This past Labor Day was the final performance of Rodney Strong’s summer concert performances for 2009. Next year, however, promises to be as great, if not greater, considering that it’s going to be Rodney Strong’s 20th Anniversary Summer Concert Series. By now, they’ve got it down to a science, and it’s running very smoothly.

I have to admit that as I headed to this last event, I asked Jose – my partner in all things in life – how many people could possibly be there, given that it was a Monday night, at the end of a three day weekend, and the end of a season. Wasn’t everyone headed home, I was pondering?

I was a bit skeptical… Until we arrived at 4:30 p.m. to avoid the rush at the door at 4:00, and found that we had to park somewhere out in left field because their parking lot (a big one) was completely filled. (That’ll teach me!) Over 1,100 people showed up to close this season’s musical performances, including the young woman above with the tattoo. I couldn’t resist asking her if I could take a picture of her art work. She told me it’s affectionately called, “18 and Stupid.” I think it should simply be called, “Brave.”

So… arriving and finding my friends Robert Larsen (Rodney Strong’s PR pro) and Amy Biege (my former colleague at Ironstone Vineyards) [above] only took a second, and we were off and running.

There were many people there that I know, as it turned out, and I had fun photographing them all. The image to the right is of Tina Caputo’s father (far right). Tina’s the editor of Vineyard & Winery Management magazine. Her father had come in from Michigan to be with his daughter and to enjoy the concert. She was also accompanied by her husband (image below). The image with Tina’s dad also has my Jose in it.

Evan Goldstein (far left in this image) was also at the concert, beaming from ear to ear. He had just submitted his final, final edit for his new book, due out this coming spring. It’s going to be called, “Daring Pairings,” and it’s going to include Petite Sirah as one of his eclectic cultivars. (Did I mention I love this man?… If you know my relationship to Petite Sirah). Evan was also with his wife (next to him). They have infectiously great energy, and it was fun to see them in person again. (Tina Caputo’s husband, Tina, and her dad are also in this group shot.)

Hall and Oates started with Maneater, and we all never looked back. It was another great night with food, wine, friends, and great music.

This image is of Peter Sourek and his wife. He’s my computer repairman, who owns Protech Computers. Pete saved my life this past week, when my on-off switch died. He turned it back around within 24 hours. You can appreciate that one, I know.

It’s great to have fun with friends and neighbors. And, this seems to be what this concert series is all about, regardless of how far people come to enjoy being in the vineyards at Rodney Strong.

So, next year, People, get yourself into their musical loop, because it’s a great one! Here’s to 2010, and I hope to photograph you, too!