Tom Bopp - Performance Reviews

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News Articles

·   2015 Oct. 8 (Merced Sun-Star) How Yosemite Celebrates by Debbie Croft, covering the Yosemite National Park 125th Anniversary event, October 1, 2015. “Tom Bopp played a keyboard and serenaded those waiting with fun, historic songs the listeners could join in on.”

·   2015 Aug. 21 (360 Magazine, Delaware North Corporation) Music to the ears of Wawona Hotel guests by Charles Roberts. “If I’ve got one guest in the room, I’ll entertain them just as I’ve got a room full of people, and pretty soon I will have a full room because one guest being interested brings in more.”

·   2014 Dec. 25 (KQED Public Radio) The California Report, December 25, 2014 by Alice Daniel. "It’s Christmastime at the historic Wawona Hotel in Yosemite National Park ... Visitors nestle around a crackling fireplace, sip hot chocolate and hot toddies — and listen to Tom Bopp."

·   2014 May 26 (Northern California) Mountain Democrat “California Rambling: Wonderful Wawona” by John Poimiroo. Quote: The Wawona Hotel has become famous for its historical performer, Tom Bopp, who has, like so many other living Yosemite institutions, come to represent and interpret the cultural and social heartbeat and history of the national park.”

·   2013 Oct. 29 (Los Angeles South Bay Area) Easy Reader News “Tom Bopp at the keys: Ragtime rolls into El Segundo” by Alyssa Morin. Quote: Tom plays at the Wawona nightly, offering ‘everything from cabaret songs, antique salon music, cowboy ditties, leftovers from long-ago classical piano lessons, Depression-era tunes, and ragtime.’ And though musical tastes have changed in his 55 years, he still sees people of all ages drawn to the music of the first half of the 20th century.”

·   2009 July 1 UCLA Magazine “Yosemite’s Music Maker” by Dan Frankel. Quote: For more than 26 years, Bopp has connected with a steady stream of regulars, many of them San Francisco-area families who come back again and again to the rustic hotel that has no TV and spotty cell phone service, just to get convivial with a piano player who really knows how to work a room.”

·   2007 Aug. 19 Sunday Fresno Bee Front Page “Window into Yosemite’s Past – Tom Bopp tells timeless tales of Yosemite as he softly tinkles the grand piano” by Guy Keeler, reprinted here and here. Quote: His style is friendly and unhurried, like a favorite uncle home for Thanksgiving to play at a family sing-along. He uses no music and follows no playlist. If the audience feels like talking, he'll spin stories -- then play music inspired by the conversation. People drift in and out of the parlor all evening. By 8 p.m., the room often is packed, with those who can't find seats sometimes sprawled on the floor in front of the piano.”

·   2000 March 21 Bakersfield Californian “Piano man adds magic to Yosemite” by Herb Benham. Quote: “The more Bopp played, the quieter the room became. Those who weren’t paying attention, started to. Each song rolled through the room like a Mercedes off an assembly line. The songs were masterpieces any way you looked at them. Serendipity. It’s better than money. It’s being there when something good happens. In this case, Irish music.”

·   2000 August America West Magazine “Piano Man” by Kathryn Wilkens. Quote: “Bopp has become both a fixture at the hotel and a passionate preserver of history at the park he now calls home.”

Wawona Hotel Guest Comments:


The lounge pianist/vocalist Tom Bopp is an outstanding attraction, and is the primary reason that we chose to schedule our stay and event at the Wawona Hotel. The place would not be the same without him.



Enjoyed Tom Bopp at the piano bar very much in the evening. We attended on both evenings of our stay and having this wonderful entertainment is an additional reason we enjoy staying at the Wawona.



The combination of Yosemite and Tom Bopp keeps bringing us back. We stay 3-5 times per year.



We have been going to the Wawona for 30 years and we like the fact that it is consistent…We enjoy the evenings with Tom Bopp.



Of course Tom Bopp is what fills the lounge 5 nights a week.



We have stayed at the Wawona many times and will return again in the near future. We are particularly fond of the entertainment that Tom Bopp provides.



Tom Bopp is a jewel. We planned our stay around the days he performs. Your commitment to an old fashioned experience (unplugged, untelevised, un-muzaked) is so special. We love it and hope you maintain this atmosphere.



Enjoyed Tom Bopp, in fact, it was hearing about him that we decided to visit the Wawona



Tom Bopp is exceptional and a high value resource. I hope he stays on as long as possible.



Tom Bopp was incredible as always.



Enjoyed hearing Tom Bopp again. He is so talented and knowledgeable about the history. What a special atmosphere that creates…We’ll be back.



Hearing and seeing Tom Bopp is a joy. We LOVE the Wawona!!! Made reservations for 2 rooms for 3 nights for 2014!



I love the Wawona…I also returned to see and listen to Tom Bopp play. I’ve listened to his CD “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” dozens of times and have a copy in every car and in the house.


More Listener Reviews:

We purchased a couple of your CD's when we checked out Thursday morning and were enthralled with them as we listened on the drive back to L.A. Your music made us feel as though we couldn't leave Yosemite behind if we tried!  Dale and I stayed at the Wawona Hotel four years ago and remembered your performances as being one of the highlights of our Yosemite experience.  I wish we had had more time this trip to spend the better part of an evening listening to you play and sing, but we intend to make a special point of doing so if we return in the spring, which is our plan at this time. I look forward to playing your recordings for my 82-year-old uncle, because I know he will greatly appreciate them... Growing up in a family in which the focus was always on music, the popular songs of our parents' and grandparents' eras have always had a very special place in our hearts and memories (even though we were carefully groomed to be classical musicians!)...  Thank you for bringing several of those songs to life for us so beautifully and authentically this past week! I have been looking over your web site and thoroughly enjoying all of your thoughtful work.  Michele and I sampled the clip of your Serenade for String Quartet and would be very interested in getting the music so that we can play it!  Thanks again for working overtime last Tuesday and Wednesday evenings!  It was such a treat for us. --Melanie Morgan (11/3/02)

Last night was our last night in Yosemite for this year's trip. We had a wonderful dinner at the Wawona and a delightful evening listening to your music again. Every time we're in Yosemite, we make an effort to stay in the Wawona or Wawona area (cabins), and to listen to your enchanting music.  Spending an evening with you is often one of the highlights of our trip. We purchased your Meadow Loop CD this time and I'm listening to it now as I write this. It is a beautiful album. I hope we can see you perform again when we visit next year. --Ron Cook (9/21/02)

I really enjoyed meeting Tom Bopp. I did not get to hear him play the piano, but he was a wonderful singer. I hope that he will be making more appearances up in the Bay Area with the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra. He has one of the most authentic 1930s singing voices that I have ever heard...this gives me an additional reason to come down to Yosemite!--Frederick Hodges (9/18/02)

Just wanted to thank you for another wonderful set of evenings at the Wawona hotel.  We thought the slide show was fantastic.  Tom, it's amazing how much you know about that place.  Our children kept asking questions about the hotel for a whole day.  I think they got a perspective they were missing and all that information will make their experience there all the more enjoyable.  Your talents go far beyond the piano.  It's not easy to make a slide show interesting in this era of high tech Power Points and what-not.  It's even harder to make it interesting to children, and harder still, to make a slide show on the history  of anything, appealing to children nowadays.  But you had all our children glued to it.  Great job!  Next time, can you do a 24 hour slide show...?  We could pick up our children on the following day.  Pennies From Heaven was perfect, as usual.  Thanks for that one.  It's one of my favorites. --Federico Peinado (8/4/01)

During the three days I participated in the the [Camp Curry] Centennial [Yosemite, 1999], one could see that your many extraordinary efforts--not to mention the countless hours of preparation to interweave Music of the Era into a fabric that represented the historic "sound-a-rama" of Yosemite Valley, especially Camp Curry's invigorating chant-songs to the nostalgic, if not bitter-sweet, reflections on the Park's "Firefall" ritual, the spiritual climax of each visitor's day ending with the "Indian Love Call," --demonstrated your own passion for the history of the Yosemite culture.  I hope you have been appropriately recognized for your significant contribution. It was really an enjoyable experience to meet you and be part of such an historic occasion.   The folks passing through the Wawona Hotel are very fortunate to have the opportunity to experience your wonderful world of music. --Byrne Newhart (6/13/2000)

A couple of months ago, we spent two nights at Wawona Hotel  and I was lucky enough to hear you perform on both nights. There is something immeasurably special about the atmosphere at Wawona, and it is entirely enhanced by your performances.  I was so relaxed by my stay that just thinking about it un-creases the lines on my face!  I was delighted to be able to buy a CD of your piano playing and listen to it regularly on my commute by car between London and Windsor - it unwinds me better than a night in front of the telly.  I have now just ordered your Yosemite songs. It's wonderful that people like you keep such traditions alive. Sitting in the lounge, hearing you play, and looking at your slides, will be something I shan't forget. Many thanks. --Heather Beach (11/15/99)

My wife and I particularly enjoyed your playing at the Wawona Hotel two weeks ago. It was a highlight of our visit to California and Yosemite. We were the ones who asked for Hoagy Carmichel - who never wrote a bad tune- and Gershwin. Having found your web site helped to remind us of a pleasant afternoon . I have written to you to order a copy of Parlo(u)r Piano... -- Keith S Clark (8/13/99)

CD Reviews

Vintage Songs Of Yosemite

Hello Tom.. I started to go to Yosemite every summer from the first year I was alive till I was 23...sometimes twice a summer if my folks could work the time in...I've only been back a handful of times since my 20's..I really miss that beautiful park...I had your tape sent my way a year or so ago...those are some great old songs, Yosemite, the Senator, Let the Fire Fall, and my favorite, Indian Love step back in time... with your memories moving thru your mind you can see thru your music, Camp Curry, the fish Hatchery, the Merced River, Swingin' Bridge, Stoneman Bridge, the stables, camp 4 and 7, the bears in your grocerys, Yosemite Falls, and the most impressive Fire Fall every nite, what a sight...I'm an old sheetrock hanger,56 years old, supposed to be kind of tough,,, the songs on your album make you feel like a little kid again and if ya listen to them with nobody around,,, they will cause water to fall from your eyes and make you wish you were standing in the meadow, lookin' at Yosemite Falls on an early June morning in 1957. This is a great selection of music, thanks for making it.. and thanks for asking for my opinion... --Bryan Culbertson (11/15/01)

I visited way back in June of 2001 and was absolutely in heaven as I drove around Yosemite playing "Yosemite: Vintage Songs" as the soundtrack, and later listening to you play at the hotel. It was a sentimental and nostalgic time for me as I remembered camping in Yosemite as a young boy in the early 1950's. Thanks so much for your wonderful work/play at Yosemite! --Arlen  Alexander (10/13/02)


Your Celtic album is wonderful.  I didn't know you were into this stuff. It's quite a departure from the usual Hibernian fare, played on harps and fiddles and all.  It's the first Irish piano album I've ever heard.  You seem completely at home with this style, and play it with much affection and grace.  The 1906 piano has a nice woody sound. --Brad Kaye (3/26/02)

Just A Bowl

We (my wife son and friend)  recently stayed at the hotel (on a visit from the UK) and were royally entertained by yourself. I bought said friend your CD, 'just a bowl,' and forgot to purchase myself one (now rectified via your website). The family and friend love it! (even sixteen year old son who particularly enjoys Gigolo) Thanks very much for a special evening, it will remain in our hearts for as long as we exist. --Peter Todd (11/11/02)


Thoroughly enjoyed your disc of original compositions.  You are talented in so many directions, it's hard to know what to say.  Your command of virtually every genre is startling. --Preston Reese (11/26/02)


Hear Tom on KQED Public Radio's The California Report, December 25, 2014

Hear an article on the Wawona Hotel featured on The Savvy Traveler, broadcast October, 2000 on Public Radio International.  Hal Cannon and Teresa Jordan host, with interviews of various Wawonans including Tom.


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