Tag Archives: Santee Trolley Square

Senior Health Fair at Santee Trolley Square

The East County Senior Service Providers will present their 12th annual Senior Health Fair at the Santee Trolley Square amphitheater and food court on Friday, May 20, 2011. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. and runs until 1:00 p.m. The Health Fair will provide a variety of screenings including stroke, blood pressure, diabetes, and depression. There will also be information on educational programs, community and home care services, housing options, and volunteer opportunities. Over 60 vendors will be on hand to share information about their services. In addition there will be raffle cards for all who attend – get the vendors to sign off on your card and turn it in for drawings for prizes.

The Senior Health Fair is sponsored by the East County Senior Service Providers and by Grossmont Hospital, the Grossmont Healthcare District, and Santee Trolley Square. For information about attending the event, you can contact La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center at 619-667-1322. If you are a vendor interested in setting up an information table, contact Laura Printy from the Alzheimer’s Association at 858-966-3291. Santee Trolley Square is located at the eastern terminus of the San Diego Trolley Green Line, at 9850 Mission Gorge Rd.

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Lakeside Middle School Presents Songs of the Holidays

Thursday afternoon, December 17, the Lakeside Middle School Show Choir will perform at the Trolley Square amphitheater, starting at 4:00 pm. Now, I admit that I am a bit partial, since my daughter and several of her friends are in the group, but this Choir is one of the best I’ve heard. If you haven’t gotten into the holiday spirit yet, these kids are sure to put you over the top. They will be joined by the Lakeside Farms Elementary School Choir – another great-sounding group of kids. Come out, have some fun, and support the Arts in East County.

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Santee Kicks Off the Holiday Season

The holiday season officially came to Santee on Friday, November 20, when the annual Holiday Lighting Celebration took place at Santee Trolley Square. Put on by the City of Santee and sponsored by Waste Management, Santee Trolley Square, Daphne’s Greek Cafe, and Fireworks America, the event brought  a jolt of spirit to help start the season. Other participants this year included Target, Lowe’s, and the Santana High School cheerleaders. Also on hand were Miss Santee and Miss Teen Santee with their court, and Santa and Mrs. Claus.

I noticed that this year, whether because of the economy or other reasons, the Celebration was smaller than the previous year’s. There was still the music, the lighting of the tree, the iceless skating rink, and the carriage rides, but little more. Gone were the booths that filled the parking lot in front of the amphitheater last year. And the musical entertainment was also toned down, though still festive.

Singing Solo, a local program that provides kids age 6-18 the opportunity to sing in public, provided the pre-lighting music as well as covering for the main music group during their breaks.  The Singing Solo artists ranged from six-year-old Emily singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” to seventeen-year-old Kelsie doing a rocking version of  “Santa on the Rooftop.”  Also on the ticket for the evening was the U.S. Navy Band Southwest Brass Quintet with a selection of holiday music.

The highlight of the evening, of course, is always the lighting of the tree on the amphitheater stage. This year host and tree lighting duties were handled by Vice Mayor Brian Jones and his family, with help from the Clauses. Also on hand for the lighting were representatives from the City, Waste Management, Trolley Square, and the Miss Santee court.

The evening was fun, even though lower key than last year. But I do hope that this won’t be a trend for the future and that next year will have the community and business involvement missing this year.

(L-R) Santee Princesses Madison and Michelle, Miss Santee – Sierra Billock, Miss Teen Santee – Nicole Ehlke, Miss Congeniality – Maria Maes, Miss Teen Santee First Runner-Up – Taylor Shelton, Miss Teen Santee Third Runner-Up – Rebecca Hudson, Santee Princess Miranda

Lighting the Tree

Carriage Ride

Real Horsepower


Santana Cheerleaders at the Cookie Decorating Station

Santee Chamber of Commerce’s Own Reindeer (?) Greets the Clauses

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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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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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Southbound Jonny Kicks Summer Concert A**

Southbound Jonny

Last Thursday, July 9, the Santee Trolley Square amphitheater was jumping to the sounds of Southbound Jonny, “San Diego’s Most Wanted Country Band.”  The crowd was large and raucous, the music was loud and intense, and this “rowdy country band” was at its finest.  The group, fronted by John Watson on vocals and acoustic guitar, played a wide variety of music, from Brooks & Dunn to Bob Seger to a “drunken redneck” version of the Beatles “Things We Said Today.”  Watson was joined by lead guitarist/vocalist Glenn Wolff, drummer/vocalist Dave Largent, bassist/vocalist Tom Carper, and violinist/mandolinist/vocalist Dave Edelman.

John Watson

Watson, a Virginia native, came to the San Diego area in 1997 following a successful solo acoustic career in and around Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.  The tall Virginian is a commanding presence on stage, but what really keeps the crowd’s attention is his personality – a little bit redneck, a little bit comic, and a whole lot of fun.

Glen Wolff

If Watson is the focal point of the group, lead guitarist Wolff is the power pack.  Another product of the VA-DC-MD region, the Baltimore native brought his high-energy guitar work to San Diego in 1991 and definitely puts the “rock” in country-rock.  It was the pairing of Watson and Wolff that first created Southbound Jonny, and it’s easy to see the chemistry these two crazy musicians have together (see below).

Dave Edelman

Perhaps the least “country” of the group is New Yorker Edelman, who grew up in view of Central Park and originally trained in classical violin.  But one blast of his foot-stompin’ fiddling leaves no doubt that, if not country born he certainly has country in his soul.  After the concert he talked about trying to do something about his “grimaces” while playing, but those just accentuate the fervor of his playing.  His mandolin playing, while it doesn’t have the passion of his fiddle, was a great accent to several songs.

Dave Largent

Every good band needs that solid backbeat to keep the music running smoothly, no matter how crazy the front line might get.  The rock of that beat is Miami-born drummer Largent, a talented singer and song writer in addition to his prowess on the kit.  The second-most “local” of the group, he moved to San Diego as a boy and grew up to play opening act for the Beach Boys, Tom Johnson, and Dave Edmunds, among others.  The group plays several of his songs in their performances.

Tom Carper

The second half of the backbeat is bassist and San Diego native Carper – a multi-talented musician who cut his musical teeth on the trumpet in high school and later went on to play bass with numerous country artists.  While his on-stage presence is overshadowed by Watson, Wolff, and Edelman, his playing more than holds its own.

Southbound Dancing

As always, the dancing bug was biting full-force.  Impromptu line dances were the norm, but partner and free-style had their place as well, as did circle dances with Miss Santee and her First Runner Up.  The hit of the night, though, was one very young couple that had their moves down in spite of their age.

Winners of the “Cutest Couple” Award

"Cutest Couple" Winners

Miss Santee, Sierra Billock, and First Runner Up, Kimberly Swank

Sierra Billock and Kimberly Swank

Watson and Wolff Clown Around

Watson & Wolff

“Kickin’ It” with Southbound Jonny

"Kickin' It" with Southbound Jonny

Next week Spectrum brings its high-energy dance music to the Summer Concert Series.


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Holiday Season Has Arrived

Holiday Lighting Celebration

Yes, the Holiday Season has officially arrived in Santee.  Friday night (November 21) was the Holiday Lighting Celebration at Santee Trolley Square, complete with Santa Claus, Princesses, music, food, and lots of fun.  A very large crowd took part in the festivities, a welcome reminder that not all is gloom and doom as the news media seems to show these days.

Business and Community BoothsThe activities centered around the amphitheater, where Santa Claus and Mayor Randy Voepel were joined by the Miss Santee and Miss Santee Teen princesses for the actual lighting.  On the Target side were various community and business booths, including Camp Bow Wow, Waste Management, the Park and Recreation Department, Verizon, and KSON.  Several of the booths had prize wheels to spin along with a variety of goodies and trinkets to win.  This year the celebration included an iceless skating rink made of waxed plastic resin panels.  I didn’t try it out – not with my back – but the people who were out there seemed to be doing just fine and having a good time.


Iceless Skating

On the other side of the center were several craft and activity booths staffed by Lowe’s, Target, and the Santana Cheerleaders.  There were also carriage rides, which were very popular.  And of course, after his tree lighting duties Santa made time to meet the children who had come down.

Entertainment in the amphitheater was provided by the country band Southbound Jonny and the West Hills High School Choir.  Unfortunately the amplification wasn’t set up well for the choir, so it was difficult to hear this talented group of teens.  But Southbound Jonny was definitely a big hit, and had people dancing and singing along.

Thanks to all of the businesses and groups that donated time, talent, money, and more to make this a successful celebration.

Mayor Randy Voepel fires the shot that lights the tree

"The Shot"


Lighting the Tree

Fireworks – Always a nice touch


Mayor Randy Voepel – the Hardest Working Man in Santee – with
Miss Santee, Heather DePriest, and Miss Santee Teen, Lizzie Lingasin

Mayor, Miss Santee, Miss Santee Teen

KUSI Interviews Mayor Voepel

KUSI Interviews Mayor Voepel

Dancing to Southbound Jonny

Dancing to Southbound Jonny

The Lovely Runners Up

Runners Up


L-R: Sierra Billock, Miss Congeniality; Heather DePriest, Miss Santee, Kimberly Swank, Miss Santee First Runner Up; Maria Maes, Miss Santee Teen Fourth Runner Up; Lizzie Lingasin, Miss Santee Teen; Melissa Green, Miss Santee Second Runner Up; Cara Henson, Miss Santee Teen Third Runner Up; Michelle Green, Miss Santee Teen Second Runner Up; Emily Zobel, Miss Santee Teen First Runner Up

Miss Santee Princesses

West Hills High School Choir Entertains

West Hills High School Choir

The Popular Carriage Rides

Carriage Rides

Southbound Jonny Is…

Jon Watson – Lead Vocals and Acoustic Guitar

Jon Watson

Glen Wolff – Lead Guitar and Vocals

Glen Wolff

Dave Largent – Drums and Vocals

Dave Largent

Dave Edelman – Fiddle and Madolin

Dave Edelman

Giorgio Tupanjanin – Bass

Giorgio Tupanjanin


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