Napa Valley College presents crooner Roberto-Juan González and The Keith Saunders Jazz Trio performing, “You’ll Never Know,” a concert celebrating the 75th anniversary of Napa Valley College, on Sunday, Feb. 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Theater of the Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center.
Featuring 1940s and 1950s love songs from repertoire of Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole, “You’ll Never Know,” “You Go To My Head,” and “One For My Baby” the evening’s performance includes Keith Saunders on piano, Adam Gayon bass, and Smith Dobson Jr. on drums.
Gonzalez will offer historic insight through his entertaining comments about the background of the evening’s songs.
Dr. Roberto González came to Napa Valley College as orchestra conductor in 1988, but began singing when he was 6. Raised a church musician, he owes a great measure of his musical career to the musical environment at the Union Church of San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was first made a professional conductor at the age of 15. While doing his undergraduate degree at InterAmerican University in Puerto Rico, San Germán, he was asked to sit in as pianist with a Latino dance band, where he began singing slow ballads at dance jobs on weekends.
On arriving at Ball State University in Indiana for graduate studies in orchestra conducting, where he finished his doctorate in 1983, he was trained as an operatic lyric tenor, but never really wanted the commitment that an operatic career required. He did maintain a career as church musician, which provided an outlet for his singing. His real interest lay in the American Songbook.
In 2006, he met Richard Nichol, director and vocal coach of the San Francisco Academy for Performing Arts, and began singing again. At the now-defunct Octavia Lounge on Market Street, he met Michael Parsons, a pianist and composer in the tradition of Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, and Thelonious Monk. González has since continued his singing with jazz pianist and composer Keith Saunders, often heard around the Bay Area and at the Club Deluxe in the Haight District, with the Smith Dobson Jazz Quartet.
Admission is $25 for adults; $20 seniors and students, military, and $10 for NVC students. Advance tickets are on sale at the College Box Office (707)256-7500 and will be available at the box office of the Napa Valley College Theater the night of the concert. Plenty of free parking. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Advance online tickets are at available www.musicnapavalley.org.