Leading the band
Pianist Larry Vuckovich will lead an all-star band during a fundraiser for the Bach Dancing and Dynamite society. / Photo courtesy Larry Vuckovich

Though it took time for the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society to earn its reputation, Pete Douglas proved deft in getting shows together on the Coastside. It was established in 1964 and for more than 50 years it has hosted top-tier jazz and classical music talent in the seaside venue in Miramar. 

But the Bach is still working to be a self-sustainable nonprofit. Barbara Riching, daughter of the late founder Douglas, has been running the Bach since 2014. She has organized the Bach’s first annual fundraiser, an event she hopes will be a step in getting the Bach “to the next level.”

Riching said the musical institution has room to improve, including a larger board of directors, help with grant writing, website design and more. 

The Bach has hosted informal fundraisers in the past, but this is the first official gala, with appetizers, wine tasting, dinner and dessert. The event, which costs $350 per person, begins at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 at the Douglas Beach House in Miramar. For more information, visit bachddsoc.org. The evening will also celebrate the life and legacy of the Bach’s founder. Douglas died in 2014, and the fundraiser will take place the day before what would have been his 91st birthday.

“I think many patrons on the coast who come to the Bach understand what a gem it is,” Riching said. “But I don’t think anyone outside of that understands what they have here in Half Moon Bay.”

Larry Vuckovich, a critically acclaimed pianist, began working with Douglas frequently in the 1970s. Nearly a dozen members of Vuckovich’s all-star band will perform throughout the evening. The group has Bay Area standouts Jackie Ryan and Jaime Davis on vocals, Kai Lyons on guitar, Jeff Chambers and Doug Miller on bass, saxophonists Noel Jewkes and Rob Roth, and drummers Akira Tana and Jason Lewis. The first set highlights all these individuals while the second will feature jazz swing music. 

Riching wants locals to know that the Bach is not just for hard-core jazz enthusiasts. Its high quality sound and  ocean setting are open to all. 

“Jazz isn’t for everyone, I do understand that,” she said. “But anyone who appreciates live music is really going to love at least coming once or twice a year. And jazz is an important thing for the community.

“So, I hope that even if they aren’t the biggest jazz fans from a musical standpoint, they might support us because it would be a shame to lose the Bach,” she said.

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