This is the first in a series of stories about Calaveras County artists and how they are responding to the pandemic emergency.
Nora Carracedo Keeps busy making masks & tells us how to manage isolation
When her doctor could not get cloth masks to protect staff and patients, quilter Nora Carracedo of Valley Springs came to the rescue. After watching several mask making YouTube videos, she sat down at one of her many sewing machines and started thinking.
She designed her own version of washable masks made of all cotton material, with a pocket in the middle for a piece of material that’s breathable but still acts as a filter.
“I use my own pattern,” she said. “I made one for Sue (her daughter) and me and they worked great. Then I made some for the doctor, and they love them.” Her masks add a bit of brightness to a stressful time. “Some of them have flowers, some of them have polka dots. They’re not plain. They’re pretty,” she said.
She’s perfectly suited to this need. Nora’s been sewing and quilting for most of her life. When she was young and living in Argentina, she started sewing for a local store to make extra money. “I made pants, underwear, and shirts for men,” she said. “I had to learn to make patterns because there were not many patterns at that time.” She sewed on a pedal machine and finished the clothing by hand.
After coming to the states, she sewed clothing for her children and herself. When the grandbabies started coming, she began making quilts. Sue recollects, “I remember my mother making a little bear quilt for the first grandchild.”
Nora is still making quilts for the grandchildren, as well as quilts for community members in need. Nora and her sister lead a team of quilters at the San Andreas Senior Center to make quilts for foster children, children with cancer, and comfort care for hospice. “We also donate money for the senior center, and low cost lunches for kids.” It’s a tight knit group, but they welcome others. “We have fun and we enjoy being together,” she said.
I’m a very positive person. When something happens, I always say ‘I’m going to go up, I’m not going to go down.
While she misses the group since the stay-at-home orders made gathering impossible, Nora doesn’t let it get her down. I asked her for advice on how to manage isolation and the stress of this situation.
“I’m a very positive person,” she said. “When something happens, I always say ‘I’m going to go up, I’m not going to go down. I’m going to do everything I can for me, for my family and to keep myself busy. And I get my mind on something I like to do. Even if I don’t like it, I make myself like it. I push myself.”
Nora is not an idle person. Besides sewing masks, she makes gifts for the family, cooks, cleans, works in her garden, knits, and generally keeps busy, even while watching television.
“I never lay down on the couch,” she laughed. “I don’t even know how to do it.”
Calaveras County Arts Council Cancels March and April Events
Dear community members,
The Calaveras Arts Council Gallery, in keeping with government health recommendations, will be closed to the public for the time being. We will be continuing with administrative work via phone, email and Facebook.
In addition, we regret that we have to cancel the 2020 Ride & Walk 4 Art event scheduled for March 22 and sadly anticipate that our last Ovations concert with Driftwood Consort on April 5 will be cancelled as well. We will be contacting ticket holders via email, phone or post. Please check our website and/or follow us on Facebook for updates.
If you have questions or need more information about refunds, please contact Kathy Mazzaferro at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at PO Box 250, San Andreas, CA 95249.
Thank you all for your understanding and support.
Kathy Mazzaferro, Executive Director
The Diamonds Concert cancelled due to Corona virus
Dear Ovations patron
We sad to announce that we have to cancel the March 15 concert The Diamonds at the Bret Harte Performing Arts Center in Angels Camp. The State of California Department of Health recommends cancelling public events to prevent the spread of the Corona (Covid-19) virus, and the Bret Harte School District has closed the theater until April.
The response for our upcoming concert featuring The Diamonds has been so wonderful that it breaks our hearts to cancel the concert. We hope you will consider donating a portion or all of you tickets to Ovations to help us cover already incurred expenses. But we understand if you can’t. To request a full or partial refund on your tickets to The Diamonds concert, please contact us by email or USPS post stating your name, address, phone number, how many tickets you purchased, and how many you would like refunded. The deadline to do this is April 6, 2020.
Post address: PO Box 250, San Andreas, CA 95249
As a nonprofit that brings music and the arts to the Calaveras County community, the Arts Council needs your support. Make a gift today to ensure we can continue to keep the arts alive in Calaveras County at our website, calaverasarts.org, or contact us directly at 209/754-1774.
From Left: POL Coordinator Ingrid Hjelmervik, 2nd place winner Grace Daniel, 3rd place winner Sydney Button, 1st place winner Sage Miller, Kathy Mazzaferro, executive director CCAC
On the evening of February 4, Calaveras and Bret Harte High School students gathered for Poetry Out Loud to recite poems like Diameter by Michelle Y. Burke, and The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allen Poe. Congratulations to Junior Sydney Button (CHHS), who took third place, Junior Grace Daniels, for her second place win, and first place winner sophomore Sage Miller (BHHS). On March 15, Sage will head to Sacramento to compete against students from around the state.
Poetry Out Loud, presented by the Calaveras County Arts Council in partnership with the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Students first compete at a classroom level, then in front of five judges at each school; the top scorers advance to a county wide level. The winner at the county competition advances to a state competition in March, where they compete to go to the national finals in Washington, D.C. Prizes at that level are substantial; the national champion wins $20,000 and the runner-up wins $10,000.
Poetry Out Loud Coordinator Ingrid Hjelmervik congratulated the contestants from CHS and BHHS for their participation, as well as the teachers who supported the program. “Many thanks for our English teachers Ms. Behle, Bohler, Floyd, Hampton, and Van Buren for supporting this program,” she said, “and to Ms. Ann Mazzaferro for providing the CPAC for the competition.”
Kathy Mazzaferro, executive director of the Arts Council, said, “We congratulate all the participants on a job well done. We look forward to supporting our Calaveras champion, Sage, at the state competition in March.”
The Calaveras County Arts Council is committed to presenting Poetry Out Loud. Students interested in competing next year should contact their English teachers and start learning their poems now!
Bluegrass and folk music in Calaveras County
The Calaveras County Arts Council presents Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands
Sunday, February 9
3 to 5 p.m.
Tickets: $25 adults/$10 under 18.
Or call 209/754-1774 Monday through Thursday.
Or call 209/754-1774 Monday through Thursday.
Last year attendees at the Calaveras County Arts Council’s performing-arts series Ovations had a chance to weigh in on the kinds of music they would like to hear at 2020’s winter concerts. According to the Arts Council Executive Director Kathy Mazzaferro, “bluegrass was one of the top genres requested. It’s what our audience wanted.”
Choosing Laurie Lewis to scratch that itch was a no-brainer. “She’s one of the top bluegrass artists,” Mazzaferro said. “By all accounts, she’s amazing. We’re very grateful she was available.”
Fiddler, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and Grammy-winner Laurie Lewis has long been a staple of the Northern California (and beyond) bluegrass scene. “When I was in my early 20s I discovered the vibrant bluegrass community in the Bay Area and I just stayed,” she said. She’s built a career performing this traditional art form, helping found two West Coast legends, the Good Ol’ Persons Band and the Grant Street String Band, has twice been voted female vocalist of the year by the International Bluegrass Association. Her classic rendition of Kate Long’s song, "Who Will Watch the Home Place?" won International Bluegrass Song of the Year, and her latest album with her band the Right Hands, The Hazel and Alice Sessions, was nominated for the Best Bluegrass Recording Grammy in 2017. Lewis was an influencer in the bluegrass world before “influencer” was an Instagram path to fame.
Bluegrass is the quintessential melting-pot American music, hailing from Appalachia and built on a framework of influences from Africa, the British Isles and mainland Europe. Old time string music, blues, sacred music, gospel, and jazz intertwined to create the high lonesome sound and rollicking stringed instrumentals that burst into life the early 20th century with performers like Bill Monroe, the Carter Family, and Ralph Stanley.
“It is a very communal sort of music,” Lewis said. “You want to be in a band to play it. It’s so much about communication with the other band members.” With her silvery voice, Lewis weaves intricate and skin-tingling harmonies with members of The Rights Hands: Singer and mandolin player Tom Rozum, Banjo player Patrick Sauber, fiddle player Brandon Godman, and stand-up bass player Andrew Conklin.
Lewis says she and the band gravitate towards the older traditional style, as opposed to the modern smoother style of bluegrass. Although she admits that “I also write a lot of songs, and I’m not necessarily bound to the tradition when I write. It’s impossible to be true to yourself and be a complete dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist.”
Traditional doesn’t equal stuffiness. “I would argue that blue grass started out as a pretty cutting edge music,” Lewis said. “It was music that combined the interest of Bill Monroe. He loved the church singing and old time fiddle tunes, and he was a singer songwriter. You could sort of define it as a singer song writer with a string band. If you look at it that way, we are perfectly in the tradition.”
Art exhibition at Calaveras County Arts Council
Join us for an artist party and meeting and to celebrate our current show
"Love Makes the World Go 'Round"
IN THE GALLERY
January 10 to February 17
RECEPTION AND ARTIST PARTY/MEETING
February 12, 5 to 7 p.m.
the Calaveras County Arts Council Gallery Store,
250 North Main Street in San Andreas
This is a small but heart-filled show. We've posted just a few of the works we have in our gallery for you to enjoy.
A Floating Heart
By Amanda Sedgwick-Maule
Romance on the Seus Marie
Alcohol ink on tile
By Deborah Marlene
Paintings by George Dillon
by Ken Winebrenner
White Rabbit Lantern
By Larisa Stevenson
Love to My Mother in Heaven
By Nedra Russ
By Sue Carracedo
By Victoria Fout
Local band Cantamos opens Winter Concert Season in Angels Camp
Sunday, January 12 2020
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
The first concert of the Ovations winter concert season at the Bret Hart Performing Arts Center will be the band Cantamos, a popular local band that refuses to be put in a genre box with their mix of big band, rock, rhythm and blues, folk, pop, and even classical music.
“We’re so hard to describe,” said Macfarlane. “We have an eclectic mix of our favorite songs. In the past we’ve moved from arias to Latin favorites, to contemporary pop songs.” Indeed, Michela leads the band seamlessly across the world music landscape with a cheerful whirlwind of songs like the Brazilian bosso nova hit “Corcovado” and the German/Yiddish big band romp “Bei Mire Bist Du Shön,” as well as rollicking Aretha Franklin covers and the novelty song “Mambo Italiano.”
Cantamos isn’t restricted to English. Macfarlane is a musical polyglot; their concerts can feel like a world tour. “My favorite thing is to sing in a bunch of different languages. Italian, French Spanish, Portuguese,” she said. Chestnut kitschy pop songs like “These Boots are Made for Walking” shine when Macfarlane sings them in French. And Cantamos covers a variety of unusual material, like their rendition of Pink Martini’s “Je ne Veux Pas Travailler (Sympatique).”
The eight piece group is blessed with a line up of talent to back Macfarlane: Fred Treece on guitars and vocals, Tonja Peterson on vocals and percussion, Ray Price on drums and percussion, and Ron Schaner on bass and vocals mix it up with the horn section—Ras Beeken Dan on sax, flute, and clarinet, Gunther Hsue on trumpet (he also plays keyboard), and Matt Albright on Trombone.
“It can be tricky to play with a horn section,” Macfarlane admitted. “Especially with my vocal range, which is pretty high. A lot of times the vocals can get lost. That’s been one of the challenges.” But she said that the horns, led by Beeken, make it work. “It’s so awesome to have that full section that a horn section brings. There are so many possibilities.”
Macfarlane said that each musician contributes to the band’s material by bringing in their favorite pieces. “Each of our songs has a special meaning to at least someone in our group, for example Ray brought in Corcovado, Ron brought in Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song” and Gunther brought in Sting’s “La Belle Dame Sans Regrets.” Whatever memory or desire they have connected to it we then make it our own collective effort and polish it into a rendition that speaks to all of us.”
“We are presenting our usual eclectic repertoire mix,” Macfarlane said, “but we’re breathing new life into it. Gunther Hsue and I will do a Mozart aria from Le Nozze di Figaro, new to our show. Tonja, Fred, and I will also be doing a couple new songs with gorgeous harmonies, pieces that you just don’t hear every day.”
“I think one of the most important things we are doing for this show is coming up with fresh arrangements for our songs that harness the talent of all of us on stage in such a way that features as many moments of brilliance as possible.”
Student Poetry Recitation Competition
For the second year in a row, chairperson Ingrid Hjelmervik will take the lead in helping the Calaveras Arts Council present Poetry Out Loud. POL is a national arts education program that encourages high school students to study great poetry and ends with dynamic recitation competitions at schools. Each California county sends a student to the state competition, and state competition winners go on to compete in Washington D.C.
The Calaveras Arts Council supports this program enthusiastically. We're excited to be able to pay for the county champion and a chaperone to attend the State competition in Sacramento, and to provide a clothing stipend of $300. Second and third place winners get cash awards as well.
Need help? Mrs. Hjelmervik can help students find information about where to find poems and how to choose them.
There is also free coaching available.
All high school students are eligible to compete; homeschool students are encouraged to participate. All Interested students should contact the Arts Council at 209/754-1774 or email@example.com.
County wide competition
CHS performing arts center
5 to 8 p.m.
We were astonished and pleased at the student's enthusiasm last year; every student did an amazing job reciting their poems. Last year's Calaveras winner Sandra Meza said that the competition had a huge impact on her.
Click here to read an interview with Sandra.
Last year's national champion, Isabella Callery recites one of her winning poems. You can see more POL competitors at the POL website.
Poetry Out Loud is an initiative of the National Endowment of the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. In California it is administered in the state by the California Arts Council. The Calaveras County Arts Council is proud to be the county administration for this exciting program.
Learn more about this competition at www.capoetryoutloud.org
Gallery Show: Art of our Ancestors
Become a member of the Arts Community in Calaveras County
Join the CCAC!
You can still join the CCAC in 2020! Your membership helps the arts grow in Calaveras County.
Calaveras County Arts Council
Our goal is to support, nourish, and awaken the arts in our community.