Published in the June 20 – July 3, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Entourage performs at the Friday Night Music Series.

I got a call from a friend who is the leader of a very good rock band. He called to ask about venues he could play at in the South Valley area. His band has played at GVA in Morgan Hill and at The District in Gilroy (now closed), but he was hoping maybe he missed something. It is difficult to get a band with seven members a gig that not only pays but to find a venue that is also conducive to handling a band that size.

Places like that do not exist in this area. Wine bars can’t deal with bands that size due to space limitations and most of the wineries that have live music keep those shows as private events for their wine club members. He also mentioned his band has a downsized acoustic version which adds to the possibilities of performing at other venues like restaurants and coffee houses.

We began discussing venues and came to the realization that there are not enough live music venues in either town. I can really appreciate a walk down Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz on a sunny day where many musicians show up to busk in the sunshine. There are often some extremely accomplished musicians entertaining the tourists. Unfortunately, there are no buskers in Morgan Hill.

It would certainly be nice to have a small theater such as the playhouse in downtown Morgan Hill or even the Grange Hall open their doors to live music on a regular basis, sell cheap tickets, refreshments and possibly set these shows up as a fundraiser to donate all after-expenses profits to a designated nonprofit. Even some of the senior living places may have a venue they can open to the public and offer their residents free or deeply discounted tickets. This could be an effective way to get local bands some paying gigs and have ongoing fundraisers for local charities. Maybe even some of the local churches can open their doors to such events. Of course, there is a great deal of detail, organization and commitment involved in making events of this nature work for everyone. The reality of it is that there would have to be a person working full-time with the knowledge and ability to get large sponsors to help fund a project such as this, and then get the licensing and permits. Likely an impossible undertaking but musical food for thought! Larger bands have it rough and smaller bands need to keep pushing and get creative to play places where music has never been before.

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On another note, both Morgan Hill and Gilroy offer free large live weekly music events throughout the summer and Guglielmo Winery (Vines & Vibes every Wednesday), Seeker Vineyards, Fortino Winery, Sarah’s Vineyard and Clos La Chance have public music events that are free and on a consistent basis throughout the summer. Check their websites for specific details.

Nor Cal Music Festival in association with Advent Lutheran Church has been running a series of free and ticketed classical music concerts. Performances will feature a variety of music by trios, quartets, quintets, and octets. From 7:30 to 9: 30 p.m., Thursday, June 21, they will hold a ticketed event at Sycamore Creek Winery. At 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 22, NorCal Music Festival will present an animal-themed concert at Advent Lutheran Church. At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 23, the festival’s participants will present a variety of chamber music at Gilroy Presbyterian Church.

The final concert, “Music for All Seasons,” will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at Advent Lutheran Church in Morgan Hill and will feature Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Visit for details.

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Mark Fenichel

Mark Fenichel

Mark Fenichel is the Advertising/Marketing Director for Morgan Hill Life with more than 40 years of marketing experience. If you're interested in learning more about building your business brand, contact Mark at (408) 410-4782 or email him at
Mark Fenichel