I moved to Lafayette in 1996 from Maxwell Park in Oakland. Our son was about to enter kindergarten and we wanted great schools for him. A large part of how we chose our new community had to do with the schools, but more specifically, music in the schools. Both my husband and I are professional musicians so we understand the value and importance of a thriving music program for child development. This is hard to find, but Lafayette has it!
Once we moved into our beautiful Burton Valley neighborhood, we discovered that our new community also had a thriving music scene. I credit this to the Stanley Middle School music teacher Bob Athayde who built a virtual music empire at the school that radiates into the community, providing a ripe environment for me to move my concert series here.
I am the Founder, Artistic Director, and Violist with the Gold Coast Chamber Players, presenting ongoing classical chamber music concerts in Lafayette (www.GCCPmusic.com). We bring our internationally renowned artists who perform on our concerts into classrooms for our community’s students.
There’s a wonderful music store in town, Lamorinda Music, run by a local couple, John and Colleen McCormick. They have everything your heart desires in terms of instruments, sheet music, and gifts. They have teachers on site for private lessons too. Zavaleta Studios is another great place for music lessons, particular for young children. Restoration Pianos on Golden Gate Way is great for help with your piano.
My son plays the trombone and when he was at Stanley Middle School, he joined the Rossmoor Big Band. Rossmoor is a retirement community about 10 minutes from Lafayette. The students get to play and perform with a wide variety of older musicians. I remember my son and his friend horsing around with the wheelchairs at a break. The atmosphere was great for everyone.
You’ll find a variety of concerts of all types at the local library. The Don Tatzin Community Hall had an amazing Steinway piano, so it’s a favorite place for many to give recitals and concerts.
The Lafayette Chamber of Commerce provides free concerts every Friday in June at the Plaza (rock n’ roll), an annual Concert at the Res (Lafayette Reservoir), and a host of local events featuring musicians. At the Res Run every October, you can hear the Stanley Middle School band serenading runners!
Lafayette is such a great place to live that it draws professional musicians live here too. Members of the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera have raised their families in this amazing community. I’ve been surprised and delighted by how much is going on in a small suburban community, and I’m happy to contribute to our thriving music scene!
Submitted by Pamela Freund-Striplen