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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

June 1969 Community in Musical Efforts (COME) program, Oakland, CA

I have found two 1969 articles related to Community and (some say "in") Musical Efforts (COME), a two week series of seminars and workshops in "now" music to be held at Mills College, Oakland, CA, in June of 1969. Teachers were set to include Jerry Garcia, John Handy, Mickey Hart, Roland Kirk, the Tape Music Center, Big Black and Mike Bloomfield. Bill Freeman, said to be an old hand from Carousel Ballroom during its ownership by the JA, the GD and QMS. The other two founders and directors of COME were Leonard Sheftman (half-owner of the Both/And jazz club) and Clancy Carlile, a musician, songwriter and record producer (1). A later article (2) also lists Elvin Bishop, Harvey Mandel, and Phil Lesh as possible teachers.

Dates were initially listed as June 16-27, 1969 (1), though the later article gives a starting date of June 8 (2).

It looks to me like the program never materialized, as I can find no further mention of it (there is an Oakland Trib article in March that basically reproduces #1, below).

There are also some interesting details in the articles about plans to form a San Francisco College of Contemporary Music that might interest those readers specializing in Bay Area music stuff more generally.

(1) "Modern Music Project is Planned in Oakland," Hayward Daily Review, February 25, 1969, p. 22.
(2) "SF Community Group Backs Pop Seminars," Billboard, April 19, 1969, p. 82. Available through Google Books.


  1. From Billboard’s 4/19/69 issue:
    “Two weeks of seminars and workshops on contemporary music begin June 8… The 50 free seminars, which range from rock guitar technique (taught by Jerry Garcia) to creation of a commercial sound (Bob Sarempa of Mercury Records), are the pilot project of the San Francisco College of Contemporary Music. The seminars will be held at Mills College in Oakland… Teachers, to be paid $100 a week, also include John Handy, Elvin Bishop, Harvey Mandel, Big Black, Roland Kirk, and Phil Lesh. The College of Contemporary Music was founded (at least as a full-time venture) last December by Leonard Sheftman (half-owner of the Both/And jazz club); Clancy Carlile, a songwriter and producer; and Bill Freeman, band manager and producer. As yet there is no permanent site for the college, and no classes will be scheduled until [the workshops] are over, but the college has commitments from artists to do the teaching. The school hopes to solicit funds from the music industry and foundations. Bill Graham has already donated $1000, which went for office equipment…”

    The exact dates of Jerry's rock guitar technique class are unknown but he was not in the Bay Area on

    Janice Braun of the F.W. Olin Library, Mills College, in an email to me, "I sent your query to one of our Music Department faculty who directs our Center for Contemporary Music and he has not heard of this either. He did mention that Phil Lesh was a graduate student here around that time. There is a distinct possibility that this never materialized. It would be strange that we wouldn't have any documentation of 50 workshops being held here."

  2. Janice Braun is the Associate Library Director & Special Collections Curator, F.W. Olin Library, Mills College.

  3. The history page contains the following:

    "During the late summer and fall (of 1969) Ron (Wickersham) was invited to participate as an instructor, along with Fred Catero and David Rubinson in the Bill Graham Seminars. We met many interesting people who came to listen and learn from the talks. One of them was Rick Turner whom we later invited to work with us."

    Rubinson was a New York producer and Catero his engineer who had moved west to work with Bill Graham. They would then take over Pacific Recording in San Mateo where the Dead had earlier started recording Aoxomoxoa before moving to Pacific High.

    So it looks like at least some of the seminars went ahead with a Bill Graham connection. I doubt if members of the GD took part tho', surely there would be some mention of it if they had.

    Could there have been some connection with the Wild West Festival debacle and its organisation, the SF Music Council? Two impractical overblown ideas both in the summer of 69 with some of the same actors involved? I have no evidence for this but I suspect a link.

  4. Thanks for your contributions!

    This is all new terrain for me, so I can't say how it all fits together. But thanks for providing more pieces to the puzzle!

  5. Also discussed in the April 4-10, 1969 Barb, but not much additional info that I can see.


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