Scott Schoeffel’s San Luis Obispo musical soiree

(The article today has been edited for length and clarity)San Luis Obispo soiree attendees. Greta, Julie Simer and Scott Schoeffel in white (center) are in the front row

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – August 13, 2021
San Luis Obispo Senior Road Trip for Scott Schoeffel’s San Luis Obispo musical soiree

by Columnist Tom Blake

Due to Covid-19, my partner Greta and I canceled five road trips in the last 18 months. Lately, we’ve been itching to “get on the road again.”

In July, we received an invitation to an August 6 musical soiree in San Luis Obispo (SLO), along the central California coast, hosted by former Dana Point Mayor, Scott Schoeffel and his partner of 17 years, Julie Simer. One of Scott’s passions is to assemble talented 5-and 6-piece bands to perform musical soirees.

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, has hosted the soirees for 25 years. He didn’t last year, due to the pandemic.

Greta and I drove to San Luis Obispo on Thursday, August 5. It was a six-hour grind, including the stop-and-go traffic when driving through Los Angeles.
We booked a hotel room online a month in advance. I was surprised at the prices of rooms along the coast and in San Luis Obispo. Securing a room for less than $225 per night was nearly impossible.

The soiree was held on Friday from Noon to four p.m. We arrived an hour early at a venue called SOL Brew, “The Rock,” two miles out of town, where Julie and Scott had scheduled the event. The stage was outdoors, with a backdrop of mountains and hills.

Proof of Covid-19 vaccinations had to be shown to enter the indoor bar and food indoor area.

The first thing we noticed was a large “Dana Point Yacht Club” banner emblazoned across the backdrop of the stage. Upon seeing the banner, we said, “We’re in the right place,” even though I didn’t understand the “Yacht Club” connection. Soon, Scott and Julie greeted us as they were getting the seating and stage set up.

During the musicians’ warmup, Greta and I were impressed by the quality of their music. We realized we were in for four hours of immense entertainment. The musicians appeared to be in their 50s 60s and 70s, except for the lead singer, who was closer to 40.

Guests started arriving. Most were seniors. A woman named Vicki Sweet, said, “Hi Tom, I’ve lived in Dana Point all my life and I’ve read your newspaper column, it seems, like forever.”

I replied, “Yup, it’s been a long time. My first column appeared on July 7, 1994.”

I said to Vicki, “Who are all these people in your group?”

Vicki said, “Scott is the Commodore of the Dana Point Yacht Club and many of us are members. It’s an unwritten tradition that new commodores sponsor a cruise each year. But, Scott and Julie decided to make their cruise a trip to the beautiful central California coast featuring today’s soiree. They are visiting other cities as well.”

I put my columnist thinking-cap on and thought, “Wow, wouldn’t it be neat if I could get a group picture of all these Orange County people, including Scott and Julie?” I mentioned that to Vicki.

She said, “If you’d like, I’ll be happy to coordinate getting the people together for a photo during one of the band’s breaks.”

“Awesome,” I said.

(Photo above is of soiree attendees from Orange County) About 40 people from Dana Point and other parts of Orange County attended, including Orange County Supervisor, Andrew Do. Oh my gosh, Supervisor Do loves his music. He was bopping to the music and knew more songs than I did, which is amazing because I’m an oldies expert.

On his electric violin, Scott performed mesmerizing solo versions of the Star-Spangled Banner and Somewhere Over the Rainbow. (Scott’s photo is below).

The six-member band that Scott assembled was awesome. They called their group the “Central Coast All-Stars.” Most had never played together. But they had played for bands such as the Dave Matthews Band, U2, and War, so you can imagine how talented they were.

An early song was a 10-minute version of “Purple Rain,” the classic by Prince. Other favorites of mine were “Big Yellow Taxi” and “White Rabbit.”

The lead singer, Rachel Santa Cruz, whose father Bobby Santa Cruz played bass, was hugely talented. When she sang Nancy Sinatra’s song, “Boots,” the oldies in attendance got up and shuffled their boots.

The band played for four hours, with three short breaks. I couldn’t imagine how their fingers and vocal cords must have felt, having been on stage performing for so long.

After the show, I told Rachel: “Today, you were five women in one: Stevie Nix, Janis Joplin, Linda Ronstadt, Nancy Sinatra, and Gracie Slick.”

For a few hours on August 6, San Luis Obispo had become Dana Point North.
On our Saturday trip home, we had lunch in the delightful city of Arroyo Grande, with Greta’s brother and sister-in-law, who were also on a road trip.
From there it was five hours to Dana Point.

Our first trip in two years had been delightful, but I’ll admit, I was one tired dude from driving.

However, we have another road trip planned for today. We will be driving one mile to Costco.

Former Dana Point Mayor Scott Schoeffel playing the National Anthem at the San Luis Obispo musical soiree held August 6, 2021, at SLO Brew “The Rock.” An incredible musical venue and brewery. Here is the link to the SLO Brew “The Rock” website