Hidden Valley Seminars

The Magic of Hidden Valley

By Ashley English, Hidden Valley Music Seminars

There is something hidden here.

As I make my way down the driveway and onto the dirt road, I can’t help but wonder, what magic have I found? I marvel at the greenery, the natural beauty that is so characteristic of Carmel Valley. But here, there is something different. An energy, a story, a spirit.

I open my car door to the crisp, cool air of the morning. I’m greeted by the sweetest sound of playful birds as they pass overhead, by the rustle of leaves in a delicate breeze that seems to settle the day into place. There is a stillness here. And yet, knowing what I know about this place, the stillness, the quietude, is but one thread in this intricate quilt called Hidden Valley.

For those of you who have been to Hidden Valley Music Seminars, you know of the magic I’m referring to. It can’t be fully articulated, but it can be fully felt by any person who chooses to cross its threshold.

Hidden Valley Music Seminars was born 53 years ago in 1963 out of a deep concern for the development of extraordinarily talented young artists. It wasn’t until 1972 that it found its current home, nestled in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. For 44 years, Hidden Valley has been a constant in the Carmel Valley community. The number of people it has touched, the number of people who have experienced this place, is too many to count. And yet, it has somehow been able to maintain this incredible sense of both exclusivity and community. It is both a best-kept secret and a welcome home.

And it truly has something for everyone. From concerts to operas to master classes to retreats to Road Scholar programs to special community events, there is a little bit of everything here. Whether you have come for education or for entertainment purposes, there is no shortness of either. One day you may encounter the lively dynamism of a jazz ensemble, the next you may hear an advanced violin student drilling a difficult passage from Paganini’s Caprice No. 24, and still the next you may stumble upon a group of ukulele players strumming their instruments, creating a chorus of sound. You may see a bride blushing as she says her “I dos,” or a world-class performer readying herself before taking the stage, or the most gorgeous arrangement of flowers you have ever seen, vying for best in show. The sights, the sounds, the feelings—this is Hidden Valley.

I will be using this blog as a platform to alert you (all of you!) to the incredible events that are taking place here at Hidden Valley. I don’t want you to miss a moment of the magic! April will be gone before we know it, but Hidden Valley will be hosting three wonderful community events that will make the remainder of your month both memorable and enjoyable.

On Saturday, April 16 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm, Silvestri Vineyards will be holding a Spring Release Party where they will be debuting the newest Silvestri Estate Wine, “Piave” Pinot Noir. This event will be an afternoon of wine, music, and food that will be sure to delight all attendees. Cost of attendance is $50 per person for individuals who are not yet Silvestri Wine Club members, and free for those who are currently members. If you didn’t have a reason to join the Wine Club before, you most certainly have one now! Reserve your spot for the party in person at the Silvestri Tasting Room or by calling (831) 625-0111. Space is filling fast so be sure to reserve your tickets as soon as possible!

After you’re done indulging in what’s sure to be your new favorite pinot, come back to Hidden Valley for a concert presented by the Monterey County Composers’ Forum on Sunday, April 17 at 3:00pm. This, That or Something Else will offer an eclectic mix of original compositions written by local composers. Hidden Valley has always supported the growth of local artists, and this event is one of those rare opportunities where local composers get to hear their compositions played live, with living, breathing, talented musicians animating the notes, phrasing, and character that they’ve so painstakingly developed. Special guest performers include violinist and composer Farkhad Khudyev and horn player John Orzel.

I feel it is important to both warn you and encourage you when it comes to this event. This concert will likely be a mishmash of good, bad, and eye-opening. You will hear things you’ve never heard before (which is incredibly exciting!) and may even hear things you never want to hear again. Having been to composer forums before in other locales, I can say that there is something truly special about hearing a new composer’s work come to life for the first time. It’s kind of like riding a rollercoaster—one minute you’re excited, the next you’re terrified, the next you feel a bit sick, the next you’re giggling with child-like glee. Don’t let the newness and unfamiliarity deter you! And full disclosure, you may see me in the back row with my hands in the air, eagerly anticipating the next twist and turn of this ride. A $10 donation that will go to MCCF is suggested for admission, and donations to benefit Women Alive! Emergency Shelter will also be accepted. For more information, please contact Steve Ettinger via phone at (831) 385-0973 or via email at dallapiccolo@msn.com.

We will round out the month of April with The Carmel Valley Garden Show on Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1 from 10:00am to 4:00pm. If you love beautiful plant and floral displays or if you’re looking for products and advice on how to enhance your garden, be sure to make it to this event! There will be accredited judging and demonstrations, a Silent Auction with proceeds going to local non-profits dedicated to improving the beauty and environment in Carmel Valley, prominent local artists, activities for preschool to upper elementary kids, a marketplace with hand-picked vendors dedicated to helping you with your garden, and lots of delicious food and beverages! This is an event for the entire family and both parking and admission are free! Then, on Saturday evening from 6:00 to 8:30pm, get a babysitter and come back for the Garden Gala celebratory party featuring hors d‘oeuvres, wine, and entertainment amidst all of the entries in the flower show. Advance tickets for the Garden Gala are $20 and tickets at the door are $25.

Spring is off to a beautiful start here at Hidden Valley, and we can’t wait to open our arms and our doors to all of you! Come and experience the everlasting magic of this place! Because, after all, who couldn’t use a little more magic?

Coming Up Next at Hidden Valley:
Jura Margulis Concert
Tuesday, May 17 at 7:30pm
Café Musique
Monday, May 23 at 7:30pm

Ashley English, Hidden Valley Seminars By Ashley English, Hidden Valley Music Seminars


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