On November 8th, Johnny Woolman and the Wombats—an eclectic mix of musically talented Fall 2013 students, interns, and faculty—had the rare opportunity to take the stage before renowned author Michael Pollan spoke to an audience of over 1,000 in Grass Valley. Pollan is a long-time hero at Woolman and his book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, is part of the school's Environmental Science curriculum. Pollan's work is believed by many to have created a tipping point that brought organic farming, food justice, and sustainability into mainstream popular culture. Many Woolman students and families have read his books and are thrilled to learn that his thinking is reflected in the Woolman experience—both in the classroom and in the field. The entire Woolman student body and staff were in the audience to cheer for their friends in the band and to listen to Michael Pollan speak.
The Center of the Arts, who hosted Pollan, is celebrated in the local community for its support of youth arts and giving young talent the opportunity to feel like “real artists.” The Wombats were given the same red carpet treatment that the Center gives to all the big name talent they bring to town—including greats like Arlo Guthrie, Willie Nelson, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Lyle Lovett. They were treated to VIP parking, their own green room, backstage photos, professional stage direction, and sound engineering by a master sound team.
After the event, Pamela Roberts, Marketing Director for the Center of the Arts, stated, "I heard so many compliments on behalf of the band! We received kudos from many of our patrons for booking just the right opener."
And what an audience to play for! Despite it’s small population, Nevada County is home to a large number of organizations and activists working on sustainability solutions. At the end of their show, Johnny Woolman and the Wombats received a standing ovation from this community of movers and shakers in the environmental and food-justice movements. Students in the band definitely have something to write home about!