Folk harpist, Christine Bonner, is a stunning artist who has performed for many years in concerts and special engagements throughout the West Coast. She was also one of the featured performers in Reno’s amazing blockbuster “Spirit of the Dance.”
She released her second CD “Compañeros,” in January of 2003, and has been “overwhelmed” by the incredibly positive response, and support of her music. Compañeros is a celebration of life, inspired by Christine’s vision of a fiesta with food, music and dance, shared with friends, and family.
Christine’s debut CD, Sand Castles, skyrocketed to # 1 on the Americana Charts on Nevada City, California’s community radio station, KVMR-FM 89.5 MHz. Her musical style includes a wonderful blend of Latin, Celtic, Classical, and Jazz.
Christine is a direct descendent of the Berryessa family, who were among the first Spanish/Mexican land grant holders in California before the Gold Rush. Many of Christine’s compositions are inspired by her early California ancestors.
Christine’s music delves into her own family history for inspiration, and traces the ancestral journey of the Berryessa family from their native Spain to the ranchos of California. The result is “a unique and alluring mixture of acoustic string instruments and percussion that persuades the listener back into a time of palatial homes built amid gentle rolling hills and wind swept trees.”
Christine’s music is dedicated to the spirit and the struggles of the Berryessas, and all of the early Californianos.
Christine Bonner’s love for music began at an early age. She not only comes from a historic California family (Berryessa), but from a very musical one as well and studied piano as a young girl. She became involved in various folk groups as a teenager and explored playing many different instruments. Her love of music is equaled only by her love of art.
Christine received her degree in art in 1975 and worked as a freelance artist in sculpture and ceramics. She discovered the folk harp in her late twenties and soon thereafter began performing weddings and concerts and composing music, while raising her children. (Allegra, and Derek ) Christine now co-owns the Rainbow Music Company, with her husband Rob in Colfax California, where they teach music to students of all ages.
Long time Sierra foothills musician and guitar teacher, Rob Bonner, has released a new compact disc, “Violet’s Old Guitar, a Musical Journey”, a retrospective look at his career that has spanned over forty years. The title song of the new recording was written by Rob to honor his dear friend and manager, Violet Lankford, who passed away several years ago.
According to Rob, his musical journey started when his parents, Bob and Peggy Bonner, gave him a guitar on Christmas Day of 1960. “I’m sure that my parents had no idea how that gift would change my life”.
While serving with the Army in Vietnam in1971, Rob met musicians Jerry Johnson and Ray Parteka, which led to recording eight songs on a small tape recorder. It was at that informal recording session that Rob knew that he was “hooked”, and began to dream of a career in music.
When he returned home he continued to record, doing demos of his songs, making three albums with his band, The South Loomis Quickstep, and then in 1984, a solo album. He then set up a recording studio in his home and when his many musical friends would come by they’d have some dinner and afterwards, “lay down some tracks”. Rob also recorded, produced, and supports the successful career of his lovely wife and harpist, Christine Bonner. He has also recorded his daughter Allegra’s rock and roll band, Angoramachinegun.
A Nevada City native, Rob taught himself how to play the guitar, and soon after his tour in Vietnam, returned to college, earning several degrees in music.
Rob then formed The South Loomis Quickstep Band, a California “newgrass” band which was well known for its energy, musicianship, and humor. They were also known for their diversity in style, playing almost any type of music, from old time string-band tunes, original compositions, even the music of Duke Ellington, all on traditional American instruments.
The South Loomis Quickstep Band was very unique and after awhile the group gained national attention, performing concerts with the likes of Buck Owens, Hoyt Axton, Elvin Bishop, Cheech & Chong, John Hartford, Asleep at the Wheel, Emmy Lou Harris, Doc Watson, Tom T. Hall, Rick Nelson, The Kingston Trio, and the Sacramento Symphony. Rob and the band were also featured in a performance with the Auburn Civic Symphony in May of 1994, at the Symphony’s annual “Day on the Green” concert, and also performed for Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.
The group toured throughout the U.S. and Europe until 1985, when they disbanded so that Rob could spend more time with his family, and watch his children grow up.
In 1981, Rob started giving private music lessons at Marriott’s Music in Auburn, teaching guitar, bass, fiddle, and mandolin. Then, in 1985, Rob and Christine opened the Rainbow Music Company in Colfax, where they continue to teach these instruments, as well as harp and piano. Also, for the past twenty-five years Rob has taught all the guitar classes at Sierra College.
Rob is proud to have been recently inducted into the Del Oro High School athletic Hall of Fame, alongside his father, Bob Bonner, the legendary football coach, teacher, counselor, and friend, as well as his brother, Ed Bonner, the Sheriff of Placer County.