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Theresa Hayle, brown-eyed woman producer

What do you get when you blend three parts love of live music, one part red grenadine, one part love of Jack London, and a jigger of tenacity to taste? In the capable hands of local woman Theresa Hayle, you get a lively life cocktail called B.E.W. Productions.

The love of live music is not unusual. It is an ingredient commonly found in North America. In Hayle’s case, it is a fairly specific form of live music, as she is a self-professed “Deadhead.” Hayle saw the Grateful Dead perform many times. She also became quite a fan of the Jerry Garcia side project, the Jerry Garcia Band. She cites JGB’s shows at San Francisco’s Warfield Theater as being a seminal ingredient to that life cocktail.

The red grenadine is present because of its important role in a Tequila Sunrise, Hayle’s drink of choice at those important Warfield shows.

Her love of Jack London and his work was fueled by some excellent college classes at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. It made Hayle think, “Wouldn’t it be cool to end up in Glen Ellen?”

Hayle and her husband, Brian, now do live in Glen Ellen, and she owns a live event production company called B.E.W. Productions. Hayle, incidentally, has brown eyes, and the B.E.W. stands for “Brown-Eyed Women,” Hayle’s favorite song, coincidentally a Grateful Dead song.

Hayle was reached via telephone from her office up-valley. She spoke animatedly about her company and her work. She explained the genesis of the name she chose for her fledgling company.

“I was at a show at the Warfield watching Jerry, drinking a Tequila Sunrise, and he began to sing ‘Brown-Eyed Women.’” The chorus of the song mentions red grenadine. Hayle thought, “Hey, I’m a brown-eyed woman…drinking red grenadine!” Thus, a name was determined for the soon to be founded company.

In the above referenced recipe, the jigger of tenacity is added as a necessary ingredient just to give it a little punch, and make it stand out. And stand out B.E.W. Productions does.

B.E.W. was founded by Hayle in 2001. She has combined the ingredients into a busy one-woman outfit. Hayle began her music career in 1999 when she hustled her way into a position with the High Sierra Music Festival. A long-time fan of the Quincy, California based festival, Hayle wanted to work with the team. Mustering just a touch of tenacity, she cold called them one day, saying to the surprised staff, “I want to come work for you guys. I went in and literally left with a job. That is unheard of with High Sierra.”

Her role with High Sierra, combined with her eight years of experience as tour manager for the jazz fusion/funk band Garaj Mahal, primed her to bust out on her own. With B.E.W up and running, Hayle has assisted with producing the Nike Women’s Marathon, Bay to Breakers, Rugby World Cup Sevens, and hundreds of private events.

Locally, Hayle has successfully produced the last five years of the Mayacamas Volunteer Fire Department Starlight Dinner and Auction. “In the five years I’ve done it, I more than doubled their revenue.”

As resident of the Trinity Road area, Hayle was very happy to have helped the cause. “The event is so close to my heart, it’s my community up here. And I felt really strongly about helping to give back to that community and it felt really good to help them so substantially.”

B.E.W may be a one-woman outfit, but Hayle has many friends who she calls upon for an assist. “I can call on my friends in the businesses, I can bring in food, bring in a stage and sound, and make it happen.” She tries to showcase local Sonoma County restaurants. “They have all enjoyed the experience and it has been beneficial for them,” Hayle proudly said.

Coming out of the COVID shutdown, Hayle had many friends who were needing income and happy to work. Now, with things apparently opening again, she is very busy. Hayle said, “Everybody’s moving their (previously scheduled but postponed) events to the fall…we are making it happen.”

She most recently produced the successful Music From the Vines shows at Little Vineyards, in Glen Ellen. Joan and Rich Little have hosted the concert at their gorgeous winery, a perfect venue for a small concert. Over the course of five shows, Hayle has brought in a little jazz, a little Americana, a little Dead, and even the (venue owner) Rich Little Band.

This coming Sunday is the final show of the series, featuring a handful of the best of the Grateful Dead’s extended family of players performing in a band called The Pebbles. The band features Greg Anton, Stu Allen, Lebo, Robin Sylvester and Stephanie Salva. It will be a fitting last show of the season, and one all North Bay music lovers should try to catch.

Still a young woman, Hayle has countless shows, festivals, and events down the road. Her attention to detail and pure enthusiasm all but guarantee a fruitful future.

She is nowhere near retiring, but Hayle thinks of Jack London often and said, “I always joke that when I retire, I’m going to be a docent at Jack London State Park, because I’m a perfect fit.”

That’s where that optional jigger of tenacity will come in handy. Hayle will just walk into the office and come out with a job.

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