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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014


Fifth Annual Redwood Coast
Whale & Jazz Festival

Thursday - Sunday, April 5 - 8, 2007

Redwood Coast Whale and Jazz Festival logo

2007 info:   Events  -   Tickets  -   Sponsors  -   Sponsorship  -   Volunteers  -   Staff

2007 Festival Staff & Support

Gualala Arts Staff:

Scott Chieffo, Gualala Arts Festivals & Events Coordinator
Nancy Spencer, Barbara Pratt, Liz Redfield, Jane Reichhold
Gualala Arts Culinary Arts Guild
Festival Chowder Challenge Coordinators: Leslie Bates & Sita Milchev
Chowder Challenge Sales: Marianne Tan
Sound Technician: Robert Hantzsche
Lighting Technician: Dave Jordan
Stage Hand: Chad DeGarmo

Festival Ticket Outlets:

Gualala Arts Center (MC/VI)
The Dolphin Gallery & Shop
Violet's Boutique & Four-Eyed Frog Books
The Record

Chowder Challenge Judges:

Sita Milchev, 2006 Chowder Challenge Traditional Chowder Amateur Class Winner
Naomi Schwartz, "The Foodie," Surf Supermarket
George Bailey, Editor and Food Critic, Lighthouse Peddler
Paul Batchelder, Gualala Arts Culinary Arts Guild & Dinners at Six

Wine/Microbrew Pourers:

John Micka, "The Wine Guy," Surf Supermarket
Bruce Jones, Ron Bolander, Frank Klembeck, Cliff Putnam, Paul Batchelder

Festival Committee

David 'Sus' Susalla David "Sus" Susalla — Festival Co-Producer
Executive Director
Gualala Arts

Office: (707) 884-1138 Ext. 12
Fax: (707) 884-3038

David "Sus" Susalla was born in the middle of the Detroit riots during the "Summer of Love." During his youth in a Detroit suburb, he attended numerous theater, jazz and chamber music concerts, thus fueling a passion that has developed into a challenging career.

He put himself through accounting school at Ferris State University in Michigan by working at Roostertail, the largest catering facility in the mid-west. After traveling the USA and visiting 48 of the 50 states, he settled down in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was employed for seven years as Controller for Protected Investors of America, a San Francisco independent securities broker/dealer firm before moving to Gualala in 2001.

Becoming Operations Manager for the Gualala Arts Center in 2002 helped prepare Sus for his current role as Executive Director since September 2004. One of his goals is to unite our bi-county "Mendonoma" region with its diverse population through the arts. The Gualala Arts Center books over 1700 calendar events each year, operating with a core staff of 4 full time and 2 part time employees and 300 dedicated volunteers.

Sus and his wife, Harmony, own and operate an organic textile business called Harmony Art, whose mission is to revolutionize the textile industry into becoming more sustainable through environmental and social change. In his leisure time(!), you can find him in the kitchen preparing culinary treats for his many houseguests, behind the lens of a camera or editing digital audio, photo and video files.

Jan Harris Jan Harris — Festival Co-Producer
Executive Director
Redwood Coast Chamber of Commerce

Office: (707) 884-1080
Fax: (707) 884-1231 (call office number first)

Harris is a California native who grew up in the SF Bay Area and on the coast of Marin County. She has been a local resident for almost three decades and is adamant that the Redwood "Mendonoma" Coast is where she will remain to the end of her days.

Harris has been Executive Director of the Redwood Coast Chamber of Commerce since the Millennium, prior to which she was a Director, then VP of Tourism, then President of the Chamber for two terms. However, her background and passion is theater and music . . . both as a performer and director.

Arriving in 1979, during her early years on the coast she directed the Coast Community Chorus, several Musical Theatre Workshops, two book musicals, Gershwin's Of Thee I Sing and Bye Bye Birdie, three separate productions of Menotti's Christmas opera Amahl & the Night Visitors (and also played the leading role of Amahl's mother), and the dramatic Michael Cristofer play Shadowbox.

She also produced/directed the first Gualala Arts Midsummer Faire (1994) in Bower Park as part of the Art in the Redwoods Festival, as a Renaissance-style faire complete with fully-staged versions of Taming of the Shrew (director & Katherine) and Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet (Gertrude) as "Shakespeare-in-the-Park". Harris also played leading roles in Peter Shaffer's White Liars and Noel Coward's Song at Twilight with other coastal directors. In the summer of 1993, she was costume designer of Gloriana Opera Company's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and her husband Wayne constructed the show's armor and footgear.

Since 1986, Jan has owned Celebration Connection, offering services as a non-denominational minister and wedding/event coordinator, and since 1994, with her husband Wayne, has owned and operated Adventure Rents Canoes & Kayaks.

Her interest in having the Chamber of Commerce co-produce the Whale & Jazz Festival stems from her love of creating events "as productions" and her desire to create and nurture a festival that both promotes the arts and draws visitors to the coast. She asserts,

"This festival entices visitors to our unique Mendonoma coast to experience amazing artistic talent, enjoy our unspoiled environment and support our local economy. Thus, the Festival supports one my professions and one of my passions!"

In March of 2007, Harris made a "comeback" to performing as one of the divas in the acclaimed "Broadway Babes are Back" Cabaret Revue at Gualala Arts Center. She hopes to resume both performing and directing here on the Redwood Mendonoma Coast.

Fred Adler Fred Adler — Festival Music Coordinator
KTDE 100.5 FM
Fax: 707.884.1229 (KTDE)

During the seminal jazz period of the 50's and 60's, Fred Adler frequented U.S. and European clubs and festivals, and was witness to multiple live performances of such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and others. By special invitation, he presented a three hour live special on Pacifica Radio (KPFA FM, Berkeley, CA) on the day of John Coltrane's death, July 17, 1967. During the 70's, Adler taught jazz history and appreciation seminars in Berkeley and Marin County.

His Jazz Radio programs include:

  • Sunday Evening Jazz on KZYX/Z FM Public Radio - Philo, CA, and on The Tide: KTDE 100.5 FM
  • Wednesday Night Jazz, Sunday Afternoon Jazz & Standards
  • Radio Yesteryear & Musical Treasures
  • Coastal Interviews
  • Sunday Morning Classical

Adler has conducted interviews with many jazz greats including Dave Brubeck. He has been the producer and MC of Sonoma and Mendocino Coast Jazz events since 1998, and the Festival Music Coordinator and MC of the Redwood Coast Whale & Jazz Festival since 2004.

In recent years, Adler was also instrumental in bringing Blues Legend Charlie Musselwhite, Blues Harmonica Virtuoso Mark Hummel and the great freedom singer, composer and guitarist Richie Havens to the Arena Theatre, the Redwood "Mendonoma" Coast's Art Deco-style live performing arts venue and film palace.

In the fall of 2006, Adler brought Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth to the Gualala Arts Center for a special one-night only performance, and on June 30, 2007 has arranged for Maria Muldaur to grace the Gualala Arts Center stage for a one-night only performance.

Blake More Blake More
Poetry & Jazz Event Coordinator — Poet

Blake More is a poet, teacher, visual artist, performance artist, local art entrepreneur and self-proclaimed dork. A visit to her website "be more creations" will illuminate many facets of this extraordinary, multi-faceted and talented woman.

In 2006, Blake received the Arts Council of Mendocino County 4th Annual Art Champion Award in the category of Artist. Blake was honored for her demonstrated excellence in the fields of literary, visual, and theater arts, while integrating art into the daily life of her community and for supporting and inspiring youth participation in the arts.

At the 2005 Whale & Jazz Festival Main Event Blake wowed the crowd with her poetic tribute to John Coltrane accompanied by Steve Heckman on Tenor Sax.

Blake works extensively in the South Coast Area as a California Poet in the Schools (CPITS), Poet Teacher at Point Arena Elementary and High School, Pacific Charter and Horicon School. She also coaches the Point Arena High School Poetry Slam team.

In addition, she designs costumes for the SF Mime Troupe's Annual Youth Theater Festival, is on the Board of Directors of Point Arena CityArt and is the driving force behind the Third Thursday Poetry Reading Nights.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.