About NCBS

The Northern California Bluegrass Society is a non-profit organization that exists to promote bluegrass music in northern California. The NCBS is member supported and run by volunteers. Its operations are overseen by the board of directors, also volunteers, elected by the membership.

The NCBS was founded in 1982 as the Santa Cruz Bluegrass Society. Over the years its scope grew to cover more than just the Santa Cruz area, and in 1999 the membership voted to change its name to the Northern California Bluegrass Society.

As we are a non-profit organization, donations are both tax-deductible and greatly appreciated!


NCBS Board Of Directors Candidate Statements Due June 1st For August 13th Election


The annual election for the Northern California Bluegrass Society Board Of Directors will be held at the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival at the San Benito County Historical Park, next to Bolado Park in Tres Pinos on Saturday, August 13, 2015, 10:00am-5:00pm, and by mail.

Candidate Statements are due to  (Linda Descoteaux) lindadakota (at) gmail (dot) com, editor of Bluegrass By The Bay magazine, by June 1, 2016, for publication in the July-August issue.

Statements are limited to 100 words and submission of a picture is optional. Information: (559) 222-1468.

NCBS Volunteer Uriah Langmeyer Replaces Elicia Burton On NCBS Board Of Directors

Uriah Langmeyer at work on Security & Art at the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival.

Uriah Langmeyer hard at work on security & art at the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival.

bglogoThe Northern California Bluegrass Society Board Of Directors has accepted the resignation of longtime board member Elicia Burton of Boulder Creek, who has served the organization as president & treasurer, and as a key volunteer. Burton recently moved to her new home in Washington State, where she will continue to play her fiddle and enjoy bluegrass music. Thanks to Elicia for her many years of service!

To fill the remainder of her term, the board has appointed NCBS volunteer Uriah Langmeyer of Aptos.

Langmeyer was born in Sandpoint, ID, but has been a Santa Cruz area local since the age of 7 years. He attended high school in Soquel and is a graduate of Cabrillo College, where he served in student government at both the local and state levels as the Regional Vice-President of the California Student Association of Community Colleges. As such, he helped organize statewide representation for students to the California State Legislature and the higher education authorities. His college majors were in communications and political science.

Uriah Langmeyer & Leolani Stanley

Uriah Langmeyer & Leolani Stanley

Rebuilding homes in Peru.

Rebuilding homes in Peru.

Uriah has worked in the gig economy since long before there was a gig economy. His business, A Little Bit Of Everything, serves a wide variety of area clients in need of computer, construction, problem-solving, and other services. His loving partner in bluegrass volunteering and in life is Leolani Stanley. They have a 10-year-old daughter, Marissa. In the past, Uriah went on an extensive “walkabout,” including a stop in Peru to help rebuild homes damaged in a natural disaster and, of course, volunteering as a staff member at a number of South American music festivals.

Uriah’s family was not especially musically-inclined, although they enjoyed listening. His father is an architect specializing in sustainable building, while his mother is a manager in the hospitality industry. He has one brother in the field of medical administration.

Marissa, Leolani & Uriah -- A festival family memory.

Marissa, Leolani & Uriah -- A festival family memory.

Elicia Burton

Elicia Burton of Sequim, WA.

In Northern California, Uriah and Leolani have volunteered at the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival, the Strawberry Music Festival, and at the High Sierra Music Festival. Uriah’s plan for his board service includes a focus on NCBS volunteer recruitment and organizing, as well as upgrading the graphics work for the various Society festivals and other projects. He has also made a suggestion about expanding the age range of band bookings that has been accepted by the board. He looks forward to helping NCBS make a smooth inter-generational transition over the coming years, as projects are passed on to a brand new generation of bluegrass fans and volunteers.

When he is not working and doing bluegrass music volunteering, he enjoys hiking, traveling, and gardening, as well as pursuing his interest in all kinds of art. His philosophy is to live his life to give as much as possible to the community, but one that also furnishes what he needs for himself.

The Key Northern California Bluegrass Society 2016 Spring Events

ncbs-plain-logoHere are the key Official Northern California Bluegrass Society events for the spring of 2016:


20 — Danny Paisley & The Southern Grass, Redwood Bluegrass Associates (NCBS-welcomed)


18-19 — Spring Brookdale Bluegrass Festival (NCBS-welcomed)

19 — Mike Compton & Joe Newberry, Redwood Bluegrass Associates (NCBS-welcomed)


16 — The Jayme Stone Lomax Project, Redwood Bluegrass Associates (NCBS-welcomed)


7 — The Tuttles With A. J. Lee, Redwood Bluegrass Associates (NCBS-welcomed)

14 — NCBS/SCBS 30th Annual Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair

21 — Spring Foggy Mountain Bluegrass Festival (NCBS-welcomed)

2016 IBMA Leadership Bluegrass Class Is Announced

NCBS is a longtime organizational member of IBMA.

NCBS is a longtime organizational member of IBMA.

The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced the 2016 Leadership Bluegrass Class, including the Bay Area’s Darby Brandli. The Northern California Bluegrass Society is a longtime organizational member of the IBMA and NCBS Members are encouraged to apply for future classes. Congratulations to members of the LB Class Number 17:

Alan Bibey – Grasstowne; Surfside Beach, South Carolina

Daniel Boner – East Tennessee State University; Elizabethton, Tennessee

Dustin Boyd – Planet Bluegrass; Boulder, Colorado

Darby Brandli – California Bluegrass Association; Oakland, California

Janet Brightly – Consultant, Greyfox and Wintergrass; Annandale, Virginia

Angus Finnan – Folk Alliance International; Kansas City, Missouri

Jocelyn Gold – Gold Heart; Hamilton, Virginia

Katherine Hanson – FDA Leadership Development; Ijamsville, Maryland

Kelsi Harrigill – Flatt Lonesome; Trinity, Alabama

Lisa Husted – Greyfox Bluegrass Festival; Whitesboro, New York

Leah James – International Bluegrass Music Association; Nashville, Tennessee

Chris Joslin – International Bluegrass Music Museum; Owensboro, Kentucky

Tony Kamel – Wood & Wire; Austin, Texas

Brad Kolodner – WAMU’s Bluegrass Country; Baltimore, Maryland

Devon Leger – Hearth Music; Shoreline, Washington

Marian Leighton Levy – Rounder Records; Newburyport, Massachusetts

Kimber Ludiker – Della Mae; Hendersonville, Tennessee

David Morris – Bluegrass Today/Paddle Faster Publishing; Gaithersburg, Maryland

Laurie Okun – City of Raleigh/Raleigh Convention Center; Raleigh, North Carolina

Patrice O’Neill – Acoustic Sound/Wintergrass; Milton, Washington

James Reams – James Reams & the Barnstormers; Litchfield, Arizona

Salvatore Sauco – Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance; East, Rhode Island

Annie Savage – Colorado Bluegrass Music Society; Lafayette, Colorado

Lee Stivers – The Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers; Washington, Pennsylvania

Lucas White – Middle Tennessee State University; Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Diana Wyland – Independent Artist & Teacher; Silver Spring, Maryland

Dave Wunsch Dies, Harmonica & Pennywhistle Player, Soon Followed By Wife Rosemarie

Dave Wunsch

Dave Wunsch

Dave Wunsch has died at the age of 83. He was a bluegrass harmonica and pennywhistle player and also a singer, and was a longtime member of the Northern California Bluegrass Society/Santa Cruz Bluegrass Society. He directed that the following message be sent to his friends:

“This is your notification of the death of David E. Wunsch, formerly of San Jose, California; Orlando and Boynton Beach, Florida; Dallas, Texas; and Galesburg, Illinois. Mr Wunsch died on 11/17/2015. This notice is being sent to you at his request, by one of his survivors. Please take whatever action seems appropriate. Mr. Wunsch has suggested you should have either a shot of good scotch whiskey or a bottle of good beer. Tell your bartender that Mr. Wunsch is buying. Editorial comment: Dave’s estate is not buying. Your bartender will need to go after Dave.”

Dave was a well-known jammer who sat in at performances with many area bluegrass bands including Sidesaddle.  His talent and sense of humor made many a bluegrass social gathering glow brightly over the years. Dave was also fond of playing other acoustic music, including  old-time, folk, old-time country, celtic, dixieland, and old blues.

Dave was born in 1932 in La Junta, Otero County, Colorado to Aleck Wunsch and Kathryn Mae (Hardy) Wunsch.  Dave graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and from Southern Methodist University with a Masters of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He started studying at night for a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, but found it got in the way of his higher priorities, such as playing music with friends.

Dave’s wife Rosemarie (Korajczyk) Wunsch died on December 6, 2015, 19 days after Dave passed. Dave is survived by two sons, Grant and Larry Wunsch, and by two sisters, Jayne (Wunsch) Dye and Margaret (Wunsch) Semple.

Dave was a fantastic Microwave engineer and over his career he set up numerous Microwave radio systems in the U.S. and other places around the world.  Later, he taught electrical engineering at San Jose State University.

A joint memorial service for Dave and Rosemarie will be held at a later date.

Dave’s friend Joe Weed wrote about Dave’s musical career:

David Wunsch left us all with colorful memories of his harmonica and penny whistle playing, his unique style of singing, his stories about country musicians he’d known in his days in Houston, and with a gaping void that nobody will fill.

David was passionate about music, and enthusiastic about playing. It didn’t matter what the music was, as long as it was rootsy and expressive. Bluegrass, country, celtic, old-timey, contra, jug-band, pizza parlor favorites — all of these lit a fire in David, and he would play any and all of the above as long as there was an audience. Or even longer.

I met David Wunsch in 1977, when I was playing with Chuck McCabe and Brandy Bento in a group we called the Pensacola Flash. At a gig one lonely weeknight at a bar in Campbell,  I noticed an odd-looking guy with a crew cut in the front table. He listened intently to everything we played, and clapped after every tune. Eventually he sent up a round of drinks. So we chatted on the break, and he told us he was drowning his pain in beer, because his wife Rose was in Chicago, taking care of her ailing mother.  He said his name was David Wunsch, and he played a little music as a hobby. He was there the next week, and told us he had his harmonicas with him. He asked if he could sit in with the band. Wary, as always, we waited until the end of our 3rd set, and then had him come up and play. One tune turned into 4 or 5, as frequently happened with David. And a friendship was born.

Later, when David learned I was trying to upgrade my fiddle amplification system, he insisted I bring the gear over to his bench at California Microwave after hours so he could help figure things out. Although he was working with microwaves in his current job, he had decades of experience working with analog circuitry, and I believe he relished the opportunity to help a starving musician. Eventually, after we carried my rig into his lab late many nights, when he should have been home relaxing, we made major improvements. He would never accept any pay.

I got to know Dave’s wife Rosemarie, as well as his two talented sons Grant and Larry. Dave became a grandfather and remembered the date of his grandson’s birth because it occurred on the 8th of January, the name of just one of the hundreds of tunes Dave knew and loved. His family all seemed to tolerate the unending line of old mid-sixties Dodge Darts that accumulated in front of Dave’s house, where he would pull parts from many to keep one running.

David and Rose came up to Marty’s and my wedding, which turned into a hellacious picking party at our home. David was probably the 2nd to last to leave — and I know this only because Debby Benton, the very last to go, left the next morning.

The last time I played with David, I invited him to join me with Fra Drumm at a St. Patty’s Day gig in San Jose last year. He loved sitting in and playing Irish tunes. He even sang Danny Boy.

I’ll miss David, and I know that like me, many others will keep a warm place in their hearts for this huge and musical person.

Dave Wunsch Memorial Facebook Page

Rosemarie Wunsch Memorial Facebook Page

– Michael Hall, Grant Wunsch, and Joe Weed