The Atrocity That Has Just Happened

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By Julie Horner

I allow myself one rant over the atrocity that has just happened. Enough of our countrymen bought the lies and falsehoods hook, line, and sinker to close the deal. It was maddening to watch, unfathomable to comprehend. We were force-fed a horrifying circus of the outlandish and the improbable. It was a joke from the start that someone so crude and loathsome, with no qualifications, who has never held public office, should somehow rise above all others to hold this nation’s highest office. The joke is squarely on us.

I will not be able to listen to that voice. I am sick to my very fiber. I am despondent. I am furious beyond any words.

For the moment I don’t know how to engage. I am in complete shock that our country would allow itself to be duped like this. It’s not so much about Republican and Democrat. It’s not about Hillary vs. Bernie. It’s about choosing someone with smarts and couth, who has the temperament, strength of diplomacy, and compassion to guide discourse. This is no “movement.” This is recoiling for the next four years, pulling in to take care of each other on the ground level until this unspeakable circumstance has passed. This is joining hands and hearts and taking all action necessary to fight for and protect the forward progress we have made as a nation.

I am appalled. It appears that we are now and probably always have been the nation of Trump. We, the ungovernable, live our lives behind a thin veil of civility and forced calm. Trump is laughing and gloating and licking his fingers, bloated and foul-mouthed, the star of a nightmarish reality show soon to be broadcasting from the White House. And he will be representing us on the global stage. We are he. This is America. I, too, am emboldened… to speak out and take action against hate and bullying of any kind.

Trump Voters Will Not Like What Happens Next

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A Capella to End All Wars ~ The Gold Standard Barbershop Chorus of Santa Cruz

By Julie Horner

Late night at Jeffrey’s in Santa Cruz who would expect the eight-or-so diners at the back table to rise up singing in perfect four-part harmony? In a fanfare of gratitude, a gesture of thanks for good food and good company, they stood drawn close around the table and sang their version of the familiar Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

The Gold Standard Chorus of Santa Cruz is the local chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the umbrella organization for the proliferation and preservation of barbershop singing in America. Known for doing things a bit differently, the Santa Cruz group features voices in “mixed harmony” (both men and women singers), a rarity in the barbershop world. All-female barbershop quartets are called, Sweet Adelines, and barbershop singers of all genders refer to themselves as “barbershoppers.” Innately good natured, welcoming, and bubbling with wisecracks and whacky anecdotes, barbershoppers are as much a family to each other – their art a way of life – as bluegrassers and Irish tune-heads, participating in workshops, festivals, competitions, and camp-outs anywhere the fun might be.

Barbershop is a style of singing characterized by simultaneous four-part harmony (tenor, lead, baritone, and bass), sung a cappella with utmost clarity. According to Music Director, Jordon Johnson, because the notes must be sung with an ear to perfection, “There’s nowhere to hide.” He calls it, “the advanced martial arts of the a cappella world” and stresses that it all depends on which side of the pitch you naturally sing on and how are you breathing. Creating harmony is an art form. Singers must always be listening carefully to one another to keep the sound as pure as possible, to achieve that “lock and ring.” He says with the world’s top quartets, “the precision is insane.”

Organized in October, 1989, the Santa Cruz chapter is active all over the county with regular appearances along the route of the Wharf-to-Wharf race, their annual Cabaret 1st Saturday in June at Felton Hall, Scotts Valley’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, and caroling at Boulder Creek’s holiday festivities. Their youngest member is 14 nd their oldest is 92. “We love helping ensure that young people get exposed to music and singing in our schools,” so membership dues go towards funding scholarships for local high school music students, helping local school music departments pay for sheet music, hire accompanists, and organize field trips, among other things.

The chorus also presents a popular fall show. Since 2013, “Our fall shows are themed productions held in November each year. This year we’re proud to present an evening of Irish songs, including some exciting new music.” Director Johnson says, “We’ll be singing The Parting Glass, Molly Malone, Wild Irish Rose, and other favorites as well as pieces you may never have heard. We’re even singing a song from The Pogues!” There will be humor, and some special surprise guests like Boulder Creek Irish group, The Crooked Road Céilí Band, joining the magic at the evening show. At the end of the night, everyone is invited to join in singing.

The fall show, Songs of Ireland, is on November 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm at the Mid-County Senior Center 829 Bay Avenue, Capitola, CA 95010! Tickets for the 2:00 matinee are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. The 7:00 show with The Crooked Road Céilí Band is $18 at the door.

Tickets and more information: www.scbarbershop.org/

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/GSCSantaCruz/

The Gold Standard Chorus welcomes visitors to their rehearsals to listen or to sing. They meet every Wednesday from 7:00 – 9:30 pm at Georgina Bruce Kirby Preparatory School, 425 Encinal Street, Santa Cruz. Call or email Bob Folker for more information: bobfolker@gmail.com | (831) 297-3246 Associate Music Director, Dale Summer, calls barbershop singing an athletic endeavor. “Singing is good for you mentally, emotionally, physically – and singing in harmony with other people is amazingly good for you. It exposes participants, especially young people, to spatial reasoning, and you learn how to breathe and stand better, stay in motion, not be static.”

“Almost all barbershoppers will tell you, they never stop…they’ll be doing this ‘till the day they die.” Director Johnson is sure that “barbershop would stop the wars.”

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The Gold Standard Barbershop Chorus of Santa Cruz in concert with The Crooked Road Ceili Band Saturday, November 5 2016 at 7:00 pm.

This article was originally published by Julie Horner in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, Boulder Creek, CA. http://mountainbulletin.com/category/blog/

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/SantaCruzMountainBulletin/

Flow Boulder Creek – Yoga and Wellness Collaborative

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By Julie Horner

Westering sunlight filters through diaphanous drapery, warming the newly re-finished floorboards to a honeyed hue. The expanse is immediately welcoming and calm, the subtle, provocative scents of a well-loved old building mingling with hints of lavender and spice. Meditative ethnic devotional music instantly melts the day’s cares.

Positive energy seems to have settled upon the south end of downtown Boulder Creek, now with the grand opening, September 10, of Flow Boulder Creek Yoga and Wellness Collective in the sunny yellow building between the former Boulder Creek Brewery building and Ace Hardware.

April Winona Levine and Adam Tracy Mendoza opened the space as a wellness collaborative offering yoga, meditation, and massage. Adam says. “We provide a place for artists, teachers, and practitioners to gather.”

Yoga is the first component. They’ve started by offering 3 to 4 classes a day, Monday through Sunday, with local teachers and new teachers from Santa Cruz teaching all levels. Adam says the backstory is really kind of remarkable. “April finished her yoga training – an amazing journey – now what do you do?”

You open your own yoga studio.

“Our grand opening day was nothing short of magical,” April says. She calls yoga a labor of love, and her journey through yoga inspires Adam. “We have a lot of great plans. We want to bring in other components, a juice bar, a vegan snack shop and other ideas to support wellbeing.” Cacao, superfoods, easy recipes you can make from home. “I would love to have some community synergy with New Leaf. We’d like to have a café here.”

The main area is a yoga floor that accommodates up to 20 people for classes. They are interviewing massage therapists now.

Adam says, “Practitioners can come and have the space. Our success will depend on our partners. Without getting too globally out there, we need to start healing, start small. It starts at the community level and branches out. We’re charged by that. Whether it’s one person or a group of people, singers, musicians, having a sense of space is so important…that’s the tool we’re offering.”

“We want to grow to be a viable resource for wellness in SLV.” They see youth mentoring, peer counseling, healing and learning going hand in hand. They plan to have after school activities for the little kids and welcome SLVHS and UCSC students. “Growing spiritually, it’s a learned activity, it’s not a get well quick thing, it’s tools to help people on the path.”

They also offer an open mic series on Fridays in addition to Saturday night acoustic music in the garden. Saturday nights are already booked through early October with local acoustic artists.

Flow Boulder Creek is open every day of the week for a variety of classes including many styles of yoga and meditation. Reiki sessions are available Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

Adam says, “We offer a variety of classes to suit all your wellness interests. It’s an open door and an open invitation. We offer rejuvenation, healing, and most yoga offerings will be for all levels, focusing on centering and grounding.”

“And it’s a cool hang, too. Being amongst people who are just alive. This is a great place for Flow. This is our tribe. We’re going to have an amazing time.”

Flow Boulder Creek

13026 Highway 9

(831) 703-4727

On the Web: flowbouldercreek.com

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/flowbouldercreek/

Originally published in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin: http://mountainbulletin.com/article/flow-boulder-creek-yoga-and-wellness-collaborative/

Also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SantaCruzMountainBulletin/

Julie Horner is a writer and Irish style musician who lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Contact The Crooked Road Ceili Band for lively Irish music for any occasion.

Farewell to Sacred Soil – Hunter Hill Vineyard and Winery

By Julie Horner

It was an hour before sunrise and absolutely still outside. Not a breath of wind, not a sound. So quiet even the dog was spooked. Then a lone killdeer started its plaintive cry. Last year most of the lakes in Montana still had ice on them in April and the snow hung around well into the month. According to the local groundhog, Montana Murray, spring is coming early this year.

Vann Slatter and Christine Carter Slatter, winemakers at Hunter Hill Vineyard and Winery, are selling the family estate and moving to Montana soon. Or at least that’s the plan. “We are selling everything, hopefully: Home, winery, vineyard and all the equipment for farming and winemaking. We are hoping for the best and a new adventure!”

In the meantime, they have their cabin in Gustine, CA where they spend winters duck hunting, and they plan to go back and forth to Soquel until they sell.

“When we first started the winery we didn’t have a business plan.” They thought, “We’re just growing grapes, making a little wine,” Christine said.

Located in the Santa Cruz mountains northeast of Soquel, Christine and Vann first started growing grapes on the family’s fruit ranch in 1990. Soon the self-taught winemakers were winning awards. “Little by little we’ve put in grapes where the apple farm was…it was supposed to be a hobby. My husband – I call him a visionary – said we were going to grow a few grapes and sell a little wine here and there…”

Now known best for their Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, Hunter Hill Winery makes rich red wines grown on lands formerly thick with redwood forest. “Clay, loam, redwood…wine is a product of the soil,” Christine told me.

Christine’s grandparents bought the acreage in 1906 for a $50 gold piece. The property was logged of its redwood trees, the stumps dynamited away, and the original house, still family occupied, was one of the first built on Glen Haven Road. Her grandfather would haul the harvest by horse and wagon to sell as far away as Boulder Creek. Married just a few years, Vann and Christine took over the property from Christine’s mother in 1968.

Vann grew up in Capitola, “a beach boy,” Christine says, and graduated from Soquel High. He served his country as a Navy Seal, completing three tours of duty. He started Slatter Construction in 1984. In that kind of business, she says, “You become involved in the community.”

Christine grew up in Pasatiempo and considers herself more of a “hill person.” “I’ve always loved the mountains, there are so many fun places you can go to: Forest Pool, the Trout Farm, Pasatiempo Pool, Hollins House…”

“Mountain folk usually stay to themselves. The winery has brought the neighborhood together.”

She tries to be at the tasting room every weekend when they open in spring, greeting everyone she can at the door with a hug. She likes to keep things small, preferring intimate pourings for wine club members and locals who stop in for a sip and a sit in the sun by the pond. The grounds teem serenely with life on a relaxing summer day – dogs, kids, a babbling water feature flitting with wild birds, and occasional live acoustic music.

Long a member of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, Hunter Hill has poured at area festivals such as The Scotts Valley Art Wine and Beer Festival, Boulder Creek’s Santa Cruz Mountain Art and Wine Festival, and Capitola Art and Wine Festival, to name a few. For many groups, including Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit’s Gourmet Grazing on the Green in Aptos; Valley Churches United Missions, Tasting Under the Redwoods; and Congregational Church of Soquel, Taste of Soquel, Hunter Hill has graciously donated their wine. “This is still one of the most important things that makes money for all these people – wine is the big sell, it’s all local”

Locally you’ll find Hunter Hill wines at Boulder Creek Pizza and Pub and Redwood Keg Liquor and Deli, and other shops around the valley.

As they prepare for the eventual sale of the land and winery and for leaving the rural California coastal mountain lifestyle they’ve known all their lives, Christine said her favorite moments have been those spent with visitors and friends “sharing this piece of property that we feel is fairly sacred – it’s family property.” And there is the resounding satisfaction of knowing that they’ve done something wonderful with the land.

Hunter Hill Vineyard and Winery
7099 Glen Haven Road, Soquel, CA 95073
(831) 465-9294

On the Web: http://www.hunterhillwines.com/

Julie Horner is an Irish folk musician and writer living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. Email: leap2three@gmail.com

Curating the Sustainable Aesthetic ~ Foundre

By Julie Horner

Low light spills warmly through watery storefront windows at the quiet and otherwise dark south end of town next to the empty hull of the once buzzing Boulder Creek Brewery. A minimalist frieze of objects, iron, wood, fabric and paper, are melded symmetrically in tandem displays – artifacts dancing on the imagination, suspended in their

cases, as if on stage. The word “Foundre,” burned with blue fire onto a sheet of rusted metal, hangs under the eaves welcoming visitors to duck through the open double doors and over the well-worn stoop.

Boot heels resonate upon the 100-year old wood planks stained dark with use and age, the boards undulating and creaking here and there as the floors of storied old buildings do. The ceiling soars high above giving the space an immediate openness that invites visitors to move among compelling displays, islands of hand-curated wares carefully placed just where the eye lands and the heart seeks to go. Curiosities large and small, from homespun tableware to African made jewelry and utensils; pillows, serving vessels, found objects and the rustic, reclaimed, and re-purposed…most pieces chosen to support worthy global causes or to celebrate the exceptional talent of amazing friends.

By day, the cheery chiffon yellow Victorian, which was home to The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union dating from 1892, is a Santa Cruz County historical landmark and is arguably one of the most handsome buildings downtown. It stands miraculously unscathed after the Brewery fire in March of 2015, an evening that Foundre proprietor, curator and designer, Stephanie Hauck, still cannot bring herself to talk about fully: “There was no smoke in this building. I don’t know how it has survived…earthquakes, fires…” The building remains, enduring and elegant, nestled between one of Boulder Creek’s charming garden alleyways and the busy Scarborough lumberyard.

Stephanie describes how she captures the aesthetic for Foundre, “I buy things that I love…I enjoy small artisan goods,” especially if there’s a cause she can get behind. She carries Sasa Designs for the Deaf, for instance, which offers empowering opportunities for disadvantaged African jewelry artists. She also invites artist friends to display their work on her walls. “I am lucky to be gifted with a 6th sense for finding talented people,” including Santa Cruz iron sculpture artist, Payson Foster McNett, who was featured at Foundre’s recent “Found Friday” community art walk and whose installations are still on display at Foundre through the month of December. She has plans to feature a different artist every month.

A sweeping theater-sized curtain separates cozy, well-appointed living quarters at the back of the building from mercantile space at the front, suggesting a place for stagecraft where the honesty of artistic expression is confessed. “I live here, this is my home…the shop is an extension of my personal aesthetic.” And it continues to evolve. “Creativity fills my soul. I’ve never spent a day without being inspired.”

Impressed by Sarah and James Mackessy’s lille aeske studio, and Scott Graham and Cristy Aloysi’s Viscosity Glass, both located midtown, she also draws inspiration from Jorah and Andi’s rusty Americana meets back-to-the-earth at Mountain Feed in Ben Lomond. “Mountain Feed is one of my favorite places on the planet. They’re one of the reasons why I thought I could make a go of it.” These stores opened “with a vibrance and change…we’re all new to here and we’ve migrated toward each other in a very organic way.” These spaces lend themselves to art and music. “The town is hungry for that,” she says. “We care about making a great community.”

Even with the loss of the Brewery, Stephanie is hopeful. “I just want it to be positive. I want to stay and have it work.” There is a synchronistic nature to what’s happening now. “It’s the right direction for the town.”

Stephanie also takes on a variety of creative projects including professional wedding planning, special events, gifting (corporate or personal), and holiday decorating. She simply delights in exploring new opportunities, including re-designing Boulder Creek’s Goble Coffee Roasting Company’s image: They are now “Coffeeville.” She carries the locally roasted whole bean coffee among the finery on her shelves. “They are my friends, I want them to be successful, sustainable.”

Foundre is a truly eclectic collective of the delicious and the divine, the name itself reflecting something found and something created, as molten metal might be cast into a new form, repurposed to a better use. Indeed, the concept mirrors a vision of transformation: To build upon the best a small town has to offer, changing the business model to attract visitors, the curious and the passionate, to invest in the energy that is already happening.

Chat about tapping in to Boulder Creek’s potential, reach out, and ask questions any time: stephanie@thefoundre.com

Foundre is located at 13026 Highway 9, Boulder Creek CA 95006

Open Wednesdays through Saturdays, and by appointment
info@thefoundre.com
831 703 4692

On the Web: www.thefoundre.com

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/thefoundre

Julie Horner is an Irish folk musician and writer living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. Email: leap2three@gmail.com On the Web: santacruzmountainslocal.com

The Crooked Road Céilí Band ~ A Presidential Performance at Filoli House

By Julie Horner

In bold late October sunshine, Filoli House stood magnificent and sprawling, its lush gardens, vines, and hedges sweeping like wings verdant and moist against the dry, tawny expanse of rolling California oak lands. Catering staff was adding finishing touches to the tables stationed throughout the grounds – local wine, lustrous crystal and silver on small tables draped with white linen under fragrant boughs.

The Crooked Road Céilí Band had been invited to play traditional melodies in the courtyard at the storied mansion’s front entry – hammered dulcimer, fiddle, and guitar to welcome guests as they arrived for a gala garden party as if from a page out of Alice in Wonderland.

The motorcade pulled abruptly to the graveled walk promptly at 3:15. Irish President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina, escorted by an entourage of secret service and local insiders, were ushered past, smiles and polite nods, into the reception in full swing. What an honor to share this glorious day of music and cheer with the Bay Area Irish community – a rare, celebrated instance of international import.

Based in the Santa Cruz Mountains, The Crooked Road Céilí Band is anchored by Julie Horner and David Chadwick. David and I met at the Sunday traditional Irish seisiún at O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub in San Jose a dozen years ago and have hosted the Tuesday night seisiún there ever since. I cut my teeth on Celtic music at John Taylor’s iconic King’s Head Pub seisiún in Campbell back in the day and performed for many a Highland Games in the 1990s with the now defunct group, Celtic Blacklyst. David rode his bicycle across Ireland with a mandolin strapped to his back, spending years woodshedding the music on fiddle back at home.

The Crooked Road Céilí Band features a high-ranking roster of professional musicians to round out the trio, and sometimes a quartet, to provide lively acoustic music for a wide variety of events including weddings, dances, and public and private occasions of all kinds. We share our love of traditional music prolifically, keeping a calendar bursting with musical endeavorings.

We discovered our regular third member, guitarist and singer-songwriter, Ken Bewick, at the seisiún at the Poet & Patriot Irish Pub in Santa Cruz. Ken puts the groove to our traditional tunes, taking the energy to new levels. Adding another layer of interest, we often ask local bluegrass legend, Mark McCornack to join us on 5-string banjo, which gives our sound a down-home Americana feel. And when we’re fortunate, bodhrán player, Russ Bennett is available when an event calls for the drive of the traditional frame drum.

Together in many forms, The Crooked Road Céilí Band has been invited to play on stage at Ardenwood’s annual Tartan Day celebration; the highly regarded international music festival, Church Street Fair in Santa Cruz; the Big Trees Scottish Festival and Highland Games at Roaring Camp; and for the South Bay Scottish Society Robert Burns supper – eight years running if you include the years we were playing as Cooking with Turf!

Doug Lowder (fiddle) and Jack Gilder (concertina, flute) make up The Crooked Road quartet. We met at the famed Plough & Stars Irish seisiún in San Francisco, and Jack, David, and I are regulars at Lark in the Morning annual music and dance camp in Mendocino. The Crooked Road plays once a month for Irish set dancing at the Plough and we host the enormously popular twice-a-year Irish céilí at the Felton Trout Farm Inn.

The Crooked Road Céilí Band is also in demand to play traditional dance music for Scottish céilídhs, joining forces with callers Linda Henderson and Juliet Davoren for numerous private parties throughout the year.

One of our favorite specialties is providing music for weddings. We’ve traveled as far as Mammoth Lakes and Lake Tahoe to help families celebrate very special moments, performing in cathedrals of stone and cathedrals of redwood forest alike. The hammered dulcimer is much sought after for adding an evocative magic to traditional pieces like Amazing Grace and Pachelbel’s Cannon in addition to melodies from the Irish and Scottish tradition.

The Crooked Road Céilí Band plays for the sheer joy of making music and being able to share our enthusiasm with our community, aiming to put a jig in your step and a song in your heart! Join us at O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub every Tuesday in downtown San Jose, and we’ll see you at the SBSS Robert Burns Supper on Saturday, January 16, 2016!

On the web: www.leap2three.com

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/CrookedRoadCeiliBand/

Phone: 831-325-1974

Email: leap2three@gmail.com

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