By Tom Blake
Last month, I was pleased to receive an invitation to a musical soiree at the Dana Point Yacht Club, hosted by former Dana Point Mayor Scott Schoeffel and his partner of 19 years, Julie Simer.
The event took place on March 31.
My beloved Greta and I had attended several of Scott and Julie’s annual soirees in the backyard of their Dana Point home. They always had incredible musicians playing.
Scott, an accomplished violinist taught by Jack Benny’s personal violin instructor, has hosted soirees for 26 years. His passion is to assemble talented 5- to 7-piece bands to perform soirees.
Scott and Pat Shoemaker are Staff Commodores of the Dana Point Yacht Club. Most of the attendees were members of the club.
I felt a bit awkward attending without Greta, but Scott and Julie greeted me warmly, knowing I would be a little out of sorts. They made me feel right at home. Seven musicians were warming up on a stage located in a dining room area at the yacht club.
A spectacular pink sunset appeared over the Dana Point Bluffs that enhanced the atmosphere of the evening. A group of stand-up paddleboarders was on the water.
There were approximately 50 tables for guests. Atop each table were printed brochures that read Kenny Lee Lewis & Frenz, which was the name of the band playing that night, in three sets.
The brochure listed 34 songs that would be performed and the corresponding name of the performers that made the songs classics in the 1960s-1970s.
From a cursory glance at the brochure, it was apparent that yacht club guests were in for a big treat. A few of the listed songs included:
“Landslide/Gypsy” and “You Make Loving Fun,” Fleetwood Mac
“Old Man,” Neil Young
“Fly Like an Eagle,” Steve Miller Band
“Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “All My Loving,” The Beatles
“House of the Rising Sun,” The Animals
“Riders on the Storm,” The Doors
“Nights in White Satin,” Moody Blues
“White Rabbit,” Jefferson Airplane.
Scott started the soiree off as he always does with a heart-warming rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on his electric violin. Of course, everyone was standing for that.
The musicians appeared to be in their 50s and 60s, except for the lead singer, who was closer to 40. Kenny Lee Lewis headed the group of performers. He has been performing as a bassist, guitarist, background vocalist, producer and co-writer with the Steve Miller Band for more than 40 years.
I’m an oldies fan. I loved the night. I even got up and danced with a group, something I hadn’t done in a few years. One of the dancers was a woman who introduced herself as “Lady Hummingbird.” She, indeed, was buzzing around the dance floor, as active as a hummingbird.
Most of the guests were in their 50s or older, but man, oh, man, can they ever cut the rug.
The lead singer, Rachel Santa Cruz, whose father, Bobby Santa Cruz, played bass, is very talented. She performed songs made popular by Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks and Grace Slick, among others.
The band played for three hours, with three short breaks. I couldn’t imagine how their fingers and vocal cords must have felt, having played so intensely for so long. This was the most enjoyable concert I’ve ever attended, and it was right on the island in Dana Point.
Scott is also the founder and president of the Dana Point Symphony Orchestra. How fortunate we are that the arts are being promoted in South Orange County by Scott and others.
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: email@example.com.