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San Rafael


Here you will find up to date information about what's going on in the WCS San Rafael Chapter. Competitions run the 3rd Tuesday of every month at the Fenix.  It's easy to find who to contact, where to go and when it's all happening!  If you need to reach us, please email the San Rafael Manager.

Check out the Aug 13th 2013 live stream WCS Competition Playoffs

Judges for April, 2014:

Merl Saunders Jr.
Music was a birthright for this San Francisco native. The namesake of legendary keyboardist Merl Saunders, he grew up at the heart of the vital Bay Area music scene with 
his lifetime career in the industry. From his first tour with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band to subsequent gigs with Michael Jackson, Robert Cray, David Crosby and Frank Zappa, Merl’s experiences only heightened his spirit to excel in the business. As Director of Marketing and Artist Relations at Gibson Guitars, and as Senior Marketing Coordinator and Artist Relations with Dean Markley Strings, he led creative teams to produce successful campaigns and endorsements for many top GRAMMY® winners.

In 1994, the calling for charitable work led him to produce Gibson’s 100th Anniversary Celebration at the historic Fillmore Auditorium as a benefit for San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church. Pulling together talent that had created the soundtrack of his childhood, he brought to the stage emcee Wavy Gravy and a host of musical heavy hitters:
Country Joe and the Fish, Little Feat, Greg Kihn, Gregg Allman, Narada Michael Walden, Elvin Bishop, Hot Tuna, Moby Grape, and Bob Weir, as well as Merl Sr.

Merl’s community service resume doesn’t end there. With the assistance of local musicians, he founded Glide Memorial’s “Music for the People” program, which teaches and encourages at-risk youth to explore music as an outlet, utilizing the Bay Area’s talent pool as instructors. He also sits on the board of directors for Music In Schools Today (MUST), Bread and Roses, Blue Bear School of Music and the Taylor Family Foundation, which supports Northern California’s children with AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.

Amy Wigton
Amy has shared the stage with such artists as, Jefferson Starship, Norton Buffalo, Louden Wainwright III, Dave Mason, Jesse Colin Young, The Waybacks, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Pablo Cruise, Tommy Castro, Beth Nielson Chapman, Roger McGuinn and John Stewart.

A native of Oberlin, Ohio, home to Oberlin College which is famous for its music conservatory as well as its unique history and liberal atmosphere. Oberlin provided a culturally rich environment with exposure to all kinds of world class music, theater, dance and art. Amy’s musical influences are very diverse. She grew up listening to the popular Detroit radio station CKLW which was home and birthplace of Motown. She also enjoyed listening to Peter, Paul and Mary as well as her older brother’s Doors, Chicago and Jimi Hendrix albums. At 14 she began teaching herself to play guitar and was influenced by such artists as Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt. From funk to folk Amy’s musical influences inject themselves into her music.

At 19 she left home and ventured to the San Francisco Bay Area and began playing in the local coffee houses. She later traveled to France and Italy and played as a street musician. When she returned to the states she began recording with producer, engineer, partner and now husband, Manny LaCarrubba at the Plant Recording Studios where she spent many years honing her chops as a recording artist.

In the early 90’s she signed an artist deal with Moltoforte Music and worked with seasoned pros Robin Sylvester (Beach Boys, Ry Cooder) on Bass, John Mader (Uptones, Booker T. Jones, Mariah Carey) and Latin/Jazz guitarist Tom (Edwards) Duarte. Their first performance together was at the prestigious “BMI New Music Showcase” in San
Francisco. After parting ways with Moltoforte, Amy continued as an independent artist and is currently working with drummer Dave Tavel, bassist Robin Hildebrant and guitarist Peter Axtell.

When Amy had her son in 1997 she began performing and teaching music at preschools and showcases her children’s shows around the SF Bay Area at libraries and public events. Amy remains an active volunteer for Bread & Roses as well as other non-profit organizations to share music with both adults and children.

Larry Carlin
Larry Carlin has been involved with the Marin County music scene for over 30 years. He plays, writes about, and produces music shows, and has done everything except be a sound engineer. He played bass with Dr. Elmo (of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" fame) for 31 years; since 1998 he has had a country/bluegrass duo (with his singing
partner Claudia Hampe) called Keystone Crossing; and he leads the bluegrass band Keystone Station. Back in the day at the old Sweetwater he hosted the NSCA open mic from 1989-98, and he won Best Song and Best Performer on a number of occasions. From 1993-98 he also produced "Local Gold," a once-a-month singer/songwriter series at Sweetwater that featured mostly songwriters from the NCSA. Amy Wigton played the Local Gold show more than anyone else. From 1999-2008 he switched gears and produced the Bluegrass Gold series at Sweetwater. In total, he produced over 200 shows at the club over the course of 15 years. And he has written a song or two over the years.


The Fenix
919 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA 94901
Phone: 415.813.5690
Toll Free: 855.336.4999
Catering & take out orders: 415.813.5461
Fax: 415.353.0299

Sign up at 6:30pm.  Event begins at 7:00pm.  Digital piano available.  Incredible  Sound System.

Please make sure that your membership is current.  Non-members are ineligible to win.   RENEW MY MEMBERSHIP

Songwriter's Competitions:
Competitions run from October - August
The PLAYOFFS are held in late August
Playoff Winner has the opportunity to perform at the WCS Grand Finals held in late August
Grand Final Winner has the opportunity to perform at the WCS Annual Music Conference (2nd weekend of September) in front of a house full of industry leaders, friends and family.

SIGN-UP: 6:30pm
$10.00 door fee ($5 for members)

Non-Members may only sign up if there is room after all members have signed up (Please note: Non Members are inelligible to win prizes)
Sponsored by: Noisy Planet 

This Month's Winners


919 Fourth Street
San Rafael, CA 94901

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