The Mother Lode Symphony teams with conductor Ryan Murray to bring music to Angels Camp
In their first appearance with conductor Ryan Murray, the Chamber Orchestra of the Mother Lode Friends of Music will be serving up a buffet of American Composers. Murray, who is also artistic director of the Fresno Opera, brings the passion of youth to the music (at 31 he is the youngest director in the history of the Fresno Opera). According to president and pianist Ron Brickman, they’ll be treating listeners to a “nice survey of American music.”
That means there will be something for everyone. Lovers of European-style symphony will be pleased with the soaring Suite for Strings of Arthur Foote; those more in tune with 20th-century orchestra works will tear up at the emotion in Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.
Celebrate spring with Copland
Perhaps the most winning of all the pieces planned for Sunday—and the cornerstone of the concert—is Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” commissioned by choreographer and dancer Martha Graham. Written for a ballet, the music has become a stand-alone American classic concert known for the motif of a Shaker hymn that skips and glides through the piece.
According to Murray, “There are few pieces of music that so simply and powerfully capture the spirit of American music.” The orchestra will perform the work the way it was originally performed, stripping the cast size down to just a 13-member set that includes strings, piano, and wind instruments.
“I find this original chamber version to be the most powerful arrangement of the work,” Murray said.
This arrangement might be unfamiliar to many listeners. “One just doesn’t have the opportunity to hear it live anymore,” Brickman said.
Two other Copland works will be familiar to listeners: “Quiet City,” which shows off Copland’s interest in jazz, and “Hoedown for Strings,” a rollicking tribute to American folk music that will remind you of every John Ford Western you’ve ever seen.
TSIAJ will make you laugh
To offset the earnestness of composers like Copland and Barber, the orchestra may shock you by their performance of Charles Ives’s “TSIAJ (This Scherzo is a Joke).”
According to Brickman, it’s a conglomeration of sound. “He took common tunes, Yale fraternity songs, American folk music. It’s like a revival meeting on speed. There are over 30 little snippets of popular American tunes. It’s kind of a puzzle.”
"Charles Ives was a radical.
When this piece was first performed, Brickman said, “it was unlike anything that came before. It was just like exploding a bomb. It will probably be like that in our concert. People will be blown away.”
Charles Ives was a “radical,” Brickman said, “Ahead of his time. He was an original American who wrote original music.”
All the featured composers were Americans who wanted to create a new, energetic language for a new energetic land. The selected pieces are modern-sounding, chic, clean, and pulsing with the power of America. This concert of American composers will make your Sunday great.
Tickets for the March 5 performance are available at calaverasarts.org, 209/754-1774, at the office/gallery at 22 Main St. in San Andreas, or at the theatre box office starting at 2:30 pm the day of the concert.
The Bret Harte Theatre is located at 323 Highway 49, Angels Camp, where there’s plenty of free parking and many designated handicapped seats.
The Mother Lode Friends of Music concert is part of the Ovations 2017 Performing Arts Series, a concert series presented by the Calaveras County Arts Council, a 35-year old non-profit organization, partially funded by the California Arts Council, a State agency.
Cycle or walk for arts education
Ride & Walk4 Art: Sunday, March 19, 2017
8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
To really experience the spectacular Calaveras spring, you need to get out of your car and take some time to savor the wildflowers blooming across the Kelly green hills, and the streams and ponds that reflect the sky. At the annual Ride & Walk4Art event on Sunday, March 19 at the Calaveras County Arts Council gallery in San Andreas, cyclists and walkers can enjoy this beauty and help fund arts in education at the same time.
Cyclist Rob Williams has a couple of motives for organizing this event. “I want kids to be exposed to the arts,” he said. “It’s a way to help local parents and administrators say art matters.” But he has other motives. “I also want people to start biking and walking in the foothills.”
Don't worry about sweating too hard; this fundraiser is more about fun than it is about mileage. The bike ride is a slow-and-go ride allowing participants the option of riding 1 to 24 round-trip miles along Pool Station Road, one of Calaveras County’s most beautiful country roads for cycling in early springtime. Williams insists that the ride isn’t that difficult. The distance and elevation change of this 12-mile route makes it a Category 3 Hors Categorie bike ride. “It’s a challenge,” Williams said, “but it’s still doable. Riders should not give up. During the whole ride, the cyclist is rewarded with absolutely beautiful views of the rural foothills.”
The ride distance isn’t cast in stone; cyclists can opt to turn around at anytime to avoid hills, or they can continue 12 miles to turn around at State Highway 4. Tired cyclists will find rest and snack stations at mile 3, 5 and 12.
The walk is an easy 1-mile path through Turner Park in San Andreas, and walkers will receive raffle tickets for each mile walked to win special prizes (Cyclists will get raffle tickets at the end of their rides). Live music and an art show featuring art about bicycling and walking will make the day festive, and a traditional Calaveras County-chicken-in-a-barrel barbecue with fixin's will feed hungry cyclists and walkers.
Have fun and raise money for art education
More importantly, according to Williams, Ride & Walk4Art is the major fundraiser at the arts council to support arts education in Calaveras County schools.
“Children in Calaveras County have limited chances to learn about dance, music, visual art and dramatic arts,” Williams said. “While parents and teachers do pay attention to exposing students to art education, Ride & Walk4Art, which is supported by local businesses and participants, provides funds to expand and enrich the arts in schools.”
Williams has seen how arts education can help students. “During my 25 year tenure as principal in Modesto City Schools, students in each grade level attended district wide art performances paid for by local businesses and Stanislaus Partners in Education. The art performances included Fairy Tale Plays, Holiday Modesto Symphony Performances, puppet shows and performances showing cultural artistic traditions. All performances were designed for young children, and students were never disappointed; they would return to school excited about being treated to a day at the theater!”
But the arts were about more than entertainment, Williams said. “Students attending each performance were taught how to enjoy and behave. An important part of a students’ school experience was to sit quietly through a performance and to show appreciation for artists. And, hopefully as young adults, they will patronize arts in their own communities.”
This annual event is part of the Calaveras County Arts Council, which for over 35 years has sponsored arts education programs in all county schools. The Council has helped school administrators and teachers provide students with quality art performances in classrooms and assemblies, paint historic murals on school walls, teach art classes, and hire theater groups like B Street Theatre from Sacramento.
Calaveras County Arts Council is proud to present the Latin fusion band, Los Pinguos, in concert on Sunday, February 26 at 3 p.m. The concert will be held at the Dr. Elliott Smart Performing Arts Center at Bret Harte High School in Angels Camp, CA.
Los Pinguos Latin dance music sets Angels Camp on fire
It’s a good thing the Dr. Elliott Smart Performing Arts Center, aka the Bret Harte Theatre, has such wide aisles, because on Sunday, February 26, when Los Pinguos starts playing their energetic mix of salsa, rock, reggae, rumba flamenca, and even traditional tango, you might just want to jump up and dance between the seats. Everything about this music is happy. “Every time we play, people dance,” said guitar player and lead singer Adrian Buono. “When we play in the theatre, the audience starts sitting down, but by the end, they’re standing up.” Once this band riffles through the first few chords, you’ll be shaking it for all you’re worth.
Los Pinguos started playing urban clubs and festivals in Buenos Aires in the 90s, where they honed their sound in dance clubs and at private parties. After coming to California in 2001 and gaining recognition as a dance band and a successful street band, they caught the ear of a talent scout who urged them to audition for Ed McMahon’s show, “The Next Big Star.” They won that show and have been getting people up and dancing ever since, recording with Kufala Records and Putamayo World Music, and performing with performers like Ozomatli, Yerba Buena, Plácido Domingo, and Suzanne Vega. If their music sounds a bit familiar, it’s because it’s been on TV shows such as "The Shield", "The L Word", and is featured in the Antonio Banderas & Emma Thompson film "Imagining Argentina".
Four musicians make exciting music
They’re a tight band, with close harmonies, detailed rhythms and excellent phrasing. That comes as no surprise; they’ve been playing together for years. Buono and bass player Santiago Lee traded tunes as teenagers in Buenos Aires, and Jose Agote, on guitar and vocals, has been with the band since 1999, after ten years performing and recording in Argentina. The new kid, Pablo Medina, keyboard player, has been with the band for four years, and brings experience from a variety of bands in the L.A. area.
These four musicians will blend vocals with acoustic guitars, electric bass and keyboards to create a textured, rhythm-driven sound that can range from romantic tropical ballads to head-bopping ska-infused rock. Their repertoire ranges widely and mixes styles freely; their most recent album, Regardel, blends traditional tango with reggae, while their more traditional work leans on Cuban music like rumba flamenco. “It’s world music,” Buono said, “It’s impossible to call it one style. Some songs are more urban, some more flamenco. It’s Latin music! The sound is unique.”
The Los Pinguos concert is part of the Ovations 2017 Performing Arts Series, a concert series presented by the Calaveras County Arts Council, a 35-year old non-profit organization, partially funded by the California Arts Council, a State agency.
Tickets are available at calaverasarts.org, 209/754-1774, at the office/gallery at 22 Main St. in San Andreas, or at the theatre box office starting at 2:30 pm the day of the concert. The Bret Harte Theatre is located at 323 Highway 49, Angels Camp, where there’s plenty of free parking and many designated handicapped seats.
Why the arts are important for all of us.
I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Maggie, the new administrative assistant at Calaveras County Arts Council. I am so pleased to be working for this tiny non-profit with big ideas and an even bigger heart. I love working for an organization that believes in the arts, believes that art in all forms is essential to life, community, health, and happiness and works to support the arts in our county.
Can art save lives?
Let me tell you a personal story about how art got me through high school.
I was not a great high school student. Given my druthers, I’d have ditched school every day to hang out in the parking lot. I didn’t care much for class. But there was one thing I did love: clay.
I loved making things out of clay. I loved wedging up the wet clay, I loved building things, I loved planning my glazes, helping with the firing, unloading the kilns. And I had a ceramics teacher—Mr. Adams—who was pretty observant.
I was super-lucky to have been in high school in a time and place that was flush with money for the arts. We had an entire wing of classrooms at our school devoted to art, and after classes the ceramics room had open hours for students to come work.
But there was a caveat for me: Mr. Adams made me get all my teachers’ signatures to prove I’d been in class all day. That was the only way I could attend the after-school open hours.
Mr. Adams was pretty astute, because I wanted to play in the clay more than I wanted to ditch class. For three high school years I attended classes and went to ceramics in the afternoon. The carrot was made out of clay, and I chased it. I graduated and went on to college. Yay!
Tell us your story about art
At the arts council, we’d like to know your stories of how art has helped you. Whether it’s visual arts, music, dancing, acting; how has art moved you or your community forward? You can tell us in the comments section, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re listening!
If you need a break from Superbowl Sunday and all that guacamole dip madness, then you'll find relief at Ovations' upcoming performance by Nathan Fox. You might be familiar with Nathan's voice; his songs have been used in popular television shows and commercials. Now you get to see him in person.
Nathan Fox started playing music before he could read, gleaning what he could from listening to his older siblings’ piano lessons and then hitting the ivories on his own, playing everything by ear.
“I played all the time,” Nathan said, “My parents couldn’t get me away from it.”
So the natural thing was to send him to lessons, but as much as he loved playing tunes, he didn’t take to instruction as a child. Learning to read music was a struggle, and besides, he was already creating everything he wanted just by instinct.
Fox brings a lot of that instinct to his compositions of songs both sly and lyrical, spanning styles from old school blues to modern pop, country western, and rock. “I don’t think one style can tell every story,” he said. “So I try not to pigeonhole myself.” He covers many styles; one of his recent songs, Falling in Love, is up-beat and pop flavored, with Nathan's gravelly voice offsetting the sweetness of the music. The Devil and the Hourglass thumps like the best Country Rock. But his preference for old school blues is evident, especially in songs like the clever and retro I’m all Done, which he wrote in a style that blues singer Billie Holiday would be comfortable performing.
Fox says that when he writes songs, “It’s the meeting of my conscious and subconscious. I’ll start with an idea for a story,” and then he starts writing the music. “When I’m thinking about telling the story, I’m thinking about the delivery. What would be the best musical accompaniment to deliver the hook?” Recently he’s been trying out new styles; one of the new songs he’ll be performing in Angels Camp he describes as more of a “Quentin Tarantino” style.”
Nathan’s hooks have been delivering a certain amount of creative freedom since television shows like Once Upon a Time and advertisers like Hulu have picked up his songs. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he started out as a composer for film and television. But selling his songs gave him freedom to be a performing musician. “It occurred to me I could be a singer/songwriter,” he said. Lucky for us, and lucky for him.
Nathan on acoustic guitar will be accompanied by Kiel Feher on drums and Erik Kertes on bass.
Nathan's website: www.nathanfoxmusic.com
Funding for the Commission and its programs is provided by the Western States Arts Federation and the National Endowment for the Arts. This project received support from the California Arts Council, WESTAF, the Western States Arts Federation; and/or IMTour.
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