I had the great good fortune to spend this past Saturday evening in the company of The San Francisco Symphony, Tchaikovsky, a picnic supper and fireworks. I think it’s the law. You can’t have the 1812 Overture without fireworks. The San Francisco Symphony performed an all Tchaikovsky program, culminating in the 1812 Overture and one of the best fireworks displays I’ve seen in decades.
It’s always a joy to visit Weill Hall http://gmc.sonoma.edu/visit/about-hall/about_Weill_Hall at the Green Music Center on the Sonoma State University campus in Rohnert Park, but during the summer, when lawn seating is available, for me, it’s even more special. What could be better than fine music under the stars surrounded by the incomparable beauty of the Sonoma County countryside? “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and... music...” well...
Although I do enjoy the elegance of inside seating during the winter, I find the lawn seating particularly enjoyable during the summer... bringing a picnic, sitting under the stars surrounded by the beauty of Sonoma county, the special camaraderie of sharing food and drink with friends, AND, the video screen. Even with the best seats inside, you just can’t get the same view that is offered with the video screen provided for the outdoor seating. To be able to watch Simon Trpčeski’s hands fly up and down the keyboard in those close-ups was to me, particularly exciting. The video screen also offered us an excellent close up view guest percussionist, Victor Advienko as he played the authentic Pyatkov bronze Russian church bells during the 1812 Overture. The bells were on loan from St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in San Anselmo. And hey, the sound is not compromised at all for the outside seating. The amplification and acoustics are superb.
And, having an ego at least as large as the sound produced by the 1812 Overture, of course I get a kick out of putting together a rather spectacular picnic and basking in the comments of passers by. That’s lovely you say, but I don’t want to lug a picnic basket up the hill... well there are many options. Weill Halls Prelude Restaurant http://gmc.sonoma.edu/visit/prelude offer’s a world class menu in elegant surroundings. Don’t want to do the restaurant thing? Well, you can still dine elegantly at the outside dining terrace which offers an excellent view of the stage and white glove service of your pre ordered meal, or you may order a picnic to picnic to pick up.
But if you’re a “do it yourself kind of person,” then you are more than welcome to bring your own. However, please remember, this is a licensed facility and according to California ABC regulations, you may not bring your own alcoholic beverages with you, but not to worry; there is a decent selection of beers, wines and other beverages available for purchase.
Now, if you are planning to bring your own picnic supper, how about putting your best foot forward. This is an elegant, highly acclaimed, world class venue offering a menu of the world’s finest music performed by outstanding artists. They deserve better of you than a bag of chips and grocery store potato salad. Think elegant. Hey... it ain’t that hard, and it will greatly enhance your experience. You don’t cook. Hey! This is Sonoma County. You have some of the world’s finest foods available to you. A basket of some of our fine hand crafted cheeses, artisan bread, a bit of pate, some olives and sensuous fresh fruit... elegant, easy and I think even Tchaikovsky, Puccini and Brubeck would approve.
So... whether you dine in the elegance of Prelude Restaurant, pre-order a meal or a picnic for the dining terrace or bring your own elegant evening repast, come this summer and have yourself a Weill Time...