Volume 1, Number 9
Tri-Valley Arts Programs Show Diversity of
It was American educator, Gordon Gee who said, “The Arts, quite simply, nourish the soul. They sustain, comfort, inspire. There is nothing like that exquisite moment when you first discover the beauty of connecting with other in celebration of larger ideals and shared wisdom.” The abundance of arts opportunities in the Tri-Valley attests to the agreement paid to this sentiment. Music, drama, dance, opera, and comedy are all part of a vibrant regional scene that features performances on a regular basis, and even opportunities to participate in the arts yourself. Here is our directory of local arts venues and groups.
Civic Arts Programs and Venues
Pleasanton’s Firehouse Arts Center
The Firehouse Arts Center has quickly made a name for itself in the regional arts community. The facility’s slogan is “Setting the Arts on Fire,” and that goal is met by inspiring passion through creative expression. The facility began life in 1929 as Pleasanton’s main fire station. Built of locally manufactured bricks, plans for its rebirth began almost a decade ago, and the results are a stunning 17,000-square-foot showcase consisting of a 227-seat studio theater, the 2,000 square feet Harrington Gallery, two large art classrooms, and a spacious lobby for receptions and events. The theater is used for performances in theater, music, comedy, film, and more. The Firehouse hosts a series of musicals produced by the Pacific Coast Repertory Theater, which this year will include 42nd Street November 4-19, Noises Off January 27 - February 11, and Rock of Ages April 28 - May 13. Upcoming music acts at the Firehouse include Heart By Heart, Country Music Legend Lacy J. Dalton, Golden Follies Holiday, and many more. On December 27, Will Durst & Friends will bid a comedic adieu to 2017 with The Big Fat Year-End Kiss-Off. Firehouse offers more this coming year in the Harrington Gallery with the eclectic Soul Searching: The Spirit of Africa Expressed by Bay Area Contemporary Artists. Following after will be various artists featured in the lobby, and ending 2017 with The Pleasanton Art League’s annual show. On the arts education side, the two Firehouse classrooms provide for a variety of activities. Upcoming programs are offered for adults, teens, and youth, including a variety of painting classes in December and January.
Pleasanton’s Amador Theater
The Amador Theater opened in the 1930s and served as Pleasanton’s principal performing arts facility until the Firehouse Arts Center came onto the scene. Its 600-seat capacity means that it is still used for a number of events every year. For example, Information on these events and others is also available at firehousearts.org.
Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center
Like the Firehouse Arts Center, the Livermore Performing Arts Center is a relative newcomer to the Tri-Valley. The 500-seat Bankhead Theater was completed in 2007 and hosted more than 200 performance and civic events reaching a combined audience of more than 76,000 individuals, including over 14,000 school children, in its first season. It has been busy ever since. The recently-launched LVPAC 2017 - 2018 season features an impressive spectrum of entertainment, with music, comedy, theater, dance, film, and even animal acts. Musical performers include Keiko Matsui, Carlos Nakai, Don Pasquale, Tom Rush, Los Lonely Boys, and much more! The Bothwell Arts Center also falls under the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center management. This facility, at 2466 8th Street in Livermore, serves as an arts incubator, offering affordable and rentable classroom, rehearsal, performance, event, and studio rental space for artists, musicians, theatrical, acting, choral, and other individuals, groups or events with a cultural arts focus. Also on offer is an inexpensive Art Gym program which allows artists working room without a large investment. A full calendar of LVPAC events can be found at livermoreperformingarts.org. Tickets are available at the web site or by calling (925) 373-6800.
San Ramon Performing Arts
The Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center is the primary home of San Ramon Performing Arts, San Ramon’s cultural arts program. The 600-seat theater has a variety of performances scheduled for its 2017 - 2018 season, including music, comedy, and more. The season’s major fall highlights begin with a community concert featuring works by Andrew Lloyd Webber on September 8th, Jumpin’ At The Sun Dance Company: Emotions Into Movement September 22 - 23, Lady K & The Kings of Swing Presents: Fall Ball September 30, and much more! For a complete schedule as well as to purchase tickets, access www.sanramonperformingarts.com or call (925) 973-3343.
The Concerts at Wente Vineyards
For more than 30 years, The Concerts at Wente Vineyards have showcased world-renowned entertainers in the winery’s picturesque natural amphitheater. Guests enjoy pre-concert sunset dinners outdoors or in The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. Past artists include James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Harry Connick, Jr., John Fogerty, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, Train, Colbie Caillat, Third Eye Blind, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Matt Nathanson and many more. Northern California’s most unique concert experiences are The Concerts at Wente Vineyards. The Concerts offer the ultimate entertainment experience, by combining stellar performances by top name headliners with the stunning ambiance of a spectacular vineyard setting.Together with superb dining and the Wente Vineyards commitment to service and hospitality, you’ll find each and every performance presents a memorable evening of entertainment. We look forward to sharing the concert experience with you.
Individual Arts and Performance Groups
Amador Valley Quilters
Amador Valley Quilters (AVQ) is a creative group of people who like to explore all aspects of the quilting world. There’s something for everyone in this guild, from traditional to art quilting, handwork or machine, and every combination you can imagine. Amador Valley Quilters was founded in 1981 and has over 400 members throughout the Tri-Valley and beyond. The guild works to preserve and continue the traditions, culture, and history of quilting, including educating members on quilting techniques. The group also has a significant charitable arm, donating around 800 quilts annually to various agencies in the Bay Area through their “Community Quilts” project. Meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month at Pleasanton Middle School. For more information, access www.amadorvalleyquilters.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cantabella Children’s Chorus
“Beautiful singing nurturing beautiful children,” is the slogan of the Cantabella Children’s Chorus, a non-profit that offers music education in Pleasanton, Livermore, and Dublin for children from kindergarten through high school. This group was started in 1992 and is now in it’s 26th season. Wait list applications and audition applications are now being taken. The Cantabella Children’s Chorus is guided by Artistic Director Ofer dal Lal. Cantabella performs in annual holiday and spring concerts, at local corporate and civic functions, and in collaboration with other musical organizations. For more information, visit www.cantabella.org or (925) 292-2663.
Del Valle Fine Arts
Del Valle Fine Arts presents world class chamber music concerts at the beautiful Bankhead Theater in downtown Livermore, California. The organization originally was formed as a vehicle for raising funds to buy a piano that would be available for use in the community. Over the years, the focus shifted to bringing world class chamber music to the Tri-Valley area and introducing school children to classical music. Del Valle Fine Arts presents five regular season concerts per year along with occasional special concerts. Every season includes a piano recital to recognize the roots of the organization. A string quartet is also regularly included in the season offering. Del Valle Fine Arts is in its 38th season of presenting quality chamber music. The organization is managed by volunteers and is supported by ticket sales and generous contributions of patrons. Contributions allow the board of Del Valle Fine Arts to assure the quality of artists is outstanding. Revenues also support free tickets for students through high school and programs in the local schools.
Free Shakespeare in the Park
In 2017, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival celebrates 35 years as the Bay Area’s acclaimed provider of free and accessible Shakespeare performances and education programs. For this historic year, SF Shakes will present Hamlet for the first time at Free Shakespeare in the Park. The San Francisco Shakespeare Group is dedicated to arts education, using its programs to foster a life-long appreciation of learning and the arts. Each year, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival schedules performances of one of Shakespeare’s plays in the Amador Valley Community Park in Pleasanton, as well as venues in San Francisco, Cupertino, and Redwood City. Hamlet was performed from July 1 to July 16 in Pleasanton and wraps up on October 1 at McLaren Park’s Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in San Francisco. For more information, access www.sfshakes.org.
Harmony Fusion Chorus
Harmony Fusion Chorus is proud to be a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, a worldwide organization of women singers committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony through education and performances. Sweet Adelines International boasts an international membership of nearly 27,000 women, including more than 1,200 registered quartets and 600 choruses. The organization’s motto is “Harmonize the world.” The chorus, under the direction of Barbara Vander Putten, meets Monday evenings at the Hill & Valley Club, 1808 B Street, Hayward, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Visitors are welcome to listen or join in the singing. For information on the group or to catch their next performance, visit www.harmonyfusion.org or call (925) 373-0210.
Las Positas College Performing Arts
Las Positas College offers performances including music, theater, speech, and dance in its main stage and black box theaters, all designed to provide knowledge, training, and practical experience to its participants. Upcoming theatrical productions include Titanic the Musical, The Water Engine, Side by Side, Dancing at Lughnasa, Heathers the Musical, and Under Construction. All performances are held in the Barbara F. Mertes Center for the Arts on campus. Information on music, speech, and dance events is available at www.laspositascollege.edu.
The 2017-2018 season of the Livermore-Amador Symphony, now entering its 54th year, begins with on December 5 with a free family concert at 3:00 p.m., just before Livermore’s Holiday Parade. The group’s formal concert calendar kicks off with a full-length program consisting of Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kije’ Suite, and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2. All performances take place at Livermore’s Bankhead Theater. For further information, access livermoreamadorsymphony.org.
Livermore Art Association
The Livermore Art Association (LAA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1957 to promote public interest and appreciation in the fine arts and in the fine crafts, as well as to encourage the artistic progress and the development of its membership. We invite you to become a member of LAA. The membership is open to anyone interested in the fields of arts and crafts. The LAA supports the Livermore Art Association Gallery at 2155 3rd Street, Livermore, a co-op sales opportunity for qualified member artists to display their work for sale and/or rental. The public is invited to visit and shop at the Gallery.
Livermore Valley Opera
Livermore Valley Opera combines the talents and expertise of professional music, stage and chorus directors, principal singers, musicians, and designers with the dedication and practical abilities of a volunteer board, adult chorus, stage crew, props master, stitchers, and set builders. Each fall and spring, LVO presents locally produced, fully staged operas with orchestra. Additionally, LVO presents special concerts, events and fundraisers in the winter and “Opera in the Vineyard” in the summer. LVO promotes local talent and attracts outstanding Bay Area singers, directors and conductors. For more information, please visit livermorevalleyopera.com
Pacific Chamber Orchestra
The Pacific Chamber Orchestra (PCO) is a 40 piece symphony orchestra composed of professional musicians from throughout the Bay Area. It was founded over 20 years ago by its talented conductor and musical director, Lawrence Kohl. The orchestra combines the precision of a small ensemble with surprising dynamic range and power. PCO is notable for innovative and insightful interpretations of music of all eras. Performances take place at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore. For more information or to purchase tickets, access www.pacificchambersymphony.org or call (800) 630-7836.
Pleasanton Art League
Founded in 1969, the Pleasanton Art League is a group of local artists and patrons who are dedicated to making the visual arts an integral part of the fabric of life in the Tri-Valley Area. A PAL Members Show takes place from September to October at the Firehouse Arts Center. PAL also sponsors a variety of classes and workshops at both the Firehouse and the Bothwell. Access www.pal-art.com for details.
Pleasanton Chamber Players
The Pleasanton Chamber Players, founded in 2003, are a loosely-knit group of professional musicians who perform and teach in the Bay Area. Under the leadership of classical harpist Dominique Piana, the group has become the ensemble-in-residence at Pleasanton’s Firehouse Arts Center. Piana is also available for solo harp performances. For more information, visit www.DominiquePiana.com or call (925) 455-5333.
Pleasanton Community Concert Band
Pleasanton Community Concert Band, founded in 1975 and conducted by Bob Williams since 1989, provides an opportunity for local residents to develop their talents and participate in musical performances. The band sponsors three free concerts each year and performs at a variety of other events. Upcoming appearances include a September 23rd show at the Pleasanton Farmers’ Market, and a Family Concert on October 15th, and a Holiday Concert on December 26th. For more information, visit pleasantonband.org or call (925) 846-5897.
Producers of the annual Livermore Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare’s Associates currently performs two plays each year at Wente Vineyards Estate Winery. This year, audiences thrilled to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac. Go to livermoreshakes.org or call (925) 443-BARD (2273) for additional information.
The Sunol Repertory Theatre
Since 1982, the SRT has produced a show benefitting the Sunol Glen School, donating over $130,000 in total. The Theatre has proudly operated for 36 seasons to date, and has created an opportunity to raise funds to benefit education. This year’s production was Shakespear Goes to Gravel Gulch, performed March 11 - April 1. Look for announcements of upcoming productions at www.sunol.net/srt.
Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre
This popular non-profit volunteer organization recently announced the schedule for its 34th year of musical theater. The 2017 - 2018 lineup includes Bullets Over broadway, which will hit the stage in October and November; 1776 in January, ; and Disney’s The Little mermaid, which will be performed in July 2018. All told, attendance at the group’s various productions exceeds 15,000 annually. The Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre also offers a children’s theater camp every summer. Call (925) 462-2121 or access trivalleyrep.com for details.
Valley Concert Chorale
The Valley Concert Chorale, now in its 53rd season, is the Tri Valley’s premier chorus. Under the direction of John Emory Bush, the Chorale continues to offer a variety of musical performances to serve the diverse musical tastes of its audiences. Valley Concert Chorale’s mission is to engage audiences in the transforming power of music by sharing their passion and joy in live performance. Valley Concert Chorale is dedicated to excellence in singing choral music of all genres, nurturing the next generation of singers, and supporting musical endeavors in the Tri Valley community. The Chorale’s educational outreach program, Music in the Schools, presents original musical performances at Tri Valley primary school assemblies to celebrate the joy of music and singing with area students. Individuals and corporations are invited to provide financial contributions of any amount. For information, call For tickets, go to valleyconcertchorale.org or call (925) 866-4003.
Valley Dance Theatre
Valley Dance Theatre (VDT) has been providing professionally staged dance performances featuring talented local dancers since 1980. Now the resident ballet company of Livermore’s Bankhead Theater, VDT will bring its full-length production of The Nutcracker to the Bankhead stage for a series of performances in December. The company also presents a mid-year showcase of local talent and choreography and runs an affiliated school offering classical dance training in studio classes for ages 2.5 to adult. For tickets, information, and more, visit valleydancetheatre.com or call (925) 243-0925.