DVC alumni honor Steve Sage at Walnut Festival

Will Nevin, Staff member

Over the past 20 years, Steve Sage was an inspiration and mentor for thousands of students within the Diablo Valley College music department.

Previously a professor at the Musicians Institute, Skyline College, the Guitar Institute of London, Guitar Activity Center and San Francisco State University, Sage is a renowned musician who has taught in a broad range of campuses around the world.

The Heather Farms Walnut Festival in Walnut Creek, is a yearly event Steve Sage has lined up for his various student groups to have the opportunity to learn firsthand how a live performance operates.

Dozens of students from Sage’s class throughout the years have formed their own bands and were lined up to perform early Saturday afternoon, some at the last minute.

Casey Conroy, an alumni of DVC and performer at the Walnut Festival, says, “Sage has a reputation for spending countless hours organizing gigs, training students, and forming bands together.”

One of Sage’s former student Mitch Polzak, who performed in the band “Royal Deuces” at the Walnut Festival explains, “Steve Sage assisted with the formation of the band and showed us great work ethic on and off stage. He’s a planner, coach, teacher, a great human being, and a general bad ass.”

While the “Royal Deuces” were performing to an early Saturday afternoon crowd, Mitch honored Steve Sage in the middle of their performance. “We’re keeping the spirit of Steve Sage’s class alive. He’s been the Godfather of so many bands and taught us to respect the art.”

Another one of Sage’s former student Courtney Dubovsky was performing at the Walnut Festival that Saturday afternoon as well. She says Steve Sage’s class, “Completely changed my taste in music. Broadened my musical horizons. Started enjoying jazz and soul artists.”

One year ago, Steve Sage retired from teaching at DVC due to a diagnosis of stage four prostate cancer. Sage has recovered well after six months of chemotherapy, being seen at the Walnut Festival rocking out with his previous students was quite a sight.