Meet Pepper: Northern California


Hi from the San Francisco Bay Area!  The J.W. Pepper Northern California store is located in sunny Dublin, California, about 40 miles east of San Francisco.  We moved to this spot in the spring of 2008 from our original Fremont location which opened in 2001.

Our staff has fun working together and that energy translates into a relaxed and happy store environment.  We’ve worked hard to make our store into a valuable resource for the music community, and in the process we’ve made good friends along the way.

Ryan Blauvelt, Regional Marketing Manager, has been with Pepper since 2007.  He has a Bachelor of Music in percussion performance from Long Beach State University.  Ryan loves playing live music gigs, sports, backpacking absurdly long distances, and exploring the sights, sounds, and tastes of San Francisco.

Ashli Montgomery, diehard San Francisco 49ers fan and lover of the outdoors, has a business management degree from San Francisco State and has worked for Pepper for 3½ years.  Recently engaged, she is looking forward to planning a wedding in the upcoming year!

Katie Waters has a degree in applied mathematics from Sacramento State and plays tenor sax in a Dixieland jazz group called the Jelly Jam Jazz Band.  She’s also a counselor at the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Youth Camp where she teaches kids about Dixieland music.

David Song is our resident choral music expert and has a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Cal State Hayward.  He’s also our graphic design genius, creating impressive signs, postcards and posters for our events.  David’s dog Melo often comes to work and is considered the “office dog.”

Hosting live events, both inside and outside our store, is a large part our fun at work.  We hosted famed composer Frank Ticheli in February 2011 and Dr. Peter Boonshaft in August later that year.  On October 20 we will host Beth Peterson, author of The Music Teacher’s First Year, in a clinic targeted to college music students and new music teachers.  We also host an annual customer appreciation party. This year our outdoor courtyard provided excellent acoustics for our featured entertainment:  a jazz band made up of local high school students!

Pepper Northern California regional marketing center
 Working at “the Dublin branch” is a special experience.  Each of us brings unique qualities to the store and this combination of personalities makes a visit efficient and memorable!  We enjoy working on new projects that will result in bringing musicians together to exchange ideas and knowledge.  We are very proud of our store and would love for you to visit!

Visit Pepper NorCal’s website.

Hang out with us on Facebook.



Jen Tolnay
Jen Tolnay has been working for J.W. Pepper since 1991. She previously worked in customer service, and now spends her time on Pepper’s social media efforts. Jen has a degree in music theory from Temple University, and spent many years as musical director and accompanist for a variety of musical theatre productions She also works as the choir director/pianist/organist at a local church.

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