Video highlights the day by John Drake and Rebecca Frazier.

Casey Abrams’ expression says it all as he performs during his Idyllwild homecoming celebration on Sunday, Sept. 25, at which about 1,000 residents and visitors flocked to a stage set up mid-street in front of Café Aroma on North Circle Drive. Photos by Cid Castillo

The crowd was estimated at “almost 1,000,” however locals interviewed simply said that all their neighbors and friends, including many friends from off the Hill, attended the Casey Abrams homecoming celebration. Local restaurants set up food tents and businesses sold their wares. Following tradition established during summer concerts, locals brought folding chairs and enjoyed the music in a festive atmosphere.

Café Aroma Manager Frank Ferro welcomes Idyllwild residents and visitors to the Casey Abrams homecoming in which coordinators simply set up a stage in the middle of the street for Casey and his jazz friends to play.

Moments before appearing on stage, Abrams listens to the crowds and reflects on his homecoming.

The crowd

Attendees to the Casey homecoming were treated to jazz in its most innovative form as Abrams and his mentor, Marshall Hawkins, scatted during one of the many songs at the jazz jam and block party.

As part of the 2009 and 2010 Aroma Jazz Fests, the “Cigar Jazz Lounge” was held at Idyllwild Heating & Cooling. Abrams performed both years at this venue. Since then, he has played at Idyllwild Heating on several occasions, and owner Steve Holldber thought it was appropriate to name this small patch of soil the “Casey Abrams Park.” Casey unveiled the hand-carved sign late Sunday night after his homecoming party.

The preparation

Casey Abrams takes photos of the crowd with his phone.


  1. I got a few good photos of the crowd and Casey on my facebook page. Tag yourself in them if you see them or even if you are just in the crowd. I have a pretty good video of Casey singing Nature Boy. The sound is great but I had a hard time holding the camera steady over my head because of the people in front of me.