Published in the July 19 – August 1, 2017 issue of Gilroy Life

By Mark Fenichel

Photo by Marty Cheek
Dustin Meredith, 1, gets a great seat from his dad Jason Meredith during last year’s parade.

The Fourth of July has come and gone but left me with some great memories. The parade through downtown Morgan Hill was well done, very festive and packed with families all the way through downtown, up East Main Avenue, down Peak Avenue, and all along East Dunne Avenue to Monterey Road.

The Fourth of July has come and gone but left me with some great memories. The parade through downtown Morgan Hill was well done, very festive and packed with families all the way through downtown, up East Main Avenue, down Peak Avenue, and all along East Dunne Avenue to Monterey Road.

The downtown roads were closed, parking was at a premium and families with fancy strollers were out in force. I love the party that local Realtors Tony and Leonette Stafford put on in our office building with shaded seating for 100 of their closest friends and clients. The lobby was decorated in red, white and blue and filled with tables covered with enough food and beverages (including Mimosas) to keep everyone full and happy.

They even had walk-away goodie bags, flags and decorations for anyone to take and wear out on the street and a free raffle for all the attendees with prizes in adult and child categories.

I especially look forward to the private “rooftop” party my downtown friends throw with live music supplied by many of their musical friends from the GVA Chris & Friends Open Mic. They put on a dynamic food spread which includes healthy and not-so-healthy homemade foods and an array of libations.

The music is truly the centerpiece of this event with an interesting variety of musicians performing in a casual comfortable setting and the sound is studio quality. This was the first year I was able to attend the evening festivities and fireworks display at the Outdoor Sports Center. My band One Country had the honor of performing from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The stage was one of the most professional stages you can play on with sound provided by the Bay Area’s top sound company BelAire Sound. There were thousands upon thousands of people dressed up with a Fourth of July theme. Nothing like being front and center at the fireworks show feeling like I was watching from within instead of the usual watching from a distance. I am already looking forward to next year’s festivities.

• •   •

Sometimes I get messages from our readers regarding columns in my column and this is one I felt I must share: “That was an exceptional article about music in the July 12, 2017 issue of Gilroy Life. Why? Because of the way you showed music’s scope and impact on all of us — not just the younger generation. I teach guitar and see how people who never sang and played guitar before come to life.

“I’ve taught retired engineers to play the guitar, and once they learned were sorry they didn’t do it sooner. Personally, I think some of the schools are making a mistake by not accentuating music programs. I live across from Christopher High School, and one of the first things students do when leaving school is to put ear buds on to listen to music. Playing football is not a lifelong activity, but listening to and playing music can be.

“Finally, I decry those who look for highs in chemical products. Using drugs is pure child’s play compared to the blinding euphoria you can get by strumming a guitar and singing a song in front of an audience. And that visceral buzz can last a lifetime,” wrote Gordon Gibson.

To do his part, Gibson is offering a free Introduction to Guitar workshop at the Gilroy Library from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday Aug.16, 2017. Be sure to register at the library ahead of time. He’ll have extra guitars, tuners and picks for people to use.”My best wishes to you and your column,” he concluded. You can reach him at gordengibson@yahoo.com or call (408) 337-5101.

• •   •

On another note, I encourage you to check out the live acoustic music series in Morgan Hill every Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. located at the Third Street garage next to Orange Theory Fitness and The Coffee Guys.Every Wednesday The Vibes & Vines concert series continues through the summer at Guglielmo Winery 6 to 9 p.m. Music As Language will be presenting Rock For A Reason 2017 Aug. 19 at Miramar Vineyards benefiting the Morgan Hill Community Foundation.Watch for details on the upcoming SummerFest Music Festival coming to downtown San Jose Aug. 11-13.

And check out all the live music at The Gilroy Garlic Festival listed in the special pullout section of this paper.

Got a music tip or column idea? Contact harmonicaman1@yahoo.com.