Music on Mission

A vibrant music program and talented church choir have been the hallmark of the United Church of Hayward since our inception in 1959. Through the years, dozens of talented congregational members, choir directors and musicians have stirred our souls with the gift of music.

“The music program always has been a most important part of the life of the church. Don Maynard took a class in choral music at California State University, Hayward and Rev. Sandven requested that he direct the Chancel Choir, which he did during the early 60’s. A youth choir, directed by Virginia Branco, sang at the first service during the early 1960’s when two services were held each Sunday. Norma Geister was the first organist, then Barbra Teel. Dale Radcliff was assistant Organist from age 12 to age 18 . . . when he left for college”

 From “The First Thirty Years 1959-1989” by William L. Thomas, Moderator 1989

 It may be a surprise that the long legacy of music in South Hayward is not limited to UCH. South of us on Mission Blvd. the Garden of Allah drew top name country and western stars during the 1950’s featuring Cottonseed Clark and the Home Town Jamboree. In the 1960’s and just up the road, Frenchy’s was the most popular East Bay performance venue between Berkeley and San Jose. Fifty years ago as San Francisco was becoming known for the Summer of Love, many bands found their way to South Hayward to perform. Van Morrison, Big Brother Holding Company, the Temptations and the Drifters, Tower of Power, Joe Cocker, Buddy Rich, Eric Burdon Bo Diddley, Sly and the Family Stone, Charlie Musselwhite, Neil Diamond, Elvin Bishop BB King and many other headliners could be heard on any given weekend evening. Local garage bands filled in during the week and Dottie recalls that her son Dale’s band played frequently at Frenchy’s while brother Jerry was busy creating light shows in San Francisco for big name bands like Metallica. Frank Zappa and the Mothers got in trouble with the local union by playing at Frenchy’s for two weeks without paying their $28.48 dues. And after leaving the Jackson Five a young Michael Jackson played Frenchy’s promoting his new hit ...Beat It.  In June of 1965 a band featuring Bill Krentzmann, Ron McKerman, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia performed at Frenchy’s as the Warlocks. That gig is now recognized by many as the first ever performance of the band that became The Grateful Dead.

Rocker Bobbie Freeman (“Do you want to Dance?”) was a regular as was Earl “Fatha” Hines in the later years of their careers and as Frenchy’s evolved into a more sedate dinner club. Frenchy’s closed in 1983 and will be remembered by many as the “hippest club in an unhip area”.

The legacy of beautiful music continues each Sunday morning at UCH as it has for nearly 6 decades by our dedicated Choir, Music Director and multitalented Musician. Thank you Dee-Anne, Betty, Pamela, Laura, Steve, Gene and Beau for keeping music alive on Mission.   -Bill