Published in the January 3 -16, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Live Oak Jazz Band performs Christmas classics at Guglielmo Winery in December. Photo by Marty Cheek

We gotta say, we love our jazz during the holiday season. And our Morgan Hill schools have tremendous talent among its student musicians. That definitely includes the Live Oak Jazz Band, an ensemble led by Live Oak High School teacher Jason Locsin.

“Tis the season to be jazzy,” was the theme of the holiday gala concert held Dec. 16 at Guglielmo Winery. The event tent was decorated with lights and ornaments. Guests enjoyed the local wines as well as tasty appetizers and desserts. Many local merchants provided silent auction items to bid on. All proceeds went to help continue music programs at Live Oak.

Among the guests were BookSmart owners Brad Jones and Cinda Meister, who enjoyed the music with Brad’s parents, Duane and Ruth Jones.

“What a wonderful time. Not only was the music amazing, the people there were great,” Brad told us. “It was really a special Christmastime concert.”

Morgan Hill Life Publisher Marty Cheek also attended the concert and was impressed with the high quality of talent shown by the student musicians performing jazzy versions of holiday classics. He suggested to Locsin that the Live Oak Jazz Band might want to perform at Gavilan College’s Jazz Festival, they were that high in musical caliber.

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It’s official. The Amgen Tour of California is coming to Morgan Hill.

The Morgan Hill City Council voted unanimously at it Dec. 20 meeting to approve a proposal for Amgen to hold one of its race time trials starting and finishing in downtown Wednesday, May 16. The entire Amgen Tour of California will be held May 13 to 19.

“Amgen is ready to host the event here in downtown Morgan Hill,” said Edith Ramirez, the city of Morgan Hill’s economic development director.

The route will require street closures for about four hours on the day of the time trials, she said. A community “lifestyle festival” will be held in downtown the Tuesday before the race.

“Our community is all about sports and recreation and we also have been working to promote this area as a tourism destination,” Ramirez said. “We have a number of assets like wineries and open space and farms that people from the region can come and enjoy. Having an event of this caliber, of this magnitude, will put us on the national and international stage.”

The economic benefit is expected to be significant for the South Valley region. Thousands of spectators and the 150 bicycling teams will require lodging, food, gasoline, and other items.

John McKay, president of the Morgan Hill Downtown Association board, sees the time trials as a way for the region to increase awareness to a national and even international audience. The media exposure will spread the message of South County as a tourism destination that is attractive for active people who might be interested in visiting the local wineries, parks, farms, and restaurants.

“It really aligns well with a lot of things going on in town. Part of that is that we’re trying to promote the South Valley as a bicycle-friendly community,” McKay said. “We realize we’re a bicycling destination and we can highlight that. We’ll have a race on our roads that will be incredible.”

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Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Northern California challenged its branch offices across the region to raise money for charity and 15 offices from Carmel to Santa Rosa raised more than $100,000 in the recent fundraiser.

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“Any time Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has a chance give back to charitable organizations in our local communities, we’re thrilled to do it,” said Nancy Robinson, regional vice president, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Northern California. “I’m proud of the effort our branch staff and affiliated agents have put into making this our most successful fundraising season yet. We look forward to growing this number annually.”

A couple of notable fall events that helped raise funds were the Gilroy and Morgan Hill offices that organized the Party in the Vineyard at Fortino Winery and raised nearly $37,000. Second place went to the Saratoga and Los Gatos offices that raised more than $30,000. The funds were given to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, DreamPower Horsemanship and various other local charities.

“Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has raised nearly $185,000 in support of the Children’s Fund at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford,” said Stacy Neiman, director of corporate relations at Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. “More than one-third of our patients have public insurance, which does not cover many aspects of care. This support means we never have to turn a patient away due to their financial circumstances.”

Another example of a local company that believes in giving back.