Oct 22, 2013 4:34 PM by Jeanette Trompeter

Impromptu sunset jam sessions unite neighborhood

Anyone who knows me well at all, knows my love affair with the benches of Shell Beach. At various times in my life there have been different benches that call my name. They are magic places where I watch sunset, sunrise, or just sit and stare at the ocean.

About 6 months ago I was craving a little solitude and was drawn to yet another one where I could be alone. But what drew me to it was the music of Brian Jeffrey Goldfaden. It ended up leading to a whole new circle of friends and more proof, There's No Place Like Home.

On this given day, during that beautiful transition from afternoon to evening, I opted to take a pass on heading to my regular sunset spot and took a seat on a new bench where I could soak up the serenity of this magic time alone. A bench or two down the way, just within earshot, there was a guy playing his music for no one in particular it seemed, but for the beauty that lay before him.

We never spoke a word but my heart smiled as a young girl joined him and began to sing along. It was a magic little moment even before I noticed the words to their song. "I sat here and listened to Brian and just thought I'd join in and sing." says 11-year-old Holland Rolapp after joining him in the chorus to his song "Moment".

Turns out Holland and I weren't the only ones drawn to this place at this time. Bob Seeley used to just walk his dogs by this bench, but finally decided to bring his guitar and join in one night. "The whales come by, the dolphins come and listen, the otters cheers us on, clap sometimes."

Over time a hodge podge of personalities have joined in the ritual. A public works director. A retired lumberman, a psychotherapist. "Oh my God. This is where we play. This is our auditorium." says Bob Seeley as he looks out at the view.

There are no set times for Brian and the gang to perform. These sunset serenades usually start with Brian bringing his six-strings to the bench. "I come down when I feel like it. Yes. Which is often." says Brian.

And in the process of making music by the sea, friendships were made as well. Rick Warner found out just how much so when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. The group that gathers at this bench, gathered support as well to help Rick and Shannon get through her diagnosis. "Our friends from the bench got together and we didn't cook a meal for 6 months. They got together and between Sue and Bryan's wife Nikki...and they all got together and every night someone showed up at our house with a dinner, for 6 months." Rick remembers with a grateful heart.

Whether heartache or health issues drew them to this bench, Brian's music seems to inspire some healing. "I think everyone has been through heartbreak, or transition in their lives. and I'm no exception to that. So that's kind of the reason I started writing. So I think that's why a lot of my songs are about finding hope in the face of heartache. And believing that the best is yet to come."

And that starts, with being in the moment....whether skies are crystal clear and the horizon ahead is in easy to see, or when clouds and fog slip in for a spell and blurred the beauty some. There is magnificence in the moment non-the-less. You just have to take the time to take it in. "It's unreal." says Carroll Robinson, who has only lived on the Central Coast for four months but says he knows everybody by hanging around the bend. "It is magic. It IS Magic. I love it. Welcome home!" Welcome home indeed.

Brian Jeffrey will be performing at Shell Cafe in Pismo Beach this Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There is no charge.

For more on Brian Jeffrey, check his facebook page out by clicking here, or his YouTube Channel, click here.



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