Sting to sing at benefit concert for Christopher Rodriguez


MONTCLARION NEWSPAPER – May 22, 2009

A YOUNG LAD I KNOW is doing his college thesis on happiness. And what do we know about this often fleeting state of mind? We know that a little money helps foster well being, but a lot does not. We know that exercise releases endorphins that make you happy. So do some foods. And drink.

But even more effective is the act of giving. A good deed boosts not only the spirit of the recipient, but the giver. And I’ve got the ultimate good deed in mind.

This Monday, Memorial Day, Sting is performing a benefit concert for Christopher Rodriguez, who was 10 when he was paralyzed after a bullet ripped through the walls of a Rockridge piano studio and struck him during a lesson in 2008.

How did a big name like Sting even hear about this tragedy in our hometown? Through a local musician and promoter named Narada Michael Walden.

“I’ve done seven Carnegie Hall shows with him,” said Walden, who says Sting understands the importance of helping this boy — an innocent victim of street crime in Oakland.

“It would be like if we were young, 10 or 11, and taking lessons and the next thing we were paralyzed,” says Walden, who has befriended Rodriguez and is even giving him drum lessons. “He’s really bright. I think he’s got a little interest in becoming a music producer in his later life.”

The benefit concert for Christopher Rodriguez is at 7 p.m. at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall. Tickets start at just $75

($750 gets you a meet and greet with Sting) and performers include Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, The 5th Dimension singers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., opera star Frederica von Stade and more. For more information, call 415-392-4400 or visit www.cityboxoffice.com.Buy a ticket today and see what good karma comes your way.

Sad News: Longtime local merchant Matt Tinonga has died, less than three years after selling his Montclair Village Wines to be near his grandkids in Clovis. Tinonga grew up in Oakland and went to St. Mary’s High School with classmate Gary Haberberger, who remembers him as an industrious young man with a sharp wit. Tinonga ran the wine shop in the village for 14 years before retiring in 2006, saying the decision to sell his business was agonizing, but necessary. “It’s been a great ride,” he told me at the time, adding that he was ready to start a new chapter in his life. Rest peacefully, Matt. You’ll be missed.

E-mail Bag: I really hit a nerve with my article on parking enforcement a few weeks back. Reader Michael J. Williams notes that parking meters were originally installed to help the business community, but they’ve evolved into a revenue source for cities and a pain for shoppers who find they haven’t put enough money in the meters.

“Why would I go to Montclair to shop when it could cost me $45 just to patronize the local businesses?” he asks. “[I] can really see why more and more store fronts are empty with for lease signs on them in Montclair.”

Conversely, reader Leslie Ann Jones says, “How absurd!!! Every parking ticket issued means someone didn’t think to put money in the meter. You don’t even have to look for change anymore, just use a debit or credit card.”

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One thought on “Sting to sing at benefit concert for Christopher Rodriguez

  1. Hey Ginny,
    Luigi Tinonga told me about this blurb you wrote about his brother and I told him about this website. I’m going try to email the column to him. He really appreciated that you wrote about his brother Matt.
    What lovely website this it, too!
    See you soon,
    Erin

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