Playing for music rather than money, bands flock to downtown First Friday events

 Published on Wednesday, 01 April 2015 01:09  Written by Los Altos Town Crier Staff – Town Crier Report


Courtesy of
Members of Sunday Seven perform at Main and Second streets in downtown Los Altos.

Los Altos Forward’s April First Friday event is scheduled 6-8 p.m. Friday in downtown Los Altos.

The monthly events feature extended store hours, complimentary refreshments, live entertainment and in-store activities.

Scheduled musical groups for Friday’s event include Mars, Sunday Seven, 37th Parallel, Influx, and Mollie and Scott.

Perhaps the most visual and audible elements at First Friday events are the performing artists along Main and State streets. According to First Fridays organizer Carol Garsten, the bands simply show up to perform.

“We do not pay these people – they are just community members who love music and Los Altos,” she said.

The Sunday Seven accordion band makes regular appearances at Los Altos First Fridays.

Band members hail from all over the South Bay, including Los Altos and Mountain View.

“It’s fun,” said band leader Bob Stanfield. “We enjoy sharing our music with others, and we like to engage the listeners to sing or dance while we play. We enjoy playing as a group. We especially like to see the kids dancing or singing. They don’t often get to see accordions, so they seem fascinated with the instrument.”

Most of the bands’ members have day jobs. In the case of classic-rock cover band Fully Funded, all members are high-tech executives from Los Altos. Woody Arnold and Don Jaworski are CEOs of startups, Kevin Thompson is also a CEO and James Althoff is a retired chief technology officer.

The group, playing nostalgic tunes from the likes of The Beatles, Steve Miller and the Eagles, is in it for the joy of playing music.

“It’s fun to entertain the families and friends that come by on First Friday,” Arnold said. “We like to help Los Altos and the shops downtown. It’s nice to help make downtown a more vibrant place for people to enjoy.”

Watch for more band profiles in upcoming previews of First Friday events.

For more information, visit


Celebrate Love at First Friday

Courtesy of Dr. Jamie Lucia
Ellen Biolsi, owner of Cranberry Scoop at 295 State St., holds a poster promoting this month’s First Friday event. More than 60 stores and galleries are scheduled to participate in Friday’s Valentine-themed event.

Los Altos Forward has scheduled a Valentine-themed First Friday event – “Celebrating Love” – 6-8 p.m. Friday in downtown Los Altos.

“‘Celebrating Love’ is about celebrating the love of community, love of teachers, moms and dads, sweethearts, kids, grandmas and grandpas and even a special aunt or uncle,” said First Friday co-chairwoman Jamie Lucia, a chiropractor with Los Altos Community Chiropractic.

The evening will feature activities for all ages. Visitors are invited to browse and shop at more than 60 stores and galleries, many of which offer First Friday discounts as well as complimentary refreshments. Participating stores will have red and white balloons out front. Many restaurants will serve a “First Friday Special.”

Live entertainment will include performances by six local bands: Sunday Seven at Le Boulanger, 37th Parallel at Chase Bank, Fully Funded at the Costume Bank, Mollie & Scott at BK Collections, Influx at Linden Tree Books and Mars at On Your Mark.

Programs will be available at the First Friday Headquarters outside Village Stationers at 222 Main St.

First Friday is a rain-or-shine event.

“Even if it’s raining outside, it won’t be raining inside the stores,” said Carol Garsten, First Friday co-chairwoman and owner of Nature Gallery.

Marking three years of First Fridays

Los Altos Forward, a program of the Los Community Foundation, marks its third anniversary organizing First Friday events this month.

“We’re thrilled to see more and more business participating with great merchant giveaways and promotions leading up to Valentine’s Day,” Garsten said.

Los Altos Forward invites local volunteers to join the First Friday Committee, which meets 5:45-7:30 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of the month at Nature Gallery, 296 State St.

For a list of participating businesses and more information, email Lucia at or Garsten at or visit or

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Train Ride

Town Crier File Photo
Last year’s Tree Lighting Ceremony drew a crowd of revelers who took photos in the glow of the illuminated tree.

The final First Friday of the year, with the theme “All Aboard for the Holidays,” is slated 6-8 p.m. Friday in downtown Los Altos.

The event includes free train rides courtesy of the local American Legion; browsing and shopping at retail shops and galleries, many of which offer discounts and free refreshments; and a host of restaurants serving a variety of cuisines.

Santa will arrive at Community Plaza on the American Legion Train at 6:30 p.m., in time for the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The plaza is located at Main and States streets.

Children will have an opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap. First Fridays organizers and the Los Altos Village Association, sponsors of the Tree Lighting Ceremony, request that families who visit with Santa bring an unwrapped toy donation for the Community Services Agency, which serves residents in need in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View.

Whole Foods Market will provide refreshments, and the Bullis Charter School Choral Group, the group Fully Funded and the Mountain View High School Madrigals will perform seasonal music.

Participants in the “Santa’s Elves Scavenger Hunt” who find at least 10 secret gifts will win a prize. The clues will be located around downtown – look for the balloons.

Those who shop on First Friday are eligible to win a $500 shopping spree.

“Put some bells on your toes and join the festive First Friday in delightful downtown Los Altos,” said Carol Garsten, owner of Nature Gallery and co-chairwoman of First Friday.

Jamie Lucia of Los Altos Community Chiropractic, co-chairwoman of First Friday, encouraged local residents to “come out with family and friends and shop local on this joyous ‘All Aboard for the Holidays’ First Friday.”

First Friday programs will be available around downtown and at First Friday headquarters at Adventure Toys & Teachers’ Supplies, 173 Main St.

For more information, visit

Martin and Lien tango First Friday

With almost 20 years of Argentine tango experience between them, Martin and Lien have been dancing together for three years. They currently teach an Argentine Tango Fundamentals class at the CPAA Arts Center in San Jose on Wednesday nights, where they stress the basics of lead and follow. They also available for privates.



“Dancing In the Streets” Los Altos First Friday fun Sept. 5th

SanJuanSensationsWe welcome everyone to join us in downtown Los Altos, California, for the next live, outdoor community celebrated First Friday in September, “Dancing in the Street”.

Dancing will start at 6pm at Community Plaza with the San Juan Sensations followed by Lien & Martin’s Argentine Tango at 6:40 and finishing off the First Friday dancing with Juan’s Latin Potpourri at 7:20pm. Not only are you in for the treat of seeing some amazing local dancers, but each group will get the audience moving to the music with free community dance lessons. Fun for all!

Enjoy the “Let’s Dance” scavenger hunt in 25 of the 60 businesses open late during First Friday and you’ll be a winner! Discover new stores you’ve never been and meet up with your community friends.

“We know how busy modern life is, so we invite you to take a break from the usual set of distractions and let your feet grove around downtown Los Altos”, says Carol Garsten, Nature Gallery owner and First Friday co-cordinator.

Live music and DJ’s will fill the town with the beats to tickle your feet. Visit: for more information about the dance groups, music around town on First Friday, participating merchants and Sponsors.

Feel free to walk, run, bike, bus, carpool, or put the top down on your convertible.

“All those who think they have two left feet are welcome to join the fun. They will find out that they have a left and a right and they will also find that dancing has the power to energize us as individuals and as a community”, says Dr. Jamie Lucia of Los Altos Community Chiropractic and First Friday co-cordinator.

First Friday is looking for great community volunteers to help make the event as best as it can be. Join our monthly meetings on the 1st

@ Nature Gallery @ 6pm.

For More information contact Carol Garsten, or Jamie Lucia,, First Friday co-organizers.

and 3rd Tuesday of the month

June 6th, 2014

First Friday: June 6th, 6pm-9pm

Every First Friday you can…

  • Visit participating shops and galleries for discounts, free gifts with purchases or other in-store specials
  • Enjoy complimentary refreshments and treats
  • Listen to live performances at various locations in downtown
  • Interested in being a performer? Contact Jamie Lucia for more details

Come to the “Concert on the Green” featuring The Houserockers! (6-7:30pm)

The Houserockers

This First Friday there will be a free concert on the State Street Green featuring KFOX Radio’s “Best Cover Band in the Bay Area”, The Houserockers. Known for their eclectic, high energy set lists that brings the music of The Rolling Stones, Earth Wind and Fire, Tower of Power, Stevie Wonder, Springsteen, Van Morrison and much more to life. Fusing elements of rock, blues, funk, 60’s soul and R & B – this 10 piece band turns every performance into a house party. Get to First Friday early to Rock & Soul the night away with The Houserockers from 6-7:30pm! This event is sponsored by the City of Los Altos and Passerelle Investment Company.


State Street Green

Other performances by…

37th Parallel (Chase Bank, 199 Main Street)

37th Parallel is a rock band based out of the San Francisco Bay Area in Mountain View, California. While playing at different locations around the South Bay they keep the music of previous generations alive by covering bands like The Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Cheap Trick and many others. 37th Parallel is currently writing an album and are performing their newest material at almost all of their gigs. They also keep a Facebook page, Twitter, and YouTube Channel up and running so check it out!

Catherine Rose (Village Stationers, 222 Main Street)

Catherine Rose, of Ghost in the Canyon, is an LA based psychedelic folk singer that specializes in dreamy soundscapes and ear candy melodies on a foundation of organic folk. Ghost in the Canyon’s debut EP, Morning, is a simultaneously joyful and melancholy exploration of time, fate, and spiritual realms. Shining vocal harmonies echo Crosby Stills and Nash while the musicianship of each member is evident in the tight grooves inspired by Fleetwood Mac. Of the album, Jack Keller of IndieU writes: “the EP fantastically excites as it leaves the listener wanting more. With the combination of her mesmeric voice and organic musical accompaniment, Ghost in the Canyon’s foray into the industry sets the tone of the artist she is and wishes to be”.

Lingonberry Aires (Bubble Kids, 220 Main Street)

Comprised of a vocalist-guitarist, guitarist-bassist, trumpeter, clarinetist-trombonist, and drummer, The Lingonberry Aires play a mix of jazz standards and more recent pop tunes that will delight those who love the American songbook and its eclectic offspring.

Fully Funded (Costume Bank, 169 State Street)

Fully-Funded is a frequent performer for First Friday. They are a cover band that plays a wide selection of music across many genres including classic rock, 70s, disco, jazz, and pop music. All of the members live in Los Altos. The band plays monthly at local Los Altos establishments like Maltby’s and First & Main, as well as private parties and corporate events.

Larry & Carla (Linden Tree, 265 State Street)

Two handbell musicians – formerly too many miles apart, but now together! They met on the online Handbell Community in 2007… and on Facebook in 2009. Larry was in California, and Carla was 6,000 miles away, in England. After far too many months in a long-distance relationship, their K-1 visa was granted in May 2012 and they were wed in that September. Check out their rendition of an Arabian Dance.

The Potentials (Community Plaza)

The Potentials are a local classic rock cover band. They play mostly rock and blues music from the classic vinyl era (60’s and 70’s) and some more contemporary rock and pop music. Their members include Yvonne Aguilar (lead vocals and guitar), Geoff Cotton (lead guitar), Bill Meyer (bass), Guy Lalonde (drums), Dave Spring (piano), and Los Altos resident Bill James (keys and vocals)

The Sunday Seven (Le Boulanger, 301 State Street)

The “Sunday Seven” have been playing music together for 5 years and consists of members of 4 accordions, 1 tuba, 1 percussionist, and sometimes a clarinet and recorder. All of the musicians are members of the Silicon Valley Accordion Society. They play for Italian Festivals, Octoberfests, Holiday festivities, and also entertain at the Silicon Valley Accordion Society several times each year. The Sunday Seven mostly perform polkas, waltzes, German and Italian music, as well as some popular music. They love playing music together and have fun entertaining others.

Mollie Thompson (Know Knew Books, 366 State Street)

This local musician enjoys performing jazz from the great American songbook at private events and benefits, local senior centers, area schools and libraries. She performs George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berling and other great American composers and presents music history at elementary schools. Mollie performs in local musical theater productions and recently was in “Some Like it Hot” and played Agnes Gooch in “Mame.” Mollie has sung with many rock and jazz bands in San Francisco and on the Peninsula. Mollie along with Scott Vanderlip enjoys performing at community venues like the Westwind Barn and Hidden Villa, and Mollie and Scott recently directed “The Music Man” at Egan Junior High School.

Scott Vanderlip (Know Knew Books, 366 State Street)

This performer from Los Altos enjoys and shares his love of music in a variety of ways with the community. As a piano and guitar player, and vocalist, he performs locally for some seasonal and often kid related performances in the area. He has also helped to direct several local school and backyard musical productions and can be always found assisting the girl and boy scouts at senior homes for holiday concerts or other local events. For several years, he was a music docent for Music for Minors teaching K-3 students in LASD schools the love of music. He plays an eclectic set of music ranging from folk, pop, musicals, kids songs to those well known camp fire songs. Don’t stand too close or he might ask you to join the band in song!

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