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Extraordinary local couple honored at Pops

Community raises $11,000 in honor of Frank and Lois Martinez for music education programs

From left to right: Barbara Martinez, Frank Martinez and Gil Stork at Pops by the Sea.

Two longtime San Luis Obispo Symphony (SLO Symphony) supporters were honored in an inspiring display of community support at Pops by the Sea on Labor Day Weekend.

Every year one lucky bidder has the opportunity to win the auction for the coveted Maestro’s Baton and to lead the orchestra in a rousing rendition of John Phillip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. Often a group gets together to honor a friend, co-worker or family member. All proceeds from the auction benefit the Symphony’s music education programs. This year, a dedicated group of friends and family conspired to raise $11,000 to win the baton auction in honor of Frank and Lois Martinez.

The Martinezes are renowned for their unwavering support of the arts and the local music community, and were instrumental in SLO Symphony’s early successes. Dr. Frank Martinez served as President of Cuesta College for 25 years and assisted in acquiring concert and rehearsal space for the Symphony in the early 1960’s when Dr. Earle Blakeslee was Music Director. He insisted that Cuesta College be the Symphony’s first real home – a welcoming place where the orchestra could practice, perform and prosper. After Lois Martinez passed away last year, members of the San Luis Obispo community felt compelled to honor them both and devised a plan to win the baton auction in the couple’s name.

“People wanted to do something special for Frank and Lois to thank them for all that they’ve done and to honor them for their support of the music community,” said Leslie McKinley, SLO Symphony’s Resource Development Director.

Barbara George, Cuesta College’s Interim Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, and Elaine Coats, the first classified employee ever hired at Cuesta College, along with Frank and Lois’s daughter Barbara Martinez, received the Martinez family’s blessing to recognize the couple in this surprising way. They began sending letters requesting donations to friends and family. Soon, support came pouring in from all over the country, as well as from the local community.

Just before intermission at the concert, a very surprised Frank Martinez was called on stage to conduct when Barbara George “won” the auction in his name. He was presented with his prize by longtime friend and Interim Cuesta College President Gil Stork and then led the orchestra in Stars and Stripes Forever.

“It was pretty obvious that he had no idea. I think he’s still in shock, still walking on a cloud,” said George, who was on the stage to help announce the honor.

This year’s Pops by the Sea theme was “Summer of Love.” A record crowd at the Avila Beach Golf Resort enjoyed tunes from the days of classic Rock ‘n Roll with special guest Grammy-award winner Louie Ortega.  The 20th Annual Labor Day weekend event was hosted by KSBY News Anchor Jeanette Trompeter.

More information and photos of this special event can be found at www.SLOSymphony.com.


September 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rabobank Helps to Bring Music Education to 16,000 County-wide Each Year

SLO Symphony thanks signature music education sponsor for longstanding support


 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA―Fully one third of the San Luis Obispo Symphony’s annual budget goes to support extensive Music Education Programs serving the county of San Luis Obispo. More than 16,000 children and adults take part in one or more of these programs, which are based on California State educational standards, every year. Rabobank has been a Symphony supporter for over a decade, sponsoring the popular “No Ties Allowed! Free Dress Rehearsals” at the Performing Arts Center. Rabobank’s generous $10,000 donation also earns them the title of “Signature Music Education Sponsor” for their support of the infrastructure that makes the Symphony’s Music Education programs possible.

Nine distinct programs comprise the Symphony’s music education continuum, including Everyday Etudes, Strings in the Schools, The Music Van, and a range of professional training and performance opportunities offered through the Symphony and Youth Symphony.

“When you consider the way schools are struggling, especially in the current economy, these programs become critically important,” said Symphony Music Education Director, Andrea Stoner. “Rabobank’s continuing generosity helps us to fill that ever-increasing need.”

Perhaps most recognized for their support of the Symphony’s immensely popular pre-concert dress rehearsals, Rabobank has sponsored the “No Ties Allowed! FREE Dress Rehearsals” since 1997. Last year, more than 4,000 people stood in line outside the PAC to attend these casual and entertaining afternoons of music.

“Rabobank is proud of our long term affiliation with the San Luis Obispo Symphony.  We are one of their many community partners and enjoy sponsoring the No Ties Allowed! Free Dress Rehearsals” said Steve Harding, Regional President of Rabobank, N.A.  “Rabobank supports the SLO Symphony and other nonprofit organizations that make a sustainable difference in the community.”

The first No Ties Allowed! FREE Dress Rehearsal of the 2011-2012 Season will take place on Saturday, October 8th at 1 pm at the Christopher Cohan Center. All are welcome to attend absolutely free of charge.

For more information about the San Luis Obispo Symphony, the upcoming concert season, their music education programs, and “No Ties Allowed!” please call (805) 543-3533 or go to www.slosymphony.com.

September 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Talley Vineyards celebrates landmark anniversary

Three generations of Talleys toast 25 years of viticulture success

ARROYO GRANDE, CA – Talley Vineyards celebrates 25 years of passion, persistence and, of course, wine. Oliver Talley started Talley Farms in 1948, exclusively growing vegetables. He made a commitment to excellence that would be carried out through generations. Oliver’s son, Don, had planted the first Talley vines in 1982, with a vision of growing the best grapes California has to offer.

“I have to hand it to my Dad’s persistence,” said Brian Talley, president of Talley Vineyards and son of Don and Rosemary Talley. “I think he knew that we could grow some of the best grapes in California —he just wasn’t sure which varieties. Over time, with careful experimentation, he learned that the cool, coastal influence of the Arroyo Grande Valley could produce world-class chardonnay and pinot noir. So that became our focus.”

Don and Rosemary Talley established Talley Vineyards in 1986. Now, 25 years later, the Talleys have been recognized locally, nationally and internationally. Talley Vineyards was the first Arroyo Grande Valley winery to be featured in the New York Times, and the wines were served in the White House during the Clinton and Bush Administrations. In 2002-2003, Talley Vineyards Estate Chardonnay was recognized in Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Wines of the Year.”

“The first time we were featured in Wine Spectator, it really felt like we had arrived,” Brian Talley said. “[This publication] really enjoys very tremendous influence in the wine trade and it made me and my parents proud, and it really reflected 15 years of hard work that paid off.”

Most recently, the Talley tasting room was judged by Sunset Magazine as one of the best three tasting rooms in the Western United States.

But the Talleys’ national and international acclaim has never pulled them away from the local community. In 1993, they established the Marianne Talley Foundation to provide scholarships for Arroyo Grande High School graduates. To date, the foundation has granted more than $160,000 in scholarships.

Then in 2005, Brian Talley and his wife Johnine established the Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers, providing grants to organizations that assist agricultural workers throughout San Luis Obispo County. One of the major fundraising efforts for this fund is the annual release of Mano Tinta wines. Mano Tinta (Spanish for “red hand”) was chosen to signify the pride and commitment of farm workers. All of the grapes, materials and services used to make Mano Tinta wines are donated, and 100 percent of the sales benefit the Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers. To date, the fund has raised close to $450,000.

“I’m really proud of our reputation in the industry and I’m proud of our team,” said Talley. “I love my job, I work in what I think is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I’m very honored to work every day with such a talented group of people.”

The Talleys have been celebrating this landmark anniversary throughout the year and will host two special events at the winery this fall.  On October 13, Talley Vineyards will release the 2008 Mano Tinta.  All wine tasting will be complimentary that day and feature a selection of wines from its 25-year history.

In addition, the Talleys invite former employees to attend and reconnect. The winery’s annual open house will occur November 6, in conjunction with the San Luis Obispo Vintners Harvest Celebration weekend, and focus on the 25th anniversary theme. A short video was produced about the anniversary, and is available to watch on YouTube.

About Talley Vineyards
The Talley Family produces wines under three labels: Talley Vineyards, Bishop’s Peak, and Mano Tinta. The Talley Vineyards brand is devoted exclusively to estate grown chardonnay and pinot noir ideally suited to the climate and soils of the family’s vineyards in the Arroyo Grande and Edna Valleys. All Talley Vineyards, Bishop’s Peak and Mano Tinta wines are handcrafted at the Talley Vineyards winery to reflect three generations of family farming history on California’s Central Coast. The winery and tasting room is located at 3031 Lopez Drive Arroyo Grande, CA 93420. For more information please contact Brian Talley at (805) 489-0446 or visit www.talleyvineyards.com.

September 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Action Hero: San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum

September 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment