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Anthony Small

By Anthony Small

As I’m sure you know by now, the 51st annual Dana Point Festival of Whales is next weekend, Saturday, March 5, and Sunday, March 6.

Alongside iconic events including the parade, whale watching, and the Clam Chowder Cookoff, there will also be Ocean Institute activities, and car and art shows, including the Wyland Foundation Kids’ Community Mural Project.

Also, and this ROCKS, there will be music everywhere!

Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. on the floating stage at Baby Beach, the Concert on the Water and BBQ will have music by Drea Sheva, Neon Nation and Who’s Zeppelin.

The Harbor Music Series will include performances by the outstanding young musicians from COA Entertainment (Community Outreach Alliance) at the Dana Wharf Courtyard and Clock Tower Plaza on both Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m.

COA performers include Sage Escalante, Sage Thankachen, Corey Angeli, Megan Malerie, Avery Brostrom, Ava Domini, Noah Novick, Grace & London Meredith and Prestyn Smith.

For more info on COA and its “You’re Worth It” music and mental health event on March 12at the Baha’i Center in San Clemente, visit

Veteran performers Mike O’Bryan and Keith Comer will also have acoustic sets on both Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m., at the Art in the Park (Island Way and DP Harbor Drive), the DHHS Young Artists Show & Sale (Harbor Walkway near Island Way) and near The Coffee Importers.

I’m delighted to announce that I’ll also be playing an acoustic show as part of the Harbor Music Series on Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m., near The Coffee Importers. It is an honor to participate in the festival, especially since this year it’s dedicated to local legend, original harbor tenant and Festival of Whales founder Don Hansen (1934-2022).

Joining me will be Matt Samia of Mojave Ghost, who is also producing my new album, Something to Say. Be sure to follow the Festival and follow me on Instagram @festivalofwhales and @anthonysmallmusic, respectively.

On another note, every Friday from 6-9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Carlos Mexican Restaurant and Cantina on PCH, Randall Winvick (the late Carlos’ grandson) and his band play modern jazz.

Randall (guitar) and his group, which includes Andy Francis (tenor saxophone) and Terran Artis (drums), are fantastic. The restaurant is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, and I know that Carlos, who immigrated from Peru in his 20s and later encouraged Randall in music and all his endeavors, would be so proud.

“Jazz history gave me a perspective on art, and art is important because it’s been a method, just like food, to join people together in community,” Winvick shared. “Without that, you risk isolation, which is a huge problem today.”

“When you strengthen the emphasis on art in our culture, it solves a lot of social problems,” he continued. “Through developing that connection with jazz, I wanted to share that with others, so they, too, can hear what I hear in it. I hope that we make that possible at Carlos’!”

More info can be found at or by following him on Instagram @randall_winvick.

Music Preserves’ American Music History program is at R.H. Dana Elementary, where fifth-grade students have already learned about the birth of the blues and early jazz.

Activities included writing their own blues song and understanding the significance of the call and response, field hollers and spirituals.

For their jazz module’s activity, students participated in their own exuberant Second Line parade, complete with umbrellas and backstories of the musical and cultural melting pot in New Orleans that became jazz. Follow Music Preserve @musicpreserves.

This Sunday, Feb. 27, Pacific Symphony presents Langston Hughes’ Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz. The performance features the Ron McCurdy Quartet and a 55-piece orchestra in an exceptional program that is Hughes’ homage to the struggle for artistic and social freedom in the early 1960s.

Find out more information at

Ohana Festival founder and curator Eddie Vedder has a new solo album, Earthling, and this tour hits SoCal on Friday, Feb. 25, at YouTube Theatre in Los Angeles and Sunday, Feb. 27, at The Magnolia in San Diego. More info can be found at

And local artist Sidney Bowen has just released a new song, “What Your Mom Says,” and her previous single, “That’s Just What People Who Aren’t Lonely Say,” has more than 700,000 views on YouTube! Follow her on Instagram @sidneybowen_

Anthony Small is Executive Director and co-founder of Music Preserves Foundation, a local musician and former City of Dana Point Arts and Culture Commissioner. Small and his family have lived in Dana Point for 24 years.

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