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DVC legend and guitar rockstar Steve Sage passes away after fight with prostate cancer

Steve Sage performing at DVC. Courtesy of Linda Sage.

Steve Sage

Steve Sage performing at DVC. Courtesy of Linda Sage.

Will Nevin, News Editor

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On January 19th, 2017, Diablo Valley College legend and famous guitar instructor Steve Sage peacefully passed away at the age of 61, after battling stage-four prostate cancer for over a year.

Sage earned two Performing Arts degrees, one from Musicians Institute (GIT) and another from Cal State East Bay (Theory/Composition), and has taught thousands of students from Skyline College, Cal State East Bay, SF State, Musician’s Institute, and Diablo Valley College.

Michael Laczon, a friend and colleague within the Music department, recollects how “Steve was such an amazing human being. He really connected on a human level with his students. Almost every student became fans of Steve after graduating. He inspired students to realize their musical dreams and believe in themselves. Steve connected with people unlike anyone I’ve seen. After looking at the chances of survival for stage four prostate cancer, I knew if anyone could pull off a miracle, it would be Steve.”

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer identified in the first stage has a 99% survival rating in America. However, when identified in its forth stage, the survival rating drops to 28%.

Performance Arts and Drama professor Ed Trujillo considers himself  “a close friend to Steve. Our students [within the Drama and Music Department] would work together for musicals and other events. Steve had a way to connect with students from a personal level and inspire them to challenge their fears like stage fright or playing in front of crowds. He didn’t always follow the rules, and had his own way of doing things. He always had good intentions and had his heart in the right place. Not many people know this, but he was a part-time teacher here at DVC. Probably the most well known, hard working, and recognizable part-time teacher here.”

Bruce Cook, another friend of Sage’s and colleague within the Music department, remembers how “Steve’s music classes served as one of the strongest foundations to the music department for many years. His following and reputation is legendary, and the impact he had on helping countless musicians launch careers is inestimable. I know of one student who studied with Steve over fifteen years ago who has released numerous CDs and developed a tremendous following in Sweden and Germany in addition to performing at venues through the United States.”

Dozens of bands have been inspired by Sage over the decades including Mitch Polzak and the Royal Deuces, The Polzak BrothersIdlewild West, The Element, Ryan Manzi Blues Band, Alhambra Valley Band, Andrew Carriere and the Cajun All Stars, and many more.  

“There was never a day that Steve did not hold his students’ best interests at the highest professional level,” Cook further explains. “His expectations for them to master musical concepts, interpretation, and performance were high. The music department has lost a remarkable faculty member and this is deeply felt by all. It is difficult to realize that our new and returning students will not have the privilege to learn from Steve’s experiences as a renowned performer and lecturer.”

After teaching thousands of students within the Diablo Valley College music department and nurturing countless student bands over the last few decades, Steve Sage is a DVC legend and will be remembered through his wife Linda, daughter Danielle, tens of thousands of students, dozens of bands, and the music they all created.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “DVC legend and guitar rockstar Steve Sage passes away after fight with prostate cancer”

  1. Kerry Pay on May 5th, 2017 12:07 pm

    Kim Pay, my 69 yr old brother who was Steve’s teaching assistant for Steve’s Wednesday evening classes also died by undiagnosed illness until I requested transfer to nursing home because I was unable to properly care for him since I already was hired to care for my high school best friend who had a stroke due to bad medical care in America. Too many people are dying unnecessarily because illnesses are not treated or diagnosed until too late. I have an entire home of my brother’s musical possessions that I now must part to pay his debts and funeral expenses. Our home was burglarized by Kaiser home health aides when I was gone for medical appointments for senior I was hired to provide 24 hr support. Please come by our home so I can provide any support for the music students who Kim loved. Very sad that Steve and Kim died needlessly because of undiagnosed treatable illness. Rooms to rent to students are available very close to DVC as our home should be used by our love of musicians and students. Both Kim and Steve can start a band in heaven together. (Address redacted)

    [Reply]

    Nikki Moylan Reply:

    We redacted the address due to policy.

    [Reply]

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DVC legend and guitar rockstar Steve Sage passes away after fight with prostate cancer