Art & Culture

Music in the Park series kicks off at Dunne Park

First event with jazz and classic rock introduces free outdoor music concert series

Visitors to Hollister’s Dunne Park were treated to two hours of live music on the evening of Aug. 29, as the first of a three-part music concert performance series, Music in the Park, kicked off. People were able to gather in the park, on the grass and in the shade, to listen to the performances of David Huboi and the Architecturals, and Mr. O’s Jazz Band.

“My whole goal is live music. Living, breathing people playing music,” said Joe Ostenson, who collaborated with Francie Ostenson and Greg Harvey to put together the live music series. “Live music gives you the soul and the heartbeat of the people who are playing.”

More than 50 spectators were gathered shortly after the beginning of the outdoor concert, during the Architecturals’ classic rock performance. The number grew as people trickled into the park, and by the first few songs of Mr. O’s Jazz Band, more than 70 people were scattered around the park, able to watch from up close or from a shaded distance.

“I’m very encouraged that they made the effort, even though there wasn’t the audience this group really deserved,” said Jody Larson, a longtime music teacher from Hollister, who came to watch the performances. “They should do it more often.”

“I really enjoyed it,” said Bruce Riehl, of Hollister. “It was really upbeat.” Regarding the Architecturals performance, he said, “It’s all real varied which is real nice.” Going on to speak about Mr. O’z Jazz Band, he said, “I like that 1940s music, so that was the highlight for me.”

“I love to have the people come out and see us,” said Ostenson. When asked if he had anything to say to the audience, he added, “Thank you very much for being here.”

Two more Music in the Park events are planned for Sept. 26 and Oct. 24, also in the evening in Dunne Park, and also free to the public. The series will take a break for the winter, but plans are already in the works to bring Music in the Park back for Spring, 2016.

Larson said he’d attend the future events. “The more the better. Anything that pushes the music program, I’m in favor of it. If we could get more of them and encourage more people to come out here, we could tell them it’s a nice place to come listen to music out in the open with a nice breeze blowing.”

Riehl said he’d be back to watch upcoming events in the series. He noted, “Those people spend hours practicing, and it’s nice for them to be able to share their talent with us.”

The first performance of the evening was David Huboi and the Architecturals. Attendees and passersby were able to hear classic rock tunes playing out over the speakers throughout the park and into the surrounding neighborhood.

The band has been through different iterations in its approximately three years, and the performers on stage for Music in the Park were: David Huboi on lead guitar, Sean Cheng on rhythm guitar, Andy Lief on keyboard, Billy Edwards on bass, and Dean Machado on drums. Vocalists were Lief and Genie Lee.

“We have a lot of diverse talents from different walks of life,” said Huboi. “We’re coming about to reach our identity.” He noted their style mixes elements of “Latin, jazz, funk, R&B, classic rock, and blues,” and went on to say, “Everything I play as a guitar player has got some blues to it.” When asked about his reaction to the band’s performance, Huboi said, “It went good. A few things needed tightening up. By the time we play at the Olive Festival and the San Benito County Fair, we should be in good shape by then.”

The initial hour had lower numbers of concert-goers which grew into a peak toward the end of the set. When asked about the audience turnout, Huboi said, “It’s been hot and I wasn’t sure what kind of turnout we would get. I’m happy. As word gets out and people talk to their friends and relatives, it’ll grow.” He went on to say, “It’s great that the 50 or so people are here. Mr. O is a wonderful guy bringing music to the community and lifting the spirit of the community.”

One challenge of playing outdoors is dealing with the sound falloff, but Hollister’s outdoors provided an additional challenge to the musicians. “The Hollister wind,” Huboi said. “When we started out playing the Farmers'  Market, the wind would come and knock our instrument stands over. We’re used to it. It’s a matter of playing and keeping your foot on the music stand so it doesn’t blow over.”

The second band in the lineup was Ostenson’s own Mr. O’s Jazz Band, which featured dozens of musicians in an orchestral performance. 

“This is a community band that consists of people ages 13 up to people in their 60s and 70s,” said Ostenson. “We meet once a week over at Mr. O’s Academy of Music. We play big band music and swing music.”

When asked his response to the performance, Ostenson said, “It was great. I think they enjoyed it and they wanted more.”

“We’ll be happy to come back,” said Huboi of a potential return to the stage during future Music in the Park evenings.

“It’s good to get people to come out and listen to music and let their cares go away on a Saturday afternoon,” said Huboi in summary of the musical evening. “Hopefully it’s going to last for a long time.”

Sean Roney

Sean is a writer and photographer from California’s Central Coast. He began reporting for BenitoLink in 2015. Sean received his BA in communication from CSU Monterey Bay and he has covered news stories in San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Clara counties. He enjoys traveling California to meet interesting people as well as visit breathtaking places, and is always happy to sit down and share stories. In his free time, Sean enjoys cycling, bikepacking, and novel writing.