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My Funny Valentine - Love Songs by Rodgers and Hart


  NVC Performing Arts Center
Sunday, February 10

The Bay area community is invited as Napa Valley College presents crooner Roberto-Juan González  and The Michael Parsons Jazz Trio performing "My Funny Valentine – Love Songs by Rodgers and Hart." This Valentine’s event will be a benefit concert for the Piano Fund of the Performing Arts Center on the campus at NVC.  Take a trip down memory lane with songs by two of America’s greatest songwriters featuring music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Lorenz Hart. The evening's performance presents various hits from the many composers of the American Songbook and features Michael Parsons on piano, Adam Guy on bass, and Ulf Bjorkbom on drums.   The magic happens on Sunday, February 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Napa Valley College Main Theater in the new Performing Arts Center. If “Bewitched,” “You Took Advantage of Me,” and “Spring is Here” bring back memories for you and your love, this concert is for you!

Roberto González, Napa Valley College's orchestra conductor since 1988, began singing at the tender age of 6. Raised a church musician, he owes a great measure of his vocal and orchestral career to the musical environment at the Union Church of San Juan, Puerto Rico.  It was there that he was first made a professional conductor at the age of 15, having been nurtured as a pianist and vocalist in the comprehensive music ministry. While doing his undergraduate degree at InterAmerican University in Puerto Rico, San Germán, he was asked to sit in as pianist with a Latino dance band, where he then began crooning slow ballads at dance jobs on weekends. On arriving at Indiana's Ball State University for graduate studies in orchestra conducting, where he finished his doctorate in 1983, he was trained as an operatic lyric tenor.  In spite of this extensive training, he never really wanted to make the giant commitment to the pursuit that an operatic career required. He did maintain a career as church musician, which provided an outlet for his continued love of singing. His real interest lay in the American Songbook, but no suitable opportunities to pursue this interest presented themselves for exploration at that time.

In 2006, he met Richard Nichol, director and vocal coach of the San Francisco Academy for Performing Arts.  It was this meeting that inspired him to begin crooning once more. It was during one of the Academy's evenings at the now-defunct Octavia Lounge on Market Street that he met Michael Parsons, a brilliant stride pianist and composer in the tradition of Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, and Thelonious Monk.   Invited to participate in a bebop party presented by Parsons and his trio at Octavia, González started exploring and crooning classics from the American Songbook in the company of Parsons. The combination was so stimulating and so enjoyable for both pianist and singer that they began talking about doing concert gigs to present their work together. Their first concert a few years ago at Napa Valley College was a sold-out success and hailed by Pierce Carson in his Napa Valley Register review.

The Capital Campaign continues to pay for the fleet of new pianos in use by Napa Valley College students in the new Performing Arts Center. Ticket monies from the evening's performance will also support music student equipment replacement in the 45,000 sq/ft facility. All donations to the fund are tax-deductible through the Napa Valley College Foundation.

Admission: $20 General; $15 Students, Seniors, Military. Advance tickets are on sale at the Napa Valley College Box Office (707)256-7500 and will be available at the box office of the Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center on the night of the concert one hour before showtime.  There is plenty of free parking. Doors open at 7:00pm. Advance Online tickets at: Visa and MasterCard accepted.