Published November 16, 1999
Volume 7, Number 11

The Tri-Valley's Fine Arts Community Offers Theater, Music, and More

Poet Laureate

Right: Pleasanton's Poet Laureate Charlene Villella meets with Peter Motta, a third-grader at Mohr Elementary. (Photo: Doug Jorgensen)

Below right: The City of Pleasanton's "Art in the Park" event is enjoyed by these sidewalk artists.

Below left: Dennis Smith's sculpture "Once Upon a Time" is one of the City's many pieces of public art. (Photo: Doug Jorgensen)

Public Art

Hungry for a night of theater? How about the symphony? A night at the opera? No problem. You can find each of these -- and a lot more-- without even having to leave the Tri-Valley area. 

In fact, Pleasanton offers the full spectrum of the arts. Whether you're seeking prose or poetry, dramas or musicals, or anything in between, it's here. 

Pleasanton Civic Arts
The largest local arts program is operated by the City of Pleasanton, through its Civic Arts Program. 

Civic Arts offers everything from public art to community and school performances, and also sponsors Pleasanton's poet laureate program. 

Here's a sampling of Civic Arts programs for the coming year, information about each of which may be found at (925) 484-8395: 

Diane Ferlatte
Storyteller Diane Ferlatte takes the stage
February 2 in the Civic Arts School Concert series.

Civic Arts Presents -- Featuring professional performances of wide renown, this series will showcase artists like Glenn Yarbrough, the Reel Blondes Musical Comedy Revue, and Mark Anderson and Tamriko Siprasvili. 

Stage Company -- The Civic Arts Stage Company performs in the Amador Theater. Their production this year is "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," a comedy by Barbara Robinson. Performances begin on December 3. 

Civic Arts Saturday Night -- This series of performances by local professionals takes place at Pleasanton Senior Center. Bob Jenkins and Angela Lloyd are the next to appear, on January 8. 

Children's Theatre Company -- Open to children aged 6-12, this group produces a play in the fall/winter, a musical in the spring, and Drama Day Camps. Upcoming productions include "Mollie and the Last Bookworm," "Alice in Wonderland," and "Oz!" 

Civic Arts also sponsors a series of daytime performances for children with its School Concert Series, as well as Teen Concerts and a Teen Theatre series. 

Poet Laureate -- Charlene Villella, Pleasanton's current poet laureate, serves as a resource and liaison with local schools, literary groups, and bookstores in an effort to promote literary awareness and enjoyment. Jim Ott takes over the position next May. 

Singing, Dancing, and More
Other local arts groups include: 

Bay Area Metro Pot O' Gold Barbershop Chorus -- The Pot O' Gold Chorus, founded in 1989, has a lofty goal: "To become, through the barbershop style of singing, one of the best men's performing organizations in the world." 

The chorus, under the direction of Gary Bolles, has done just that. They have won the Far Western District championship and have performed three times at the annual international competition against the top 25 groups in the world, finishing as high as seventh. Besides the competitions, the chorus performs spring, fall, and Christmas shows. 

The group extends an open invitation to men interested in joining. For more information, call their recorded hotline at (925) 443-SING.

Classical Philharmonic -- Founded in 1989 by a group including director Lawrence Kohl, the Classical Philharmonic performs at Valley Community Church in Pleasanton, the Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and at the Neighborhood Church in Castro Valley. 

The only chamber symphony orchestra in the Bay Area, the group's 11th season begins in December and continues until May. Five different programs will be offered, ranging from a concert of Baroque Masterpieces (featuring soloist William Barbini, a former member of the New York Philharmonic) to a night of Classical Tango in March. 

Call (925) 484-9783 for tickets or information. 

Del Valle Fine Arts -- This group sponsors five performances each year, focusing on chamber music and piano but also including pop and pocket opera. Performances take place at the Presbyterian Church at 4th and L streets in Livermore. Call (925) 447-2752 for tickets and information. 

Dublin Theatre Company -- Just three years old, the Dublin Theatre Company is already mounting 20 productions each year as well as offering acting, singing, and dancing classes for kids, teens, and adults. Rick Robinson Jr., producing artistic director, also sponsors performing arts camps during summer, winter, and spring breaks. Their last production was "Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe," and the kids' play "Doctor Doolittle" is coming up in December. 

Call (925) 551-5382 for tickets and information. 

Livermore-Amador Symphony -- Now in its 36th year under the direction of Dr. Arthur Barnes, the symphony is a volunteer community orchestra. Upcoming performances include December's performance of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, February's "Music for Tap Dancer and Orchestra," and more. Call (925) 447-3672 for information. 

Livermore Valley Opera -- Founded in 1992, the Livermore Valley Opera has presented works such as "The Barber of Seville," "Die Fledermaus," "Carmen," and "Tosca." The group performs two pieces each season, with summer auditions leading to performances in the fall and spring. 

Upcoming events include "Dinner with the Barber," a night featuring principal singers from the recent production of "Barber of Seville" performing during a special three-course dinner on January 19. 

Coming in March will be their production of Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffman." For more information, call (925) 447-0657.

Pleasanton Community Concert Band -- The band was founded in 1975 as part of Pleasanton's celebration of the U.S. bicentennial and has been performing ever since. A true community band, members range in age from the teens to the 80s, most of whom are local residents. 

The Community Concert Band sponsors three performances each year: a holiday concert, a children's concert, and a spring concert. It's also possible to see them perform at the Farmer's Market, the county fair, and other events. Call (925) 846-5897 for further information. 

Pleasanton Playhouse -- Pleasanton Playhouse is probably best known for its four main stage musical productions each year -- coming up is "Pirates of Penzance" -- but they do much more as well. Their black box studio theatre seats just 84, allowing for productions of several comedies and dramas each year in an intimate setting. Their current studio production is "Nunsense," which opened November 12 and will run five weekends. Carol Hovey, president of Pleasanton Playhouse, says that the group offers "artistic credibility and success -- and we're a bargain to boot!" Call (925) 462-2121 for tickets. 

Valley Choral Society -- The Valley Choral Society, now in its 36th year, sponsors a yearly concert series and a "Music in the Schools" program and also participates in a variety of arts festivals. 

Upcoming performances include their holiday program, "From All Times: Carols and Carols and Carols," which features traditional and unusual Christmas music from the Middle Ages to the present. Other treats on the schedule include programs featuring Bach and Aaron Copland. Call (925) 866-4003 for information. 

Valley Dance Theater -- A non-profit ballet company, the Valley Dance Theater has about 25 members from pre-teens through adults and has graced Tri-Valley stages for around 20 years. They put on two productions each year in December and May. Coming up is the Nutcracker, which will be performed with the Livermore Amador Symphony and the Cantabella Children's Chorus. Performances start on December 18. 

Call (925) 443-6953 for tickets and information. 


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