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Healdsburg Highlights - March 2015


Healdsburg Highlights - March 2015

by Gina Riner

Cultivating Community

In Healdsburg we cultivate the land and we cultivate the tourists. We are right smack in the middle of food and wine heaven with an overflow of national accolades that keep coming in: 20 Best Towns to Visit, America’s Most Romantic Small Towns, One of the 10 Best Towns in America. But we are also a small town that cultivates and invests in our community, especially our youth.Healdsburg Highlights: Eleven-year-old Jake Gordon, from West Side School, Healdsburg CA

Healdsburg Center for the Arts (HCA), ably guided by board president Diana Jameson and a host of dedicated volunteers, nurtures our community in many ways. The 4th Annual Young Artists Exhibition featuring art by students from Healdsburg Elementary School, Healdsburg Charter School, The Healdsburg School, Alexander Valley Elementary School, Fitch Mountain Elementary School, West Side School, Geyserville Elementary School, and the Healdsburg Center for the Arts Education Program is on display at HCA located at 130 Plaza St. HCA board member and West Side School principal Rhonda Bellmer works tirelessly on this annual young artist exhibit. If you’d like a dose of inspiration and understand the wisdom in giving our kids opportunities to explore their creativity, I urge you check out this exuberantly colorful and imaginative exhibit before it closes on March 15. Eleven-year-old Jake Gordon, from West Side School proudly commented at the opening exhibition “my artwork was inspired by Keith Haring,” who was an American artist and social activist. He politely told me “when you write about me would you make sure you spell my name correctly, say I’m from West Side School and in the fifth grade.” I see a bright future ahead of you, Jake Gordon!

Another program HCA is participating in is the Healdsburg High School Internship Program. Ivette Ramirez and Lizandro Mejia, art interns in their junior year, are mentoring with professional artists Phyllis Rapp and Joey Manfre. “I definitely learned more about the world of art as well as how each artist paints and works differently,” said Ramirez. The students aren’t the only ones benefiting from the internship program. “I volunteered to do this mentoring program because I love to teach and these high school students stimulate and challenge me to think differently,” exclaims Phyllis Rapp, an artist who focuses on mixed media and collage (

Healdsburg Jazz

On February 25th, ten restaurants in Healdsburg, including BACI Café & Wine Bar, participated in the annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival fundraiser, Jazz on the Menu, benefiting jazz music education programs in the local schools. The restaurants served special dishes to accompany the live jazz combo during dinner. At BACI, husband and wife owners Lisbeth Holmefjord and Shari Sarabi, worked fast and furious to feed the packed restaurant and ensure all their guests had a great time. “We are happy to say we raised $1850 from food and wine sales for the Jazz on the Menu fundraiser and will donate that to the music in the schools program,” said Holmefjord.  The Scott Decker Trio with guest vocalist Aleena Decker provided entertainment at the restaurant. When not pursuing their musical passions, Scott runs a Healdsburg-based computer tech company and Aleena works at the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce. The Jazz on the Menu “After-Party” was held at Costeaux French Bakery & Café with the Healdsburg High School Jazz Band and the Ricardo Peixoto Quintet performing. The bakery provided amazing desserts, too. Hats off to Costeaux owner Will Seppi for always participating in these community fundraisers.

What Young Healdsburg Locals Are Up To

Hometown local Maria Gerstley, who is attending U.C. Berkeley, was recently accepted into the Natural Reserve System’s prestigious new field studies program, California Ecology & Conservation. She was selected as one of only 27 students across the entire University of California campus system to participate. Instead of being in the classroom they will experience a cross section of California habitats ranging from rocky coast and freshwater marsh to oak savanna, conifer forest and desert. “I’ll gain valuable field research skills and learning techniques for studying plants, animals and ecological communities. Wahoo! Barefoot explorations and restoring education towards hands-on learning,” said Gerstley.

Colby Groom, who survived two open-heart surgeries as a young boy, is steadfastly working toward his one million dollar goal to support heart health. He spent his 17th birthday on Feb. 6 flying to Charlotte, NC so he could speak at the Charlotte American Heart Association Gala and present the organization with a $10,000 check. Through the sale of Colby Red wine, he’s raised almost $700,000 to support the work of heart nonprofits.

Lawrence Holmefjord-Sarabi, back from Singapore where he studied at a prestigious music school, will be performing Rachmaninoff 3 with the Healdsburg Philharmonia at the Raven Performing Arts Theater on May 30 & 31.