I tag along when my sweet bride finds all sorts of free things to discover around Sonoma County. It gets me away from the computer screen and out to see something new. (Take note, fellows. Wives are good for you this way.)

Last Sunday she took me to a free concert at Sonoma State University’s mostly completed Green Music Center. The concert by the Trio Navarro (playing Brahms and Ravel) was delightful in itself. But it was especially intriguing to get to see the inside of that new concert hall with its portable chairs and a lobby that still shows unfinished stairs and walls.

What caught our eyes as we exited were a series of artistic renderings that speak to future events. One showed the back wall of the concert hall opened up and hundreds of people outside seated under the open sky around tables with white linens.  Later I noticed that our concert program cover had similar art with families sitting on picnic blankets outside the opened hall.

I have heard rumblings of debate about whether the music center will prove to be a shining star for the university or the financial equivalent of cement shoes. It will be a story to watch in the years ahead. But in order to get a better sense of what’s going on, it helps to see this massive new complex that is taking shape on the back side of the Rohnert Park campus.

For those who want a free look, the university is giving another concert at 7:30 p.m. March 25. The concert is titled “Symphonic Wind Ensemble: European Delights.” While there is no charge, advance reservations for tickets are required by calling the School of Performing Arts Box Office, 664-2353.

For more information about SSU’s spring concerts and performances, click here. To learn more about the Green Music Center, click here.

— Robert Digitale