The Friday, May 6, Column

Vox Populi

Soundbytes – Vox Populi

It started with an ad in the paper in 2008, then with a simple question. “Can you sing?” If you can answer yes, then you too can became a member of Vox Populi. The term is Latin, and translated means “Voice of the People” and the group has certainly turned into that. Founded by Mark Dennis and now up to 40 people, the “Rock and Roll Choir” has been involved and performing for the community ever since. Dennis puts a lot of effort into making sure all participants know their parts. This is not a bunch of people just “singing along,” but all members are assigned specific harmony lines and the songs are delivered with all four parts in the background and your line “up front” or boosted from the other vocal lines. Formerly a painstaking process involving burning endless CD’s, Dennis now has a group member that posts the tracks online. Dennis does this for every vocal line in every song the group performs.

The choir will present their Spring concert “Stairways” at the Sebastiani Theatre on Monday, May 9, and at the Sonoma Woman’s Club on Saturday, May 21, both kicking off at 7:30 p.m. The shows will benefit The Sebastiani Theatre and the Sonoma Women’s Club, who will use funds to maintain and upgrade their historic buildings.

“Stairways” is an eclectic mix of spirited, sophisticated songs and will be backed up by Mark Willson and Mario Ramirez of the local band Plan Be, The set includes the namesake song, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen as well as selections by Toto, the Eagles, Paul Simon and more.

The group practices every Wednesday night, and he means every, as they only take about two Wednesdays off a year around the holidays, at Energy Studios in the Mercato Plaza. “Singing harmony with a group of friends is the second best thing on the planet,” proclaimed Dennis. “A real community has risin’ out of this thing” says Dennis, “Friends that were not prior are now, and even some relationships have come out of the group.”

Advance tickets are available at the Sebastiani Theatre box office and Tiddlewinks, or at the door the night of the shows, if available. The shows are expected to sell-out. For more info, point your browser to


Alan Early

 Music for mom

If brunching isn’t mom’s thing this Mother’s Day, then you can find some relaxing live music options throughout the day in the Valley. The FAHA Heritage Center, at 197 W Verano Ave in El Verano will have a lunch concert with the Alan Early Quartet, featuring Amanda King. Early, a master of the saxophone and flute, has traveled the world and played with names like Petula Clark, Jose Feliciano, Herb Ellis, Jimmy Smith and more.

The afternoon kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 8, in the gazebo and the admission price includes not just the music, but lunch, dessert and a beverage. Lawn chairs and blankets are encouraged. To sign up for the event, point your browser to or call 935-0200.

The Jack London Piano Club will be celebrating Mother’s Day with a Recital on Sunday May 8 at the Jack London State Historic Park. Performing will be popular vocalist Laura Benward, plus a diverse repertoire of piano solos ranging from classical to popular music played by pianists Jim Wittes, Deborah Knapp, Rubina Mazurka, and Esfir Ross.

The event is also a fund raiser for the park, and the group has donated over 15 thousand dollars to the park since 2011. The afternoon kicks off at 2 p.m. with refreshments served at intermission. There is limited seating and the performance space can only be reached by stairway. For more information about access, please call 938-5216. For tickets and more info, point your browser to


Tommy Thomsen
Tommy Thomsen

Set List – The Rundown

Annex Wine Bar, 865 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 938-7779
Tonight, May 6: Hannah Jern-Miller and Courtney Carroll. 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 7: Hi – Fi Shakedown. 7:30 p.m.

Barking Dog Roasters, 18133 Sonoma Hwy. Sonoma, 939-1905
Saturday, May 7: Hugh Gallagher. 3 p.m.
Sunday, May 8: Mesopotamians. 3 p.m.

B. R. Cohn Winery, 15000 Sonoma Hwy. Glen Ellen, 800-330-4064
Sunday, May 8: Lee Howards Musical Universe.  2 p.m.

B&V Whiskey Bar and Grille, 400 First St. E. Sonoma, 938-7110
Tonight, May 6: DJ Cal. 9 p.m.
Saturday, May 7: DJ Hi – C. 9 p.m.

Bump Wine Cellars, 521 Broadway Sonoma , 228-9214
Tonight, May 6: Sonoma Sound Syndicate and friends. 7 p.m.

FAHA Heritage Center, 197 W. Verano Ave. Sonoma, 935-0200
Sunday, May 8: Alan Early Quartet and vocalist Amanda King. 1 p.m.

Friday Farmers Market, Depot Park, 270 First St W. Sonoma
Today, May 6: Stewart Degner. 9:30 a.m..

HopMonk Tavern, 691 Broadway Sonoma, 935-9100
Tonight, May 6: Adam Traum. 5 p.m. Nathan Hinojosa. 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 7: Quiles and Cloud. 1 p.m. Billy Manzik. 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 8: Craig Corona. 1 p.m.

Jack London State Historic Park, 2400 London Ranch Rd, Glen Ellen, 938-5216
Sunday, May 8: Piano recital with Laura Benward and more. 2 p.m.

Murphy’s Irish Pub, 464 First St. E. Sonoma, 935-0660
Tonight, May 6: Tsunami. 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 7: Sean Carscadden Trio. 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 8: Z and the Benders. 7 p.m.

Muscardini Cellars, 9380 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood, 933-9305
Saturday, May 7: “Simmer Down Saturday” with the Tommy Thomsen Band. 6 p.m.

Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs, 938-7587
Saturday, May 7: Karaoke. 7:30 p.m.

Plaza Bistro, 420 First St E. Sonoma, 996-4466
Tonight, May 6: The John Stowell and Randy Vincent Duo. 7 p.m.

Rossi’s 1906 Dancehall, 401 Grove St. El Verano, 343-0044
Tonight, May 6: The Gravel Spreaders. 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 7: Little League fundraiser with Train Wreck Junction. 5 p.m.
Sunday, May 8: The Good Ol’ Boys. 5 p.m. Blues Jam. 9:30 p.m.

Schellville Grill, 22900 Broadway, Sonoma, 996-5151
Saturday, May 7: Butch Engle and Styx. 12:30 p.m.

Sebastiani Theatre, 476 First St. E. Sonoma, 996-9756
Monday May 9: Vox Populi Spring Concert. 7:30 p.m.

Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards, 389 Fourth St. E. Sonoma, 933-3230
Tonight, May 6: Sugarfoot. 6 p.m.

Shiso Modern Asian Kitchen, 19161 Sonoma Hwy, Sonoma, 933-9331
Saturday, May 7: The No Buenos. 7 p.m.

Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall, 452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma, 996-1364
Tonight, May 6: Three on a Match. 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 7: Quatro de Jeffro. 1 p.m. Full Circle. 5 p.m. David Aguilar,
Roy Blumenfeld, Tim Eschliman and Bruce Gordon. 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 8: “Open Mic and Mimosas.” 1 to 7 p.m.
If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it.

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