Mirabai and Steve Bangs’ story began with a blind date. Steve’s rock bank Creekfrog was practicing at a house in Menlo Park, and Mirabai’s sister had arranged for Mirabai to come and meet him. When she walked in the door and their eyes met “they each felt like they had known each other before and were meant to be together. It was love at first sight!” as Mirabai explains. It was at this first date that their musical connection began as well, and the two sang together as Steve played his guitar. That was in 1971.
Mirabai and Steve were both drawn to inspirational spiritual music and have been making music together throughout their 48 year marriage. They perform at Sunday services at Unity churches and Centers for Spiritual Living in the Bay Area and have released 5 CD’s of their original music.
Mirabai grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Los Altos, California, as a child. She received her B.A. from San Francisco State University and her Master’s from Hayward State (Cal State East Bay now). She taught for 23 years at Walnut Acres Elementary School, mostly in 3rd grade. When she runs into past students many thank her for teaching them to be such good creative writers. Mirabai, even though retired since 2015, continues to teach creative writing to her grandson, Jacob, over Zoom. As Mirabai says, “one of the best parts of being a teacher is being appreciated and seeing how wonderfully your students have grown into loving adults.”
Steve, after growing up in Webster Groves, Missouri and coming to California to attend Stanford University, graduated from San Jose State and spent his professional career as a regional manager with the San Francisco office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) where he helped many Californians start and grow their small businesses.
Since 2015 the couple has devoted more time to their inspirational music. They have a duo called Heartdream (Heartdream.com), which is known for its uplifting songs and celestial vocal harmony supported by Steve’s guitar and Mirabai’s Native American flute and a metallophone (a small xylophone). They often take their music on the road to places all along the West Coast and the Southwest, and have also performed in Virginia, Maui, Australia and New Zealand.
The Bangses are also big supporters of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), and Mirabai (along with friend Joy Parsons) developed a pet care training program for children entitled “Arfie and Meow Meow.”
The couple has two grown children, Cherise and Nathaniel, who attended Valle Verde, Foothill and Northgate. Cherise, who is now married to Adam Kruger and living in Vancouver, British Columbia, was captain of Northgate’s Pikettes, a tall flag squad that was part of the marching band. She traveled to Taiwan for a competition with the team in her senior year. She is now an actress and has appeared on TV sitcoms, including a role as the art teacher on iCarly.
Cherise and Adam have one son, Jacob, who is 9 years old. Cherise continues to work as an actress and an Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist.
Nathaniel Bangs learned to play the drums at age 7 and went on to play in Foothill’s band and Northgate’s award-winning Jazz Band. He graduated with a BA in music from Sonoma State and continues to play the drums in a rock band called Get in the Groove, which plays throughout Contra Costa County. He is also a certified massage therapist and has his own business, Attunement Massage.
Their two dogs, Mitzi and Leelu, have recently passed away, and the Bangses are waiting for a while to adopt some new furry friends from ARF.
This musically talented family enjoys having family jam sessions, including even their 9-year-old grandson who recently learned to play the guitar from his “Grampy” Steve over Zoom.
The Bangs family moved to the Rancho Paraiso neighborhood 28 years ago from the Woodlands. “We love Walnut Creek and Rancho Paraiso because of their natural beauty and proximity to open space and beautiful parks and trails,” says Mirabai. “One of our greatest joys is sitting at our patio table in our park-like back yard, feeling the breeze as it rustles through the trees, watching the butterflies explore the flowers, seeing the raptors soar … and watching the hummingbirds jockey for position at the feeders! We call our backyard “Hummingbird Heaven!””
A favorite memory of the neighborhood took place in October a few years ago when they were on Mt. Diablo during the Monarch butterfly season. As they sat in a sea of tall amber grass, thousands of Monarchs surrounded them. “We were submerged in a wave of fluttering wings,” shares Mirabai. “It was magical!” Perhaps there will someday be a song about it!
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By Kara Navolio, Resident since 1991 | Photos provided by Bangs family