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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014


Eleventh Annual Sonoma ~ Mendocino Coast
Whale & Jazz Festival

March - April - May, 2014

 Whale and Jazz Festival logo

2014 Events    -    About W&J    -    Sponsors    -    Staff    -    Past Festivals


Festival Producer

David 'Sus' Susalla, Executive Director of Gualala Arts

Festival Music Coordinator

Fred Adler - KTDE 100.5 FM

Festival Consultant

Jan Harris

Festival Staff & Support

Scott Chieffo, Gualala Arts Operations Manager
Sound Engineer: Jake Stillman
Sound Technician: Wayne Harris
Webmaster: Dave Jordan
Piano Technician: Dr. Will Reed

Chowder Challenge Judges

to be announced

Festival Committee

David 'Sus' Susalla David "Sus" Susalla
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 Consultant

Office: (707) 884-4231

Jan Harris is a California native who grew up in the SF Bay Area, living in and around Marin County until moving to Gualala in 1979. She loves this area and hopes to remain here to the end of her days.

During her early years on the coast she directed the Coast Community Chorus, several Musical Theatre Workshops, two 'book' musicals: Of Thee I Sing and Bye Bye Birdie, three separate productions of Gian Carlo Menotti's Christmas opera Amahl & the Night Visitors (in which she 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), a Renaissance-style fair in Bower Park as part of Art in the Redwoods, and "Shakespeare-in-the-Park," complete with condensed but fully-staged versions of Taming of the Shrew (director & Katherine), Midsummer Night's Dream (director) and Hamlet (Gertrude). Harris also played leading roles in Peter Shaffer's White Liars and Noel Coward's Song at Twilight under other coastal directors. In the summer of 1993, she was costume designer of Gloriana Opera's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with husband Wayne constructing the show's armor and footgear.

Since 1994, she has owned and operated Adventure Rents Canoes & Kayaks on the Gualala River, in partnership with husband, Wayne, and Celebration Connection, as a non-denominational minister, wedding and event planner and decorator.

As former Executive Director of the Redwood Coast Chamber of Commerce, she served the Chamber from 1995 to 2007 in various capacities. However, her main background and passion is theater and music as both performer and director. Jan returned to performing as one of the divas in the acclaimed "Broadway Babes are Back" Cabaret Revue at Gualala Arts Center (2007).

Harris co-created the Whale & Jazz Festival in 2003 with former Gualala Arts Executive Director, Karel Metcalf, and has continued on the Festival Steering Committee to the present. She now serves as Festival Consultant, and in 2011, performed as guest artist with Java & Jazz, on April 3 at the Blue Canoe in Anchor Bay.

Fred Adler Fred Adler
Festival Music Coordinator
B. Oct. 22, 1943, New York, NY
KTDE 100.5 FM

During the seminal jazz period of the '50s and '60s, and to the present, Fred Adler has frequented U.S. and European clubs and festivals, witnessing multiple live performances of such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, Charles Mingus, Chet Baker, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis and Diana Krall among countless others.

He worked at the famed Music Inn in the Lenox, Massachusetts Berkshires during the summer of '62, which presented a virtual Who's Who of famous jazz names, and spent numerous late night hours at NYC's historic nightclub, the original Birdland, dubbed as "The Jazz Corner of the World," at Broadway and 52nd St.

By special invitation, Adler 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 '70s, he taught jazz history and appreciation seminars in Berkeley and Marin County.

His current radio programs include: Coastal Interviews, Jukebox Saturday Night, Sunday Morning Classical and Sunday Musical Journey at KTDE 100.5 FM, Gualala, CA. On KZYX/Z FM Public Radio, Philo, CA, he co-hosts Thursday Morning Jazz and Sunday Evening Jazz. Audio interview samples are available at

Adler has conducted interviews with many music and performing greats including Leonard Bernstein, Dave Brubeck, Marian McPartland, Tierney Sutton, Larry Vuckovich, Jackie Ryan, Richie Havens and Chevy Chase.

He has been the producer and emcee of many Sonoma and Mendocino Coast Jazz events since 1996, and has been Festival Music Coordinator and emcee of the Sonoma - Mendocino Whale & Jazz Festival since 2004. Adler is also the Gualala Arts Music Coordinator, in charge of all Gualala Arts music events other than the Chamber Music Series.

At the Gualala Arts Center, Adler has presented such luminaries as The Brubeck Brothers, Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth, Maria Muldaur Brazilian pianist/vocalist/composer Eliane Elias and bassist husband, Mark Johnson, and participated in booking composer / pianist Terry Riley.

In recent years, he was instrumental in bringing Blues Legend Charlie Musselwhite, Blues harmonica player Mark Hummel, Linda Tillery's Cultural Heritage Choir and the great Freedom Singer, composer and guitarist Richie Havens to the Arena Theater, the coast's Art Deco-style live performing arts and film venue.

In 2010, Fred Adler was honored by pianist / composer Larry Vuckovich for his unique contributions to the jazz world. The world premiere of Adler's Allegro & Adagio, which was composed in his honor, was performed for a special Gualala Arts concert entitled Latin and West Coast Sounds: Larry Vuckovich International Sextet.

Adler is the spearhead of the highly successful Gualala Arts Global Harmony Series, "Encouraging global harmony by sharing cultures through the arts", which celebrated its 5th year of events in 2014. Rupa and the April Fishes, the famed woman's vocal ensemble Kitka and Mads Tolling's Jazz Europa have all been included in this important series.

For the 2011 Whale & Jazz Festival, Fred read his "Syncopated Reveries" at Poetry & Jazz, multiple vignettes depicting his most adored jazz experiences around the globe.

He conceived and directed A Night of Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue and An Evening of Rodgers & Hart: My Funny Valentine in 2013 and 2014 as concerts of his ongoing American Composers Series, and has attended numerous original Broadway musicals since the 1940s.

Fred's grandfather, Dr. Joseph S. Diamond was private physician to show business legends George Gershwin, Fanny Brice and Eddie Cantor in New York City.

In 1981, Adler commissioned SF North Beach woodcut artist, Kristin Wetterhahn, to charcoal sketch in live performance at the famous SF music venues Keystone Korner and the Fairmont Hotel's Venetian Room, such jazz legends as Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Stan Getz, Buddy Rich, Chet Baker, Sarah Vaughn and Carmen McRae. All signed by the musicians at the moment, he still owns this formidable 25 piece collection.

Always encouraging fresh young talent, his yearly Festival Youth Discovery has included both jazz flutist Elena Pinderhughes and saxophonist Grace Kelly who are now making their marks on the jazz world at large as young adults.

As Festival Music Coordinator of the Sonoma - Mendocino Coast Whale & Jazz Festival, Adler consistently presents exceptional local coastal musicians as well as both young and seasoned veteran talent from across the broader geographical spectrum including special concerts for local students.

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.