If your goal is to kick back and experience a first-class performance, Sonoma County offers two top options: Green Music Center on the Sonoma State University campus in Rohnert Park, and Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa.
As its name implies, this place is all about music, music, music. Enjoy performances in the intimate, cathedral-like, 240-seat Schroder Hall, or experience the astounding acoustics and light, bright, three-story setting of 1,400-seat Joan and Sanford I. Weill Concert Hall.
And in the summer months, the back of the concert hall opens entirely for the Weill Hall + Lawn season, where audience members can sit inside, sit outdoors at tables and chairs, or picnic on blankets on the terraced lawn. You can dine on seasonal delights at the onsite Prelude restaurant (open only on performance dates), pre-order an elegant box meal, buy items like cheese platters or sandwiches at onsite concessions, or bring your own picnic supper.
There are many choices, including the type of show you want to experience. The performance lineup for the center’s venues can include chamber music, symphony orchestras, jazz, bluegrass, cabaret, blues, recitals, soloists, world music, dance, acrobats, and comedy.
Green Music Center, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park, 866-955-6040
From its fabulous onstage performances to the dramatic outdoor sculptures found all over its campus, the nonprofit Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa clearly celebrates both performing and visual arts.
Year-round, this center features an eclectic mix of music, theater, dance, stand-up comedy, lectures, family shows, and more in its newly renovated facility. In the 1,625-seat Ruth Finley Person Theater, no seat is more than 75 feet away from the front of the main stage, with great sightlines creating an intimate experience.
Luther Burbank Center is also home to three resident theater companies. One showcases emerging regional talent in an assortment of productions; another offers professional productions of contemporary and classic musicals and plays; and the third presents challenging, engaging plays in an intimate setting. Plus, the center's family fun series of performances includes art crafts before the show, and a chance to meet the cast afterward.
And everywhere you look on the center's property, you'll see amazing outdoor art, of all sizes and styles. Be sure to stroll through the sculpture garden on the northern edge of the center's property, where 16 massive sculptures made of salvaged old growth redwoods and metal appear to have simply grown in place.
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, 707-596-0902.
Whatever your performance preference, these two Sonoma County venues offer something for everyone. Check our calendar listings for upcoming events.
Written by Sonoma Insider Patricia Lynn Henley.