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San Francisco Recording Academy Celebrates the Big 3-0

On November 30, the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy held its annual celebration of membership, the holidays, and—this year—its 30th anniversary.

Much of the Bay Area recording community strolled through S.F.’s Union Square—stunning this time of year with its gigantic, brightly lit Christmas tree, festive department store displays and ambling cable cars—to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel’s Empire Room, where a boys choir welcomed the earliest arrivals. Executive director Merl Saunders Jr. introduced a short video on the Recording Academy’s 30-year history, and members with five to 45 years of service were recognized. Mastering engineer Paul Stubblebine was one of five honored for 30 years of membership, studio vet Fred Catero took home a certificate for 40 years of service, and Nick Reynolds, Bob Shane and Frank Werber topped out as 45-year members.

Recording Academy president Neil Portnow then updated the audience on the organization’s year-end accomplishments and the forthcoming Grammy Awards.

The “celebration” lasted well into the evening with live music from SoVoSo, local pop-rock singer/songwriter Essence, alternative group the Beautiful Losers (in from Japan to finish a new album), female rapper Lolo Swift, songwriter Tru, jazz singer Daria, vocal/piano duo WUHU, Garrick Davis and band, and One9 Shangrali.

To find out more about the chapter’s ongoing activities, visit