Classical music aficionados will appreciate the dulcet tones of the musicians who perform for Chamber Music Monterey Bay (831/625-2212, www.chambermusicmontereybay.org). This society brings talented ensembles and soloists in from around the world to perform on the lovely Central Coast. One night you might find a local string quartet, and on another night you’ll get to see and hear a chamber ensemble. (String quartets definitely rule the small stage and intimate theater.)
Far from banning young music fans from the Sunset Cultural Center (San Carlos St. btwn. 8th and 10th Sts., Carmel), Chamber Music Monterey Bay reserves up-front seats at all its shows for children and their adult companions.
One of the coolest small-rock venues in California is the The Golden State Theater (417 Alvarado St., 831/372-3800, www.goldenstatetheatre.com) in Monterey. This beautiful theater is done up in 1920s era Arabian Nights–style Middle Eastern revival. It’s easy to get to, sitting right downtown near the big Hyatt hotel. Get there early so you can spend some time admiring the decor before the lights lower and the show starts.
The Golden State hosts acts that often play larger venues, which means that show goers get a reasonably intimate experience in which they can actually see their favorite performers. A few performances in 2008 included Los Lonely Boys, the Doobie Brothers, comedienne Paula Poundstone, and a special engagement of the Sally Struthers musical Nunsense.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition