Santa Maria Sun / Music
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 24
Meet the mastersThe La Purisima Mission hosts a benefit concert featuring the virtuosic stylings of Calmenco!
BY JOE PAYNE
Very few people truly deserve the title of virtuoso—one who has mastered, and shows an almost superhuman ability with, their instrument. Even fewer people find like-minded instrumentalists with whom to share their genius ideas. The Central Coast is lucky enough to have Calmenco!, a quartet of virtuosi that celebrates the unbridled beauty of the guitar.
The La Purisima Mission is hosting the benefit concert “Masters of Guitar,” featuring a live acoustic set by Calmenco! The event is set for Aug. 25 at 1 p.m. and will benefit the mission as well as the Equine Alliance Youth Foundation.
Calmenco! is comprised of three guitarists, Tony Harmon, Ray Pannell, and Nathan Towne, and percussionist Johnny Sandoval, all of whom enjoy reputations that precede them.
Tony Harmon was born in Riverside. He has studied at several universities in California and spent some time abroad in England. He has performed numerous times on television, at the White House, and has earned several awards and accolades for his composing and performing. The La Purisima Mission will be a nostalgic venue for Harmon because his first album Tony Harmon …on the guitar was actually recorded at the historic mission.
Ray Pannell is a true guitar veteran. Having performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Arsenio Hall Show, and The Johnny Carson Show, he is no stranger to live performance in any genre. In fact, he played guitar for the soundtrack of Rocky III, played in the Mary Wilson Band (Mary Wilson of The Supremes), and has also played at the White House. Completely comfortable in any genre and on any kind of guitar, Pannell met Harmon in the ’80s and the two have been jamming ever since.
Johnny Sandoval is the percussionist for Calmenco!, which is a fancy way of saying he keeps the beat. Well-versed in many types of percussion instruments, Sandoval has collaborated with Oneway, Joe Bataan, Heatwave, Sister Sledge, and Kid Rock. He has been playing with Harmon and Pannell since the conception of Calmenco! and beyond.
Nathan Towne is the most recent addition to Calmenco! A local, he grew up in Orcutt and quickly gained a reputation as a young guitar prodigy. Now a full-fledged adult, Towne, 22, fully lives up to the title of virtuoso. Towne worked at the now-closed Santa Maria branch of Jensen’s Guitar, where Harmon and Pannell would meet to rehearse, Santa Maria being a good halfway point between their respective Paso Robles and Santa Barbara homes. It wasn’t long before the two seasoned musicians took notice of the talent sitting behind the counter. After an informal audition, Towne became a member of Calmenco!, and has performed several concerts with the group, including the January concert “An Evening of Guitar” at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts.
“We do everything from standards [and] classical, to old time jazz; some rock, heavy solo kind of stuff,” Towne said. “We are putting guitar up on a silver platter.”
The guitarists usually play any kind of guitar from classical style, steel string, or electric, but the upcoming show is reserved solely for acoustic instruments with no amplification.
“The cool thing about this concert is that it’s going to be fully acoustic,” Towne said. “In a church, the sound is meant to travel that way. The guitars that we’ll be playing are very expensive and they’re basically as loud as a piano, especially in that room.”
The historic La Purisima sanctuary is a perfect echo chamber for acoustic sound. The reverberation from the guitars is sure to fill
“It’s a good venue for us because we play secular music but bring it to a spiritual realm,” Towne said. “It’s not like a rock concert with people screaming. People really come to listen.”
The concert is a benefit for the upkeep of the La Purisima Mission as well as funds for the Equine Alliance Youth Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides free therapy to underserved youth in SLO and Santa Barbara counties in the form of equine-based learning therapies. The organization also allows youth to help rescue and rehabilitate horses.
The Santa Maria Philharmonic Society presents its “Rendezvous House Concert Series,” presented quarterly, the first concert featuring The Burnished Brass Quartet on Aug. 26 at 3 p.m., Bartleson’s Ranch, 2080 Los Berros Road, Nipomo. Cost is $50, reservations required. More info: 928-0412.
Live, local music
The 510 Event Center presents a live blues jam featuring local musicians led by Juan Marquez and Sangria Wednesdays from 7 to 10 p.m. DJ Orlando entertains Thursday nights starting at 10 p.m. (dress code enforced). DJ Orlando also spins for “Margarita Night” every Monday from 9 p.m. to midnight. Saturdays feature an open mic from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday nights are Latin night featuring live norteño and banda music. Call for times. The 510 Event Center is located at 510 South Broadway, Santa Maria. More info: 928-5510, email@example.com, facebook.com/510eventcenter, or 510eventcenter.com.
Live at the Inn
The Santa Maria Inn presents “A New Twist on an Old Favorite” in the Tap Room featuring performances by The Carlos Rodriguez Combo on Fridays, Blue Latitude performs the first Saturday of each month, the Sammy Labastida Jazz Band performs the second Saturday of each month, Louie Ortega performs the third Saturday of each month, and Lawless and Dean perform the fourth Saturday of each month. The shows take place in the Tap Room, Santa Maria Inn, 801 S. Broadway, Santa Maria. More info: 928-7777 or santamariainn.com.
The Chumash Casino and Resort presents Wilson Phillips performing live Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. The group Los Tigres del Norte performs Aug. 30. The Chumash Casino Resort is at 3400 E. Highway 246, Santa Ynez. More info: 1-800-CHUMASH or chumashcasino.com.
The Maverick Saloon offers live entertainment, including the country music of Jimi Nelson Band on Aug. 24 at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at 11:30 p.m. “Concert on the Deck” featuring Jimi Nelson is Aug. 25 at 3 p.m. The Jimi Nelson Band performs Aug. 25 at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at the saloon, 3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez. More info: 686-4785 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Calendar Editor Joe Payne at email@example.com.
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