put out a high quality of music.”
They take none of it for granted. And their music has proven to be relatable for generations since they first came together, which is why they continue to make new music. The fundamental appeal that has drawn listeners to this group for four decades may be best expressed by Simmons:
“In a certain sense, what this band has always had in common with everyone else is the word ‘hope.’ We hoped we would make some good music, and we hoped there would be some acceptance, and we hoped that things would get better in the world. In that respect, we’re just the same – we’re still hopeful about the future.”
The mere name of the band gives one hope. And it makes you think, it makes you feel and makes you appreciate the efforts of one of America’s most dependable musical outfits. It takes you back, while also helping you look ahead.
From hustling street performer on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade to multi-platinum selling recording artist, it seems like just yesterday that Andy Grammer was discovered by manager Ben Singer and signed to S-Curve Records. With his 2011 self-titled debut album, Grammer became the first male pop star in a decade to reach the Top 10 at Adult Pop Radio on his first two singles, “Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine By Me,” certified Platinum and Gold respectively, selling more than 1.5 million downloads combined.
In just a few short years, Grammer has sold over 250,000 albums, played to sold out venues nationwide, performed onstage with Taylor Swift, Train, and Colbie Caillat, appeared on an array of national TV shows, and received major song placements in film and TV.
In 2014, Grammer released his second album, Magazines or Novels, which included the multi-platinum hit single “Honey, I’m Good.” that sold over 3 million copies and climbed to #1 on the Adult Pop Radio charts. Following a successful year, Grammer joined the Season 21 cast of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
Platinum recording artist Phillip Phillips released his sophomore album Behind The Light in May. The album includes songs that were either written or co-written by Phillips including the lead single "Raging Fire," an epic and urgent love song that debuted in the Billboard Hot 100 upon its March release and quickly earned raves for Phillips's stirring vocal delivery and thrilling guitar work. Behind The Light is the follow-up to 2012's The World from the Side of the Moon, a platinum plus-selling album that debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 and featured the 5x platinum smash hit "Home." Throughout the last year, the 23-year-old Georgia native has toured the U.S. and the world, joining Matchbox Twenty and John Mayer on tour and sharing a stage with Bruce Springsteen at the 2013 Rock in Rio festival. The American Idol season 11 winner is currently out on a national headline tour in support of his new single "Unpack Your Heart."
Canadian singer/songwriter and breakout pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen has taken America by storm after bursting onto the scene in the US with her hit single “Call Me Maybe.” Unforgettably catchy, the hit song which she co-wrote quickly rose to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart where it remained for nine consecutive weeks. Certified quintuple-platinum in Jepsen’s native Canada the track is also an international sensation, climbing to No. 1 on the iTunes Singles charts in over 47 countries while the official video has over 400 million YouTube views and the song has sold more than 10 million singles worldwide to date. Follow up platinum single “Good Time,” a duet with Owl City, climbed to No. 3 on the Pop Chart, while the video has racked up over 84 million YouTube views. Jepsen released her debut album Kiss on September 18 via 604 Records/Schoolboy Records/Interscope Records along with her latest single "This Kiss.” Billboard recently named Jepsen its “Rising Star” at the 2012 Billboard Women.
In Music Awards, and she won the 2012 American Music Award for Best New Artist. Jepsen received two 2012 Grammy® nominations for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year. Carly’s new single, “Tonight I’m Getting Over You” is out now.
Robin Thicke has established himself as one of the most respected singer- songwriters in soul and R&B music today. Born in Los Angeles, Robin Thicke taught himself to play piano at the age of 12 and by 16 was writing and producing songs for top R&B artists. At the age of 21, he had written and produced songs on over 20 gold and platinum albums including Michael Jackson, Marc Anthony, Pink, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Jennifer Hudson and others. One year later he signed with Jimmy Iovine and Interscope records. The musician and composer released his critically acclaimed debut album, A Beautiful World, in 2003 under the name Thicke. The collection was followed by a succession of five critically acclaimed gold and platinum selling album releases. Robin’s sixth studio album, Blurred Lines, was released in July on 2013. The album garnered three GRAMMY nominations. The collection debuted at #1 on Billboard Top 200 while, “Blurred Lines,” the single, continued its 12-week reign on the Billboard Hot 100 chart making Robin the first artist to take the top spot on both lists since December 2012 and only the 17th act to earn the distinction in the past ten years. “Blurred Lines” scored the highest audience ever recorded and broke records by climbing to #1 on 5 radio charts simultaneously (Top 40, Rhythm, Urban, Hot AC & Urban AC) – the first time this has ever been done by an artist. Robin’s seventh studio album, Paula, was released in July 2014.
A local favorite, Dick Bright Orchestra will be playing a variety of holiday songs and big band favorites throughout the tree lighting concert. Dick is a well-recognized entertainment figure seen at many half times, seventh inning stretches, community concerts and fundraisers.
The Pacific Boychoir Academy (PBA) was founded in 1998 with six boys and today comprises over 170 boys and young men ages 4 to 18 in seven choirs. The PBA is known for its rich sound, musicianship, phrasing, and talented soloists. The New York Times said the PBA goes “beyond the reach of most youth choirs” and the Los Angeles Times described the PBA quality of sound and musicianship as "astonishing".