- Wynton and the boys come to town
- Nevada City Soapbox Derby premiers
Last night Jo Ann and I joined friends George and Christine for a delicious and well-served dinner on Holbrook Hotel patio, and then drove to the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Auditorium for a world class event. We and an SRO audience were delighted beyond words to attend a concert of contemporary jazz performed by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra of which he is the Music Director. The compositions were breath-taking and their performance exquisite. Every member of the orchestra, starting with Mr Marsalis, is a virtuoso on his instrument(s) and the program allowed ample demonstration of this.
At the end of the scheduled concert, we would not let them go and kept up a rhythmic applause until Marsalis along with piano, base, percussion, and sax returned to perform an extended improvisation of a piece that allowed every musician to demonstrate his considerable prowess. It was an evening to remember, right here in Nevada County, and with no need to fly to New York, or even drive to the Mondavi Center in Davis where they are performing tonight.
This weekend is the 51st annual Father’s Day classic bicycle race in Nevada City. As an integral part of the professional racing tour, the Nevada City race circuit is the shortest but also the most difficult of the whole tour. The town fills with visitors and tourists for the yearly event that heralds the real start of our county’s summer doings – Marsalis, annual Bluegrass Festival, and other sundry delights. To put a fine ribbon on it, this year Nevada City added an important and exciting event to the weekend’s entertainment – the inaugural running of the Nevada City Soapbox Derby (more in The Union).
This ‘race’ featured over forty entries competing in the ‘speed’ and ‘artistic’ categories. The cars were built by various enterprises – businesses, clubs, individuals, … . All the cars were custom built using lots of love, laughs, and at most $400. Of course we had to be there, so with our puppy in tow, there we were with more friends bellying up to the hay bales to see them come down Nimrod Street next to Pioneer Park on a well laid out downhill course.
Seeing as how it was the first time and all, a lot of the rules governing the goings on were, shall we say, in flux. One of the problems to be fixed for next year is to run the heats in a tighter interval – lots of folks were getting a bit antsy waiting for the next batch of great looking speedsters and funsters come rolling down the hill. We and the neighbors thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and we see this event becoming another summer draw for visitors to our mountains. (Now if we could only figure out a way to start a pari-mutuel betting scheme that would benefit local charities and not run afoul of the state’s gaming laws.)