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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014


Seventh Annual Redwood Coast
Whale & Jazz Festival

April 2 - 20, 2009

Celebrating the annual Gray Whale Migration with whale activities
and featuring a 2009 Jazz Festival with an International flavor.

Redwood Coast Whale and Jazz Festival logo

2009 Events  -   Map  -   Tickets  -   Sponsors  -   Volunteers  -   Staff  -   Past Festivals

2009 Festival Staff & Support

Gualala Arts Staff

Scott Chieffo, Operations Manager
Barbara Pratt, Publicity Coordinator
Liz Redfield, Accounting
Gualala Arts Culinary Arts Guild
Festival Chowder Challenge Coordinator: Leslie Bates
Sound Engineer: Robert Hantzsche
Webmaster & Lighting Tech: Dave Jordan
Assistant Sound Tech: Wayne Harris
Stage Hand: Chad DeGarmo

Chowder Challenge Judges

George Marshall
Sita Milchev
Paul Batchelder

Festival Committee

David 'Sus' Susalla David "Sus" Susalla
Executive Director
Gualala Arts

Office: (707) 884-1138 Ext. 12
Fax: (707) 884-3038

David "Sus" Susalla was born in the middle of the Detroit riots during the "Summer of Love." During his youth in a Detroit suburb, he attended numerous theater, jazz and chamber music concerts, thus fueling a passion that has developed into a challenging career.

He put himself through accounting school at Ferris State University in Michigan by working at Roostertail, the largest catering facility in the mid-west. After traveling the USA and visiting 48 of the 50 states, he settled down in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was employed for seven years as Controller for Protected Investors of America, a San Francisco independent securities broker/dealer firm before moving to Gualala in 2001.

Becoming Operations Manager for the Gualala Arts Center in 2002 helped prepare Sus for his current role as Executive Director since September 2004. One of his goals is to unite our bi-county "Mendonoma" region with its diverse population through the arts. The Gualala Arts Center books over 1700 calendar events each year, operating with a core staff of 4 full time and 2 part time employees and 300 dedicated volunteers.

Sus and his wife, Harmony, own and operate an organic textile business called Harmony Art, whose mission is to revolutionize the textile industry into becoming more sustainable through environmental and social change. In his leisure time(!), you can find him in the kitchen preparing culinary treats for his many houseguests, behind the lens of a camera or editing digital audio, photo and video files.

Jan Harris Jan Harris
Festival Consultant

Office: (707) 884-4231

Jan Harris is a California native who grew up in the SF Bay Area, and on the Marin County coast. She has been a Gualala resident for three decades and is adamant that the Redwood "Mendonoma" Coast is where she will remain to the end of her days.

Harris is former Executive Director of the Redwood Coast Chamber of Commerce, an organization she served from 1995 to 2007. However, her background and passion is theater and music, both as a performer and director.

Arriving in Gualala in April of 1979, during her early years on the coast she directed the Coast Community Chorus, several Musical Theatre Workshops, two musicals: Gershwin's Of Thee I Sing and Bye Bye Birdie, three separate productions of Gian Carlo Menotti's Christmas opera Amahl & the Night Visitors in which she also played the leading role of Amahl's mother, and the dramatic Michael Cristofer play Shadowbox.

She also produced/directed the first Gualala Arts Midsummer Faire (1994) in Bower Park as part of the Art in the Redwoods Festival, as a Renaissance-style faire complete with fully-staged versions of Taming of the Shrew (director & Katherine), Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet (Gertrude) as "Shakespeare-in-the-Park". Harris also played leading roles in Peter Shaffer's White Liars and Noel Coward's Song at Twilight under other coastal directors. In the summer of 1993, she was costume designer of Gloriana Opera Company's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and her husband Wayne constructed the show's armor and footgear.

Harris owns Celebration Connection, offering services as non-denominational minister, wedding/event planner and wedding/event decorator. For the last 14 years as partner with husband, Wayne, she has owned and operated Adventure Rents Canoes & Kayaks on the Gualala River.

In March of 2007, Harris made a "comeback" to performing as one of the divas in the acclaimed "Broadway Babes are Back" Cabaret Revue at Gualala Arts Center. Currently, she is serving as Consultant to the Whale & Jazz Festival and other live entertainment events at the Arts Center and is Chair of the Festival of Trees Steering Committee. Eventually, she hopes to resume both performing and directing activities here on the coast.

Fred Adler Fred Adler — Festival Music Coordinator
KTDE 100.5 FM
Fax: 707.884.1229 (KTDE)

During the seminal jazz period of the 50's and 60's, Fred Adler frequented U.S. and European clubs and festivals, and was witness to multiple live performances of such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and others. By special invitation, he presented a three hour live special on Pacifica Radio (KPFA FM, Berkeley, CA) on the day of John Coltrane's death, July 17, 1967. During the 70's, Adler taught jazz history and appreciation seminars in Berkeley and Marin County.

His Jazz Radio programs include:

  • Sunday Evening Jazz on KZYX/Z FM Public Radio - Philo, CA, and on The Tide: KTDE 100.5 FM
  • Wednesday Night Jazz, Sunday Afternoon Jazz & Standards
  • Radio Yesteryear & Musical Treasures
  • Coastal Interviews
  • Sunday Morning Classical

Adler has conducted interviews with many jazz greats including Dave Brubeck. He has been the producer and MC of Sonoma and Mendocino Coast Jazz events since 1998, and the Festival Music Coordinator and MC of the Redwood Coast Whale & Jazz Festival since 2004.

In recent years, Adler was also instrumental in bringing Blues Legend Charlie Musselwhite, Blues Harmonica Virtuoso Mark Hummel and the great freedom singer, composer and guitarist Richie Havens to the Arena Theatre, the Redwood "Mendonoma" Coast's Art Deco-style live performing arts venue and film palace.

In the fall of 2006, Adler brought Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth to the Gualala Arts Center for a special one-night only performance, and on June 30, 2007 has arranged for Maria Muldaur to grace the Gualala Arts Center stage for a one-night only performance.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.