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Six String Society’s Pianotastic project

Kenneth Rexrode brings concert theatrical to Oceanside

Post-pandemic promoter Kenneth Rexrode is ready to ride.
Post-pandemic promoter Kenneth Rexrode is ready to ride.

North County concert impresario Kenneth Rexrode had zero experience in the music business when he was approached nearly ten years ago by a local country-music singer. “His name was Tony Suraci, and he wanted me to help produce an ‘outlaw country’ show. That idea eventually evolved into The Highwaymen,” a tribute band playing the music of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson. “Tony taught me the music side, and I went to work promoting, booking and co-producing the show. Over the last nine years, the show has performed at The Belly Up over 20 times.”

After getting that taste of music promotion, Rexrode was hooked. “A couple of years later, I had this dream of another type of show, one that would mix theater along with the music. It would be set in a ‘living room,’ with each show having a different story, while showcasing San Diego talent, including Whitney Shay, Gregory Page, and others. We have had six versions of the Six String Society show since we started seven years ago. It’s been quite a journey since our first show at 98 Bottles, with 35 people in the audience. Obviously, we started with the guitar, but it has evolved into lots of other things over the years. It’s expanded in lots of ways, including cruises around the Bay.”

Like everyone else in the entertainment business, the Six String Society was hit hard by Covid-19, eventually shutting down for 16 months. But they recently came back with “HalloGras,” a floating show which combined a Halloween and Mardi Gras cruise (which had been cancelled twice) featuring nine bands. “It’s a three and a half-hour cruise out of the Bahia Resort on a vessel with three levels and 500-person capacity. There’s music happening on all three levels. We’ve done seven of them now, and they’ve turned into special events.”

Next up for the organization is an ancillary production called “Pianotastic,” which will serve as a fundraiser for The Piano Project, another Rexrode idea which delivers donated pianos to schools and other public places.

Past Event

Six String Society: Pianotastic

  • Saturday, December 4, 2021, 7 p.m.
  • Star Theatre, 402 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside

“That concert is coming up on December 4. It’ll be held at the Star Theater in Oceanside. Obviously, it’s gonna be piano-centric. The headliner is going to be Brockett Parsons, who has been the keyboard player for Lady Gaga for the last 11 years. He’s the co-creator of this beautiful circular instrument called the piano arch. Additionally, we’ll have the Taryn Donath Trio featuring Laura Chavez, plus [frequent Six String guest] Jody Bagley on Hammond organ. Hosting the show will be Robert Parker; he’s kind of an ambassador of goodwill and humanity as well as a hell of a piano player. Opening the evening will be a koto player named Reiko Obata. She’ll come back at the end with Brocket Parsons. That’s another feature of Six String Society shows — we like to bring all the acts back at the end to play together. It’s a great way to bring people together through music.”

Rexrode is careful to note that “we are observing the CDC guidelines brought down from the State. So of course, we’re checking for proof of vaccinations. Things can always change, but that’s the requirement at this point. If they can’t prove they’ve been vaccinated, they need to wear a mask.” Hopefully Covid protocols won't still be an issue at just-announced events at the 27 Club on February 10 and the Mardi Gras Cruise on March 5.

Biggest lesson learned in the nine years since starting the Six String Society? “Take chances, believe in myself, trust the performers, and just focus on making each show great. If I do that, everything seems to fall into place.”

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“We didn’t grow up with electricity. We didn’t grow up with food.”
Post-pandemic promoter Kenneth Rexrode is ready to ride.
Post-pandemic promoter Kenneth Rexrode is ready to ride.

North County concert impresario Kenneth Rexrode had zero experience in the music business when he was approached nearly ten years ago by a local country-music singer. “His name was Tony Suraci, and he wanted me to help produce an ‘outlaw country’ show. That idea eventually evolved into The Highwaymen,” a tribute band playing the music of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson. “Tony taught me the music side, and I went to work promoting, booking and co-producing the show. Over the last nine years, the show has performed at The Belly Up over 20 times.”

After getting that taste of music promotion, Rexrode was hooked. “A couple of years later, I had this dream of another type of show, one that would mix theater along with the music. It would be set in a ‘living room,’ with each show having a different story, while showcasing San Diego talent, including Whitney Shay, Gregory Page, and others. We have had six versions of the Six String Society show since we started seven years ago. It’s been quite a journey since our first show at 98 Bottles, with 35 people in the audience. Obviously, we started with the guitar, but it has evolved into lots of other things over the years. It’s expanded in lots of ways, including cruises around the Bay.”

Like everyone else in the entertainment business, the Six String Society was hit hard by Covid-19, eventually shutting down for 16 months. But they recently came back with “HalloGras,” a floating show which combined a Halloween and Mardi Gras cruise (which had been cancelled twice) featuring nine bands. “It’s a three and a half-hour cruise out of the Bahia Resort on a vessel with three levels and 500-person capacity. There’s music happening on all three levels. We’ve done seven of them now, and they’ve turned into special events.”

Next up for the organization is an ancillary production called “Pianotastic,” which will serve as a fundraiser for The Piano Project, another Rexrode idea which delivers donated pianos to schools and other public places.

Past Event

Six String Society: Pianotastic

  • Saturday, December 4, 2021, 7 p.m.
  • Star Theatre, 402 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside

“That concert is coming up on December 4. It’ll be held at the Star Theater in Oceanside. Obviously, it’s gonna be piano-centric. The headliner is going to be Brockett Parsons, who has been the keyboard player for Lady Gaga for the last 11 years. He’s the co-creator of this beautiful circular instrument called the piano arch. Additionally, we’ll have the Taryn Donath Trio featuring Laura Chavez, plus [frequent Six String guest] Jody Bagley on Hammond organ. Hosting the show will be Robert Parker; he’s kind of an ambassador of goodwill and humanity as well as a hell of a piano player. Opening the evening will be a koto player named Reiko Obata. She’ll come back at the end with Brocket Parsons. That’s another feature of Six String Society shows — we like to bring all the acts back at the end to play together. It’s a great way to bring people together through music.”

Rexrode is careful to note that “we are observing the CDC guidelines brought down from the State. So of course, we’re checking for proof of vaccinations. Things can always change, but that’s the requirement at this point. If they can’t prove they’ve been vaccinated, they need to wear a mask.” Hopefully Covid protocols won't still be an issue at just-announced events at the 27 Club on February 10 and the Mardi Gras Cruise on March 5.

Biggest lesson learned in the nine years since starting the Six String Society? “Take chances, believe in myself, trust the performers, and just focus on making each show great. If I do that, everything seems to fall into place.”

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