Tag Archives: Santee Summer Concerts

Santee Summer Concerts Move to New Home

The annual Santee Summer Concert Series is back once again with great music and fun times – but with a new venue. This year the series has moved from the amphitheater atTrolley Squareto the stage at Towne Center Park East. The new location is at550 Park Center Dr., just east of the Cameron Family YMCA. The two-hour concerts are every Thursday night (except July 7) beginning at 6:30 p.m. Although there have been some complaints about the move, the city is working to make the new site as much fun as the old.

One of the main complaints about the new location has been about food – because the old venue was surrounded by quick-stop restaurants, music fans would come early, buy dinner, and then eat and enjoy the music. There will be food available at the new site, although not with quite the same variety. The on-site snack shack will serve up traditional food such as hamburgers, nachos, and sodas, and will add specialty items to the menu each week. Of course, if you want to bring your own snacks, that works just as well.

The musical choices this year reflect a wide range of styles and genres. The series kicked off last week with the Showband West from the U.S. Navy Band Southwest, and this week features the Danielle Tucker Band playing contemporary Country music. Future concerts will include rock, blues, swing, and more Country. The full schedule is as follows:

June 16 – Showband West from Navy Band Southwest

June 23 – The Danielle Tucker Band

June 30 – The Corvettes

July 14 – Three Chord Justice

July 21 – The Bill Magee Blues Band AND Len Rainey & The Midnight Players

July 28 – Phat Cat Swingers

August 4 – The Alley Cats

August 11 – Clay Colton Band

August 18 – The Cat·illacs

All concerts are free to the public. For more information visit the City of Santee’s Special Events page.

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Hundreds Enjoy Santee Summer Concert Series

The annual Santee Summer Concert Series has come and gone, and once again hundreds of residents and visitors came out to listen to a wide variety of music. From Classic Rock to Country to Zydeco, the sounds of popular local groups entertained the large crowds that filled the Santee Trolley Square amphitheater and surrounding plaza. A big round of thanks has to go out to the City of Santee, lead sponsor Barona Resort and Casino, and supporting companies Target, Cox Communication, Daphne’s Greek Cafe, and MTS. Without the city and sponsors, summertime Thursday nights would not be as much fun.

The series was not without a few problems. Two groups, the US Navy bands Destroyers and Crucero, were forced to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances but their spots were ably filled by Ramshackle and ACME Rhythm and Blues. There were also issues with weather and equipment, but through it all bands persevered, fans waited patiently, and everyone had a good time each night.

This year I was not able to make it to as many concerts, but I wanted to share photos from the three I did make. In July the Clay Colton Band brought their mix of Country, folk, and Irish music to the series. I especially enjoyed their cover of the Eagle’s classic “Hotel California.” Then in August, Santee’s own Ramshackle came in for the US Navy Destroyers and rocked the house with their covers of great modern rock songs such as Tom Petty’s “I Need to Know” and the Romantics’ “What I Like About You.” The series went out with a roar when the Cat-illacs brought their Classic and Modern Rock show to the stage.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Miss Santee queens and court who acted as gracious hostesses for the series. Thank you to Miss Santee, Kimberly Swank, Miss Santee Teen, Taylor Shelton, and the runners up for all you do for the city.

Enjoy some pictures from three of this summer’s concerts.

Clay Colton Band – July 16, 2010

The Clay Colton Band plays a mix of Country, Irish, folk, and pop songs

Paul Castellanos plays acoustic intro for “Hotel California”

Clay Colton and Sergio share lead guitar duties on “Hotel California”

Ramshackle – August 5, 2010

Ramshackle always draws a large, fun-loving crowd

Cat-illacs – August 19, 2010

The Cat-illacs are always one of the biggest draws of the Summer Concert Series

You can check out stories on some of the 2009 concerts:

80z All Stars

Lindsay Spurlock


Southbound Jonny


Cash’d Out

Screamin’ Primas

Emerald River

Bayou Brothers

And a few stories from the 2008 season as well:



Bayou Brothers

80z All Stars

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2009, A Santee Review – Part 3

Well, 2009 is now over, but the year in review is only halfway finished. In Part 1 I managed to get from January through April, but Part 2 was only able to cover May and June. This was partly due to the number of stories and partly due to the time I had to work on Part 2. And now, without further ado, we move to July and the start of Part 3.

I started off July with a short update on the off-leash dog parks, and previews of the Santee Salutes July 4th celebration, the first Santee Summer Concert of the month, and the Movies by the Lakes schedule. I also wrote about a VIP party held at the end of June at Café 67 – which is a member of the Santee Chamber of Commerce, even though it is located in Lakeside. Café 67 is a great place with great food and deserves a try for breakfast or lunch.

Of course, the big event every July is the Santee Salutes July 4th celebration. This year the event, which always takes place at the Town Center sports fields beside Rio Seco School, featured games and rides for kids, a large food area, music by the 80z All Stars (and their alter-ego, Bootylicious), and a huge fireworks display. The keynote speaker, guest of honor, and honorary mayor for the day was Lt. Colonel Ronnie Carson, commanding officer of USMC helicopter squadron HMH 462, Santee’s adopted Marine unit at Miramar MCAS.

Not quite as big as the July 4th celebration, but still a lot of fun, was the All-American Burger Challenge put on by the Pathways Community Church for the high school youth group. This little escapade pitted Sonic against In-N-Out to see who had the best burgers around. The group hit Sonic first, each person sharing a regular Sonic Burger and tater-tots with a partner. Then everyone headed over to In-N-Out for shared orders of a burger and fries. Of course at both locations each person got his/her own drink. The final results? In-N-Out for hamburgers, Sonic for drinks, and In-N-Out as the overall winner.

Also during July I started previewing The Week Ahead, covered the July Chamber Mixer, promoted the Fashion Rocks the East fundraiser for the Miss Santee Pageant, and reviewed concerts by Southbound Jonny, Spectrum, and Cash’d Out.

August started out with an interview with Miss Santee, Sierra Billock, and the announcement that Santee Lakes had, indeed, been named San Diego’s Best Campground. Other posts included Summer Concert reviews of the Screamin’ Primas, Emerald River, and Bayou Brothers, the grand opening of Santee Family Optometry, and federal stimulus projects on Magnolia Ave. and Mission Gorge Rd.

One important event was the annual National Night Out hosted by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and held at Woodglen Vista Park. The event is a nation-wide anti-crime activity that has a goal of getting communities involved. The Santee Night Out included music, food, games, and fun for all ages. But there was a serious side as well, with information booths on safety, members of the Search and Rescue team with their dogs, a demonstration by the Sheriff’s K-9 unit, and a Domestic Violence Victims Display.

A second important event in August was the Fashion Rocks the East fundraiser for the Miss Santee and Miss La Mesa Pageants. The fashion show was held in the Arbor Room at the La Mesa Community Services complex, and included current and former Miss Santees and Miss La Mesas and recent runners-up. The event was spearheaded by Santee’s own Sierra Billock, who felt that the women who benefitted from the pageants should do their part to help support future participants.

Because of some personal issues, I didn’t get back to blogging until late in September. The only posts for the month were on the work on Mission Gorge Rd., a message on Fire Preparedness from Supervisor Greg Cox, and plans for a fundraiser to support the Mother Goose Parade.

The last review post will cover October through December.

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2009, A Santee Review – Part 2

As I indicated yesterday, I’m using these last few days of the year to look back over 2009. In Part 1 I reviewed January through April, so today we begin with May.

May actually started off with a post on an event from the end of April. On April 30 Simply Spa held a Wellness Expo and Open House to provide an opportunity for people to learn about massage, chiropractics, acupuncture, and nutrition. The evening was quite successful, with a good deal of information being shared. The first few days of the month also included promotional posts for the final “Love and Forgiveness” series discussion at the Santee Library, the Post Office’s annual Stamp Out Hunger Day, and River Days. Later in the month I posted on an E-Waste Recycling event, new restrictions due to the ongoing drought, the Hollywood Tans third anniversary celebration, and the May Chamber Mixer.

The first big event of the month was the grand opening ceremony for Marketplace at Santee – also known as the Henry’s Center. This is the shopping center that was built on the site of the old roller rink on Mission Gorge Rd. The event included music from the West Hills High School Pep Band, the obligatory speeches, and dedication of the Santee Schools Arts Attack Tile Project – a series of decorative tiles created by local students. Each of the students involved in the project was honored and given a certificate and a gift bag.

Not as big, but important in other ways, was the Frubble After-Prom Party. This event was created to provide students with a safe, alcohol-free activity to go to after their prom (after all, who wants to go home right after the prom?). The party included $1 frubble drinks, snacks, and music provided by DJ ANOMIE and the Mayors of Sexy Town.

The real BIG EVENT of the month was the first Santee Street Fair. This was an amazing event on many levels. First of all, the planning for the Street Fair didn’t even start until January. In just a matter of a few months the Chamber of Commerce was able to pull together scores of interested participants, plow through red tape, promote the heck out of the event, and live through it all. The few thousand that the Chamber hoped would attend became tens of thousands, and all this with very few minor problems and no major ones.

June started off with a promotional post for the annual San Diego’s Best 2009 survey/competition from the San Diego Union-Tribune. Two Santee businesses, Domo Sushi and Santee Lakes Campground, were nominated and one, Santee Lakes, won its category. Now, I’m not saying that I had anything to do with their victory, but…

Early in June I posted a more detailed review of the Santee Street Fair, including more photos. Another event I covered was the seventh annual Legoland Teachers Are Heroes award ceremonies, during which teachers from Cajon Park School and Rio Seco School were among the dozen educators honored. During June I also wrote about the new off-leash dog parks, the Greater East County Chambers of Commerce Alliance (GECCA) Networking Trade Show, Frubble’s first Open Mic Night, and the monthly After-5 Mixer. June also saw two fund raising events, the Friendly Grounds Pancake Breakfast for Santee Santas and the 6th Annual Golf Classic to support the Santee Schools Foundation. Oh, yes, and I posted two Food Patrols on Frubble and Domo Sushi.

Above all, June marks the beginning of the annual Santee Summer Concert Series. Every year this musical extravaganza features popular local groups performing in the Trolley Square amphitheater. This year the June concerts featured 80z All Stars, Lindsay Spurlock, and the Cat-illacs.

As busy as May and June were, I’m going to end here and pick up with July in my next post.


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Bayou Brothers Bring New Orleans to Santee

Bayou Brothers

Last Thursday, August 13, the Bayou Brothers brought the sounds of New Orleans to the Santee Summer Concert Series.  Cajun music and zydeco were the order of the evening, with a heaping side order of audience participation as local kids got the chance to play rhythm along with the band.

Junior Percussion

Although the crowd was not as large as some others this summer, folks were having a good time.  The dance area was full most of the evening, and an enthusiastic dance line formed during the last few songs.  Many couples seemed to be well-versed in Zydeco dancing (you can see a video on basic Zydeco dance on their home page), and there was even a dancing crawfish in the crowd.

Zydeco Dancing with a Crawfish

The Bayou Brothers (and one Sister) seem to have a core of members with other musicians moving in and out.  According to their website, the regular members who played this time were John Chambers on keyboard and accordion, Ric Lee on drums, and Jessica Stull on rubboard.  Also on hand were Tim Cash on bass and a lead guitarist from Santee whose name I unfortunately missed (please let me know if you know his name).

John Chambers – Keyboard and Accordion

John Chambers

Ric Lee – Drums

Ric Lee - Drums

 Jessica Stull – Rubboard
  Jessica Stull

Tim Cash – Bass

Tim Cash - Bass

Lead Guitar

Lead Guitar

Getting into the Music

Getting into the Music

The final concert in the series is this Thursday, August 20, when The Corvettes bring their mix of Doo Wop and Motown sounds to the Trolley Square amphitheater.  Be sure to get there early if you want a good spot.


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The Week Ahead – August 17-23


A little late, but let’s see what’s happening the rest of the week.

Santee Summer Concerts: Thursday, August 20, the final concert in the series features The Corvettesand their Doo Wop and Motown sounds.  The fun starts at 6:30 pm and goes until 8:00 pm.

Sunrise Santee: Tuesday, August 18, at the Santee Hometown Buffet (275 Town Center Parkway, across the parking lot from The Home Depot), beginning at 7:25 am.  This is a monthly mixer sponsored by the Santee Chamber of Commerce.  This month’s speaker is Amy Keefe of Cox Business.  Cost is $5 for breakfast and $1 for raffle and 50/50 drawing.

After-5 Mixer: Thursday, August 20, the monthly After-5 business mixer will be held at Simply Spa(278 Town Center Parkway, Suite 101, next to Ross).  The mixer runs from 5:30-7:30 pm and is a good opportunity to meet business owners from around Santee.  Cost is $5 for members and $10 for guests, plus whatever you want to spend for raffle tickets.

Frubble Events: This week Frubble will host Karaoke Evening on Thursday, August 20, and Open Mic Night on Friday, August 21.  Both events start at 8:00 pm.  Frubble is located at 9628 Carlton Hills Blvd., in the Pathways Community Church Center.

Mission Trails Regional Park: This week the Park will hold another week-long class called “Creepy Crawlies” for kids 6-10.  The class runs from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, but it may be too late to sign up.  Also this week there are Guided Nature Walks on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday starting at 9:30 am.

Movies by the Lake: The final movie in the series, Bolt, plays at Santee Lakes on Friday, August 21.  You can start setting up around 6:00 pm, games for kids start around 7:00 pm, and the movie starts around 8:00 pm.  Cost is $8 per car for parking, so load up the minivan or SUV and head on out.

If you have an event you think should be on the list, please let me know and I will update it.

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Emerald River Flows into Santee

Emerald River

Last Thursday, August 6, the Country group Emerald River performed at the weekly Santee Summer Concerts.  This is a fun group of musicians who put the “rock” into Country and the “Country” into rock.  With a play list that runs from Kenny Chesney, Sarah Evans, and Tim McGraw to Lynard Skynard, BTO, and the Rolling Stones, the group has something for just about everyone.  Their  music had fans up and dancing through the show.

Emerald River is led vocally by Mark Reno, Erin Marie Payne, and Craig Schmidt, with occasional leads by Greg Drilling and Ed Kunold.  The combination of voices works well, particularly on the more rocking Country tunes.  When not singing, Schmidt plays a mean lead guitar, easily covering all styles of music.  Drilling’s work on bass and Kunold’s on steel guitar add to the sound of the group.  Dan Albright on keyboards and Mike McGhee on percussion keep the beat going and add their own touch to the music.  Over the years they have opened for such well-known acts as Pat Green, LeAnn Rimes, and the Mavericks, and listening to them you can see why.

The crowd had a good time, dancing and rocking along with the music.  Several times impromptu line dances started up, as well as a couple songs specifically played for the line dancers.  In between the line dances the style was mostly free-form, although there were several couples who obviously knew what they were doing.  One of the highlights of the evening was their closing number – a rousing rendition of Lynard Skynard’s “Sweet Home Alabama” which morphed into a Countrified version of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London,” before returning to Alabama for the big finish.

Overall, Emerald River is a fun band – good music, good personalities – and well worth catching at one of their upcoming appearances.

Mark Reno – Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar

Mark Reno

Erin Marie Payne – Lead and Harmony Vocals

Erin Marie Payne

Craig Schmidt – Lead Guitar & Vocals

Craig Schmidt

Greg Drilling – Bass & Vocals

Greg Drilling

Ed Kunold – Rhythm Guitar, Steel Guitar, & Vocals

Dan Albright

Dan Albright – Keyboards

Dan Albright

Mike McGhee – Percussion

Mike McGhee

This Thursday the Bayou Brothers bring the sounds of Zydeco to the Summer Concert Series.


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The Week Ahead – August 10-16


Santee Summer Concert Series: This week the Bayou Brothers blow into Santee Trolley Square on Thursday, August 13, with the next-to-last concert in the series.  The music kicks off at 6:30 pm and lasts until 8:00 pm.

Santee Lakes: Night Fishing returns on Thursday, August 13, as Santee Lakes opens up for fishing from 5:00-11:30 pm.  Remember, you need a lantern and a night permit to fish – $8 for adults, $6 for juniors, and $3 for a second pole stamp.

Mission Trails Regional Park: This is another busy week at Mission Trails.  There will be several Guided Nature Walks, as always, but Friday you will have the choice between Stars at Mission Trails, hosted by the San Diego Astronomy Association (7:00-10:00 pm) and an Owl Prowl led by bird expert Mike Wellik (7:30-10:00 pm).  Meet at the Kumeyaay Campground for the Stars and at the Visitor Center for the Owls.  Then on Saturday there will be a Twilight Walk starting at the Kumeyaay Campground entrance.  Since this is a popular activity, be sure to call ahead to reserve a spot (619-668-2748).

If you have any other events, let me know and I will get them up.

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Primas “Scream” into Santee Summer Concert

Screamin' Primas in Action

The latest group to perform at the Santee Summer Concert Series was another tribute group, the Screamin’ Primas.  The group brought its salute to the musical legend, Louis Prima, to the Trolley Square amphitheater last Thursday, July 30.  It was an evening of jumpin’ and jivin’ to a mixture of big band, jazz, and Dixieland, including such classics as “Jump, Jive and Wail!” “Angelina – Zooma Zooma,” and “Mambo Italiano.”

Lynette and Guy Gonzales – Lead Vocals

Guy & Lynette

The Screamin’ Primas include husband and wife leads Guy and Lynette Gonzales, and a wailing brass section featuring Kevin Esposito on trombone, Mark Lessman on saxophone, and Steve Ebner on trumpet.  Backing them up and laying down the beat are Tom Stilman on drums, Bill Shreeve on keyboard, and Roger Daschle on upright bass.  Together they bring back that signature sound of the Prima era.

Dancing to the Screamin' Primas

The crowd, though not as large as for Cash’d Out, was just as enthusiastic, if not more so.  The “Primas” had them literally dancing in the aisles – and the stairs, when Guy Gonzales and the brass section did a “walk around” during the group’s performance of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”  It was a great evening of music presented by a wonderful group dedicated to bringing the music of Louis Prima to a new generation.

(L-R) Mark Lessman, Roger Daschle, Kevin Esposito, and Steve Ebner

Brass and Bass

Bill Shreeve and Tom Stilman

Bill Shreeve & Tom Stilman

The “Walk About”

The "Walk About"

This week Emerald River brings Country back to the Trolley Square amphitheater, starting at 6:30 pm on Thursday, August 6.


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Summer Concerts – A Small Problem

In Consideration of Others

Two Thursdays ago, when Cash’d Out played at the Trolley Center amphitheater, there was a problem of people setting out blankets to “save” spots, then going off and doing whatever they felt like.  This was a bigger problem at this concert than at previous concerts, because of the sizable crowd.  At the top of each of the stairways is a sign which asks concertgoers to refrain from certain actions “In consideration of others.”  The first of these is “Blankets Spread out to Save Places,” which is only polite.  If you are going to set out a blanket, then at least leave one person from your group there to save the place.  I saw a number of people who were trying to find a spot to sit, only to come across empty blanket spread out  to take up space.  Today I’m only going to show a couple of the “offending” blankets, but if this seems to be a continuing problem I might consider showing the people as well.  So let’s try to think of others, please.


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