Ehrman Mansion fundraiser: Big band jazz and El Dorado County wines |

Ehrman Mansion fundraiser: Big band jazz and El Dorado County wines

New NLTRA executive director Sandy Evans Hall introduces herself to long-time West Shore resident and Granlibakken owner Bill Parson.

TAHOE, Calif. andamp;#8212; If you closed your eyes and listened to the music you could imagine life back in the early 1900’s when the Hellman family members summered at their casually opulent home: picnics and croquet on the lawn under the towering pines and boating and swimming in front of the lakefront home. Isaias Hellman, a successful banker of several banks including Wells Fargo, had tons of topsoil hauled from the back country to the site, which was originally a sand hill, providing the base for lawns and gardens. Most of the building materials for the three-story, 12,000 sq. ft. Walter D. Bliss designed house were obtained locally, including the granite from Meeks Bay and the lumber from Hobart Mills, just north of Truckee. The 1,975 acre lakefront estate, also known as andamp;#8220;Pine Lodge,andamp;#8221; was subsequently purchased in 1965 by the California State Park System from Hellman’s daughter Florence Ehrman, and is currently maintained as a house museum. Outlying buildings include a caretaker’s cottage by the lake, the children’s house by the tennis court, maids’ quarters, butler’s cabin, ice house, coach house, power house, a dressing room, a pump house, two boat houses and the boatman’s cabin. On Aug. 26, the lakefront lawn was transformed into a amphitheater populated by music and nature-loving guests relaxing in low back chairs. Looking like an artist’s rendering, Lake Tahoe, framed by pine trees, served as a beautiful and magical backdrop adorned with a passing sailboat or two, and painted with a natural pastel-colored light show just before dusk. The 18-member jazz band called andamp;#8220;Chopsandamp;#8221; entertained with standards such as andamp;#8220;It Don’t Mean a Thing If You Ain’t Got That Swing,andamp;#8221; prompting many people to get up and dance along the level walkway at the water’s edge. The band, directed by Ken Crowell, with a special appearance by local saxophonist Remmel Wilson and vocals by Sophie Powers, has been playing together since 1987.Tables pouring fine wines from El Dorado County and manned by volunteers provided revenue for the fundraiser which was organized by the West Shore Association. Participating wineries included Boeger, Holly’s Hill, Gold Note, Mt. Aukum, Latcham, Lava Cap and Perry Creek. Kudos to the North Tahoe Resort Association and the Tahoe City PUD for support, as well as to Granlibakken for pitching in with vans, manpower and supplies to pull off the event.Some of those enjoying the big band jazz on the lawn at the Ehrman Mansion included NLTRA exec director Sandy Evans Hall and Gus Hall, Kym Fabel, Dave Wilderotter, Meg and Hank de Vre, Syd and Mike Earley, Emillie and Ken Corcoran, Christin Hanna, Norma and Bill Parson, Lauren and Ron Parson, Kay Williams, Carol and Ned Spieker, Lynn and Dave Olson, Lois and Andy Skaff, Shauna and Alex West, Toni and Gerald Rockwell, Sally Taylor and Rob Weston, Alice and Paul Arthur, Jenny and Dave Antonucci, Elisa Tauber, Zoey Todd and Bill Poulton, Patty Smelser, John and Beezie Iles, Don and Rosie Songey, Nancy and Tom O’Neil, Toni Blair, Joanne and Jeff Hurst, Anna and Terri Sitkoff, Heidi Doyle, Gary Chaney and Dottie Intorf.Foodie FootnoteMark your calendar for the upcoming 26th Annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival, scheduled for Sept. 9-11 at the Village at Northstar. Events include the Friday Grape Stomp, free Saturday culinary demonstrations and ticketed wine/brew tastings and pairings, as well as the mother of all North Tahoe foodie events, the Grand Tasting andamp; Culinary Competition on Sunday. For tickets visit;#8212; Vicki Kahn can be reached at

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