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Faces of the Foundry: Greg Cameron

Greg Cameron

 

The top notch sound system helmed by uber professional Greg Cameron is one of the many touches setting the Miners Foundry apart from other venues.  L.A.’s loss is Nevada County’s gain, many times over!

Are you originally from Nevada County?  If not, why did you decide to move to Nevada County?  Where are you from originally? 

I’m actually from Los Angeles. I moved here to take a job with AJA Video Systems so I could raise my family in potentially better environment.

How did you discover the Foundry in the first place?

I had a professional sound system that needed home after my family moved up here in 2008 from Los Angeles. My wife Sheila Cameron had mentioned that she read in the paper a place called Miners Foundry in downtown Nevada City was having an open house a couple of months after we moved here. She suggested I go to the open house and see if they might be in need of new sound system. So I took my young daughter to the open house – my first visit to Miners Foundry.

What were your initial impressions of the Foundry?

I was immediately intrigued by the building and it’s history. I found it truly fascinating.

What do you like the best about the Miners Foundry?

I love the building like a second home. I feel comfortable when I’m there. But most of all, I like the people who work there & run the place very much. And I really enjoy making so many new friends and acquaintances because of my relationship with Miners Foundry.

Why did you choose to become involved with the Foundry?

It became apparent that my sound system would be a good match with the Foundry during my first visit. I love music & art. I love being a live sound engineer. The Foundry is and has been an ideal place for me to enjoy the things I love. But it’s ideal because of the uniqueness of the place and the great people who run it.

How long have you been associated with the Foundry?

I’ve been sound engineering at Miners Foundry now for almost 8 years.

What types of events do you most enjoy?

Live music is probably my favorite type of event at Miners Foundry. But I have also enjoyed many weddings and fundraising events at the Foundry as well as Film Festivals. So many great thing happen there.

Do you have a funny or touching story to share about an experience at the Foundry?

I would have to say the New Year’s Eve show going into 2015 was one of the most fun and interesting events I’ve experienced. It didn’t start out that way. I wasn’t in the best of moods that day. Then half way into the celebration, the power went out in Nevada City. There was a scramble to try and get the show going again using various generators. But they all had something wrong with them. Whilst we tried to figure out what to do, the drummers from the bands started to jam. And people were good spirited about it. The party kept going, people kept filing into the building. The fun and great vibe of Nevada City was in full swing. After an hour of so of no power, we were just about to call the show and send everyone home. Literally seconds before I was to make the announcement, the power came on. I hurriedly got the PA situation back in order after trying to reroute power to the generators and got the band going. The energy of trying to save the show when there was no power really made things extra special when the power did finally come back on. The night turned out pretty magically I thought. I think a lot of folks agreed.

Would you encourage others to become involved with the Miners Foundry?  Why?  

I would strongly encourage folks to get involved with the Foundry or contribute to it in any way they can. The building and space is special. Many of the events that go on there are special. The place is an epicenter of art and community. And it needs help to keep it going. Aside from music fundraisers and weddings, the Foundry hosts art shows, dance classes, acting classes, spelling bees, and community meetings. The more people that get involved, the merrier. This place is for the people of this community and surrounding communities. If it wasn’t here, there would certainly be something vital missing from the community.

 

Faces of the Foundry: David “Sparky” Parker

Group 4

Chris Harada

 

Artist, historian, firefighter, bartender, and community leader David “Sparky” Parker has a long history with the Miners Foundry and Nevada City.  Here he shares a healthy dose of Spring Street history, where our community’s heart beats, and why he always looks at man hole covers.

Are you originally from Nevada County? If not, why did you decide to move to move to Nevada County? Where are you from originally?

After 46 years of living here it seems original but the answer is no. A college fraternity brother’s future wife lived in Nevada City and we would visit town. Loved it from the start. After graduation spent a Spring through Fall in Squaw Valley mostly having days filled with out door adventures with night adventures at the infamous Bear Pen Bar.  When the snow started to fly went down the hill to Winter in Nevada City and never left. Grew up in California’s rich farm land in the Sacramento—San Joaquin River Delta.

How did you first  discover the Miners Foundry?

So my first look at Miners Foundry, the place was a working foundry with what is the now parking lot filled with steel stuff and a very busy forklift. One of the things manufactured there were man hole covers which for years had me looking at man hole covers everywhere I went. The City of Sacramento had many, as on each cover you could find Miners Foundry Nevada City California on it. Spring Street was very different in those days as next door was Len’s Surplus (Sushi in the Raw to Nevada City Winery) which was really a fine junk yard.

What were your initial impressions of the Foundry?

My first real impressions came when Charles Osborn and David Woods began work towards starting the American Victorian Museum (AVM). I give full credit to Charles and David for saving the Foundry from destruction. Then they founded Community Radio KVMR and that became a Nevada City gem as well.  The AVM began to become a museum and in the process started a Sunday brunch which became a Sunday thing to do in town. That is when I fell in love with the Stone Room and all it’s charm which has never left me.

What do you like best about the Miners Foundry?

The feeling that Miners Foundry is one of the beating hearts of our community.

Why did you choose to become involved with the Foundry?

Let’s face it.  There is no better place with great history, charm and staff and is the home of America’s one-of-a-kind group The Famous Marching Presidents of Nevada City California.

What types of events do you most enjoy?

Many events at the venue advance the pleasure too.

Do you have a funny or touching story to share about an experience you’ve had at the Foundry?

In 2016 The Famous Marching Presidents turn 29 and almost half that time the Foundry has been our home. Each year the group honors an individual for outstanding community service with the Col. William “ Bill “ Lambert Award.  I have had the honor for 25 years to give the Lambert Award to the honoree. Almost all in the Stone Room. Woo woo to that!

 

 

Faces of the Foundry – Jesse Locks

Jesse Locks

 

The talented and spirited Director of the Nevada City Film Festival has a second role as the Marketing Director for the Miners Foundry.  Today Jesse Locks shares her thoughts on community connections, historical preservation, and the importance of sharing stories, plus a shout out to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

 

Are you originally from Nevada County?

Yes, born and raised, but I moved back to Nevada City in 2007 after being gone for ten years. During that time I went to college, lived up and down the West Coast while working in publishing.

How did you first discover the Miners Foundry?

The Miners Foundry has always been a huge part of my life. I remember the Seven Hills Medieval Feast, going to Fright Night (for the kids) and seeing bands like Cake perform, but I think the most profound show was the two night concert for Roger Hodgson’s Rites of Passage show.  I grew up with his daughter and son, and that was the first time I was part of a major event.

What were your initial impressions of the Foundry?

I’ve always loved the Miners Foundry. It feels like a second home.  Even today I walk through the halls and feel so connected to not only my personal past but that of my community’s. I have such respect for David and Charles and the many others who had the vision and foresight to protect this cultural and historic asset for future generations to enjoy.

How long have you been working for the Foundry?

I think it has been three years now.

What do you like the best about the Miners Foundry?

I love that so many different community and performing arts events happen under the roof of the Miners Foundry, but what I like best is that connection to the past. It is imperative for us to know where we come from to understand where we can or need to go. I love that the beautiful stone fireplace has warmed people for more than 150 years.

What are your favorite types of events at the Foundry? Why?

In addition to working for the Miners Foundry I work with several organizations that hold events (Nevada City Film Festival, Paul Emery, Music in the Mountains, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, etc) there as well plus I was one of the founders of the wildly successful Nevada City Craft Fairs and instrumental in bringing the Red Hot Chili Peppers to perform, but my favorite types of events are the student spelling bees. It is so much fun to have so many young people together at one time.

Do you have a funny or touching story to share about the Foundry?

Many year’s ago the Miners Foundry asked me to help produce a video for their 150th anniversary and part of a series of short films for Nevada County Arts. I had the opportunity to interview many individuals who were instrumental over the years including Alan Haley, Wyn Spiller, Ellen Davis, Paul Matson, and Charles Woods and Mike Nevius who have both passed away now. To listen to them all share their stories and their love of the building brought tears to my eyes and I felt this overwhelming responsibility to help protect and preserve the building. I think the only place in Nevada County that is more loved than the Miners Foundry is the Yuba River.

 

 

What advice would you give someone planning to attend an event at the Foundry?

Take the time to walk around the building and look at the various artifacts and relics, read the signage and soak in the history, because there is no other place like it in the world.

Would you encourage others to become involved with the Miners Foundry? Why?

Absolutely, as a community entrusted with these beautiful historic buildings we must get involved in the continued preservation and up keep of them, and that includes donating one’s time or talents and definitely becoming a member.

 

Faces of the Foundry – Nick Ggem

Nick Ggem

It’s tough to capture a photo of Nick Ggem at the Miners Foundry, as he’s always in motion.  Regular visitors to the building, however, are very familiar with his quick smile and calm demeanor.  Here he reveals his stage diving past, a melt your heart wedding moment, and his behind the scenes advice to anyone planning a Foundry event.

 

Are you originally from Nevada County?  Why did you decide to move to Nevada County?

I was born and raised in Los Angeles.  I came to here to disappear.  Ha!

How did you first discover the Foundry?

I came to see a punk show in 1992, I believe.  There may have been stage diving…

What were your initial impressions of the Foundry?

I thought it was a funky, rustic little venue that perfectly suited this town.

How long have you been working at the Foundry?

A few years.

What do you like best about the Miners Foundry?

The Foundry is a place where art and culture are consistently appreciated by locals and visitors.

What are your favorite types of events at the Foundry?

Tough to pick one… but I think my favorites are the outdoor First Friday Art Walk concerts in summer.  Long summer evenings, music, wine, people… what’s not to love?

Do you have a story to share about an event at the Foundry?

I was in the kitchen when a bride and groom came in after their wedding ceremony.  They were in each other’s arms, giggling, saying “I can’t believe we did it!”  They looked like kids on Christmas morning.  They didn’t see me, but I’ll never forget the genuine, blissful look of pure happiness on their faces.  I think I got something in my eyes after that one…

What advice would you give clients planning an event at the Foundry? 

Ask staff such as myself, Kat, and Gretchen questions, and tell us what you are planning.  There is a good chance we could make suggestions on how to make your event smoother.

 

Faces of the Foundry – Jeffrey Dupra

Jeffrey Dupra

 

Jeffrey Dupra could be described as a true Renaissance man of Nevada County.  A talented writer, artist, performer, and musician, he generously spends much of his time volunteering for many local organizations, including the Miners Foundry.   Today he shares his love of the Yuba, history, and Iris Dement.

Are you originally from Nevada County?  If not, why did you decide to move to Nevada County?  Where are you from originally? 

I am from Rochester New York originally. I discovered Nevada County via a teammate on my College Track and Field team who was from Grass Valley. One look at the Yuba River and I knew I was coming back.

How did you first discover the Miners Foundry?

The first time I ever set foot inside the Foundry I saw a Michael Franti and Spearhead show, about the best introduction one could have.

What were your initial impressions of the Foundry?   

I love history- particularly living history as embodied by the Foundry; it was a beautiful old building with great energy and on the night I first saw it the Foundry was filled to the roof with beautiful people.

What do you like the best about the Miners Foundry?

The Foundry holds an energy and a place in the Nevada City community that is inspiring and accessible; my favorite thing about the Foundry is that it is available as an artist, to rehearse, to practice, to create.

How did you become involved with Beyond Fire Tribe?

Along with Jesse Churchill, Aeron Miller, Isaiah Duseljee, and Jessica Wadatz, I am one of the OG members of the tribe. We started as a small, close group of friends who liked to burn.

What types of Foundry events do you most enjoy? 

The Foundry is a great place for diversity; personal favorites include Burnal Equinox, Iris Dement, Greg Brown, and the Psychic Fair and Fright Night.

Would you encourage others to become involved with the Miners Foundry?  Why? 

The Foundry is a hub for creativity, art, expression, and is a great place to be, feel, and get connected to the community at large, so  YES- I would encourage anyone to step in and be involved in whatever capacity fits their vision and need for creative outlet. I would recommend that people volunteer at the Foundry. There is a palpable sense of creativity in our community and performing and creating artistically is just one part of this whole- volunteering supports others doing the same thing and really gives a sense of investment and responsibility in not just creating that vibe but sustaining it as well.

 

Faces of the Foundry – Janis de Santi

Janis de Santi

Janis de Santi @ Fright Night | Photo by John Taber

 

Because of the variety of events at the Foundry, volunteers may help at a Greg Brown show one night, then pivot to a major production like Fright Night, sometimes in the same week.  Miners Foundry volunteers are often asked to do a number of tasks, from wrist banding patrons, to ushering, to checking I.D.s.   Janis de Santi has done all of these and more, always with style and a smile!

Are you originally from Nevada County?  If not, why did you decide to move to Nevada County?  Where are you from originally? 

I was born in the Bronx, New York and moved to the the suburbs when I was 10 years old.  I relocated to south Florida in 1975 and continued living there until my move to Grass Valley on December 16, 2013. I had been out to Grass Valley to visit my brother, Bob, and his wife, Anne, after my retirement and fell in love with the area; as well as all it had to offer in the way of the Arts, Music and the venues they were offered in.

How did you first discover the Miners Foundry?

I first discovered the Miners Foundry on a trip to visit my brother and his wife.  They took me around showing me the sites and telling me about the history of the area.  That, naturally, meant a visit to not only Empire Mine, but also to the Miners Foundry.

What were your initial impressions of the Foundry?   

I was immediately struck by the building’s architecture and the role it played in the history of the area.

What do you like the best about the Miners Foundry?

The first thing that caught my attention was the massive stone fireplace.  I got a kick out of standing inside it and visualizing what might have taken place in such a space. I truly was and still am impressed by this massive structure’s ambiance.

Why did you choose to become involved with the Foundry? 

When I relocated it was my intent to make new acquaintances and because of my love of music and the theater, I knew volunteering was to be part of my lifestyle.  The events, activities,concerts, and reader’s theater (just to name a few) are all wonderful forms of entertainment that the Miners Foundry offers to the community and naturally, I had to be a part of this.

Would you encourage others to become involved with the Miners Foundry?  Why? 

I’ve made many friends and acquaintances while volunteering here, and have enjoyed so many of the events that I always look forward to my time spent here.  And not to be forgotten,  is the staff–they are an extraordinary group of professional, organized and super-friendly people to work with.  The Miners Foundry openly and easily gives to the community, we in turn, should consider giving back through volunteering — it’s fun and the events are worthy of our time.

 

Faces of the Foundry – Glady Birdsong

Glady

 

One of the most devoted supporters of the Miners Foundry is Glady Birdsong.  Glady has served on the Miners Foundry Board of Trustees for many years (currently as Secretary) and is very involved with the Nevada City community.  We are so thankful for her dedication, graciousness, and the cookies she routinely supplies to our staff!

 

Are you originally from Nevada County?  If not, why did you decide to move to Nevada County?  Where are you from originally?

I was born in San Francisco, but spent my childhood in the Middle East. My husband Larry and I retired from the Bay Area and moved here in 2001 after visiting for years.

How did you discover the Foundry in the first place?

I attended a classical piano performance at the Foundry several years before we moved here.

What were your initial impressions of the Foundry? 

I was very impressed with the beauty and history of the site, and the fact that such a small town has a beautiful, diverse Cultural Center.

What do you like the best about the Miners Foundry?

It’s versatility. It is historical, yet hosts the most modern music and art forms. The variety of events is impressive.

Why did you choose to become involved with the Foundry? 

I love history, and this building, which embodies our Gold Rush history. Preservation of this treasure is certainly worthy of my efforts. I strive to involve others, too.

How long have you been serving on the Board?

I first served on committees and joined the Board in 2007. I served as president for 5 years, and now serve as secretary.

What types of events do you most enjoy? 

Music, art exhibits, the Robert Burns dinner, parties. I have attended several very moving memorial services there.

Would you encourage others to become involved with the Miners Foundry?  Why? 

Everyone loves the Foundry, but many do not realize the Foundry receives no regular government funding. We are very much dependent on donations. If everyone who says they love the Foundry made a small donation we could further restore and improve the building. The top of my list of improvements we could accomplish with more funds is to implement a self-guided tour with a hand-held recording device like you use in museums. We would install signage and old photos so people could clearly see what the building was like when it was a working foundry. We have an amazing, dedicated and talented staff who are key to the success of the organization. We appreciate them!

 

Faces of the Foundry – Bill Holman

BartendersKitka

John Lenz (left) and Bill Holman (right)

 

Stop by a Miners Foundry show and you are sure to meet Bill Holman, our volunteer Bar Manager.  Bill kindly consented to take part in our first Question & Answers session for Faces of the Foundry.  Read on to learn more about the man who makes your favorite martini!

Where are you from originally?  Why did you decide to move to Nevada County?

I grew up in Los Altos, CA and also had my advertising / graphic design business there.  I bought a house and property in Nevada City in 1984 as a vacation home to get out of the Bay Area on the weekends.  I moved to Nevada County permanently in 1988, and also moved my business here.

How did you discover the Miners Foundry? 

I was introduced to Miners Foundry in 1989 by George Foster, who was on the Board of Directors at the time.

What were your initial impressions of the Foundry? 

I was initially impressed with the history of the building as a metal foundry and machine shop.  I also realized the influence the Miners Foundry had on the community, as an events center that hosted so many different events supporting the arts and the community at large.

How long have you been volunteering at the Foundry?

I have been volunteering at the Miners Foundry since 1989.  In 1990, Miners Foundry became a client of mine.  I produced their marketing material, such as ads, newsletters, brochures, and promotional materials for special events.  I am now the Bar Manager for the Foundry.

What do you like best about the Miners Foundry building?

I like the history of the building, especially the Stone Hall with its massive fireplace.

What are your favorite types of events at the Foundry?

I enjoy the special events the Foundry has done, such as the Winefest Grape Stomp.  The Miners Foundry used to do a membership drive that coincided with the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee.  One of the jazz bands would perform at the Foundry.  Often the bands were from other countries such as Germany, Poland, or Russia.

Do you have a memory to share about an event at the Foundry?

Each New Year’s Eve, the Miners Foundry has a large party that can bring as many as 500 people.  On New Year’s Eve in 2014, the power went out for about two hours [due to a storm].  The bands couldn’t play due to the power outage, but the drummers could still play.  Achilles Wheel was the headliner that year, and they have two drum sets and two drummers.  The drummers did a 45 minute set while the power was out.  At the bar, we were making drinks by flashlight.  The power came back at 11:30, just in time to toast the New Year.

Would you encourage others to become involved with the Miners Foundry? 

Getting involved with the Miners Foundry is a great way to meet people in our community and it also gives someone a chance to give back to the community.