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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014


Tenth Annual
Whale & Jazz Festival

April, 2013

 Whale and Jazz Festival logo

2013 Events    -    About W&J    -    Sponsors    -    Volunteers    -    Staff    -    Past Festivals


Festival Producer

David 'Sus' Susalla, Executive Director of Gualala Arts

Festival Music Coordinator

Fred Adler - KTDE 100.5 FM

Festival Consultant

Jan Harris

Festival Staff & Support

Scott Chieffo, Gualala Arts Operations Manager
Meghan Diggins, Gualala Arts Business Manager
Sound Engineer: Robert Hantzsche
Sound Technician: Wayne Harris
Webmaster & Lighting Technician: Dave Jordan
Piano Technician: Dr. Will Reed
Stage Hand & General Laborer: Chad DeGarmo

Chowder Challenge Judges

Mary Alinder
Paul Batchelder
Maria Agis
Steve McLaughlin
Robert (Bob) Claflin

Festival Volunteers

Volunteer your time, energy and expertise
to the Whale & Jazz Festival

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, living in and around Marin County until moving to Gualala in 1979. She loves this area and hopes to remain here to the end of her days.

During her early years on the coast she directed the Coast Community Chorus, several Musical Theatre Workshops, two 'book' musicals: 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), a Renaissance-style fair in Bower Park as part of Art in the Redwoods, and "Shakespeare-in-the-Park," complete with condensed but fully-staged versions of Taming of the Shrew (director & Katherine), Midsummer Night's Dream (director) and Hamlet (Gertrude). 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's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with husband Wayne constructing the show's armor and footgear.

Since 1994, she has owned and operated Adventure Rents Canoes & Kayaks on the Gualala River, in partnership with husband, Wayne, and Celebration Connection, as a non-denominational minister, wedding and event planner and decorator.

As former Executive Director of the Redwood Coast Chamber of Commerce, she served the Chamber from 1995 to 2007 in various capacities. However, her main background and passion is theater and music as both performer and director. Jan returned to performing as one of the divas in the acclaimed "Broadway Babes are Back" Cabaret Revue at Gualala Arts Center (2007).

Harris co-created the Whale & Jazz Festival in 2003 with former Gualala Arts Executive Director, Karel Metcalf, and has continued on the Festival Steering Committee to the present. She now serves as Festival Consultant, and in 2011, performed as guest artist with Java & Jazz, on April 3 at the Blue Canoe in Anchor Bay.

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

During the seminal jazz period of the '50s and '60s, 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 '70s, Adler taught jazz history and appreciation seminars in Berkeley and Marin County.

His radio programs include:

  • Coastal Interviews - KTDE 100.5 FM, Gualala, CA
  • Jukebox Saturday Night - KTDE 100.5 FM, Gualala, CA
  • Sunday Morning Classical - KTDE 100.5 FM, Gualala, CA
  • Sunday Musical Journey- KTDE 100.5 FM, Gualala, CA
  • Sunday Evening Jazz - KZYX/Z FM Public Radio, Philo, CA

Adler has conducted interviews with many jazz greats including Dave Brubeck, Marian McPartland, Tierney Sutton, Larry Vuckovich and Jackie Ryan. He has been the producer and emcee of numerous Sonoma and Mendocino Coast Jazz events since 1998, and has been the Festival Music Coordinator and emcee of the Whale & Jazz Festival since 2004. With the exception of the Chamber Music Series, Adler is also the Gualala Arts Music Coordinator. Audio interviews at

In recent years, he 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 Theater, the 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 in the summer of 2007 arranged for Maria Muldaur to grace the Gualala Arts Center stage for a one-night only performance.

In 2010, Fred Adler was honored by pianist / composer Larry Vuckovich for his unique contributions to the jazz world. The world premiere of Adler's Allegro & Adagio, which was composed in his honor, was performed for a special Gualala Arts concert entitled Latin and West Coast Sounds: Larry Vuckovich International Sextet.

Adler is also the spearhead of the newly established Global Harmony Series, "Encouraging global harmony by sharing cultures through the arts," which celebrated its 2nd Annual month of events in October, 2011, at Gualala Arts Center.

For the 2011 Whale & Jazz Festival, Fred performed his "syncopated reveries" at Poetry & Jazz, April 21 at 215 Main in Point Arena.

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.