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City Looks to Host More Live Music at Mill Valley Community Center

Upcoming shows by New Riders of the Purple Sage founder David Nelson mark the latest move by City Hall to utilize the nearly 13-year-old facility.

Since it opened its doors in April 2001, the Mill Valley Community Center has hosted a slew of live music, from Mill Valley Film Festival events and private parties to post-Memorial Day concerts.

But over the past few months, the Community Center has been home to more independent live music events as City Hall looks to both make better use of the modern facility and maximize the revenue for the space.

“There is a strong interest in having more activities happening at the community center,” Recreation Director Jenny Rogers said. “That’s something a lot of people are excited about. But we’re trying to be very balanced in our approach – we’re not throwing the doors open and going wild with all sorts of events.”

In January, the center hosted the Golden Gate Opera performing "The Pharmacist,” with an afternoon set for the seniors and middle school students. The Mill Valley Philharmonic has also performed at the center recently and is set to do so again on March 8.

And in perhaps the best example of city officials’ interest in expanding the use of the Community Center, Murphy Productions is bringing in New Riders of the Purple Sage founder David Nelson, a one-time collaborator of Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, to perform two shows Feb. 15 and 16.

Jenny Rogers is the former Cultural Arts Supervisor in San Francisco. In hiring Rogers, City Manager Jim McCann broadened the scope of the position in recognition of the status of arts and culture in the broader recreational landscape in Mill Valley.

Rogers said she has had a flurry of inquiries from arts groups and promoters about the Community Center since she arrived in July 2012.

“It’s a beautiful room and a perfect space in many ways because you have the parking lot and we’re not right on top of neighbors here,” she said. “But we’re not throwing the doors open and going wild. It’s really about being responsive to opportunities as they come.”

The 411: The David Nelson Band performs at 8 p.m. at the Mill Valley Community Center on Feb. 15-16. Get info at murphyproductions.com or at Famous4 at 96 Throckmorton Ave. in Mill Valley. Cost: $30 general admission or $40 reserved seat.

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Rico March 09, 2013 at 06:59 PM
I was at the David Nelson Band concert, it was great. Plenty of room for VIP seating and dancing too. The access is good and there is plenty of parking. Also, there is a patio where people can go out and socialize and smoke too. One thing though, that main hall is not well designed for loud rock concerts, the sound bounces around and is actually amplified even more. . I don't know what it would take to improve the acoustics of that hall, and maybe the performers could turn down their amps a bit. I wore earplugs and still my ears were ringing a bit the next day. Of course there will be other events besides rock bands. All in all I think it is a great idea to start better utilizing the M.V. community center, we the taxpayers paid a heap of money for that complex, and not everyone in town swims in the pool during workdays !

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