The Tri-Valley is Rich in Cultural Resources

From Classical Music to Theater to Comedy, It's All Happening Here

Comedian Will Durst brings his political humor to Pleasanton on December 28.

The Tri-Valley is home to people engaged in almost every creative endeavor. Painters, musicians, sculptors, poets, actors, and dancers can all be found. Their many performances and exhibitions provide color and texture to the cultural landscape.

The coming year will see some great events taking place in the Tri-Valley. Nationally known comedian Will Durst plays the Amador Theater later this month. Musical theater fans can see local productions of "A Chorus Line" (Pleasanton Playhouse, January 18-February 3) and the Tony Award-winning "Nine" (Las Positas College, March 15-29). Pleasanton will experience its First Annual Poetry and Arts Festival on June 1-2 and famed pianist George Winston arrives June 29.

When you add the regular schedule of other area arts groups, the number of activities going on is truly impressive.

Seeing these events is easier than ever. The calendar page of each issue of Hacienda Network is a great resource for keeping track of upcoming performances. The Hacienda Owners Association is also working with the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council to offer discounted group tickets to selected events, each of which will be highlighted on the Network calendar. Another way to experience the arts is the new Tri-Valley Musical Sampler. The Livermore Valley Opera, Valley Choral Society, Livermore-Amador Symphony, Del Valle Fine Arts, and Pacific Chamber Symphony have joined together to offer tickets to five of their events, at the choice of the ticket buyer, as a way to introduce their work to a wider audience. It's an arts adventure and a bargain to boot - a $75 value for just $30. Call the Lions Ticket Office at (925) 461-5350 for details.

Here's our directory of local arts groups:

Across the River Writers' Roundtable - This group sponsors a writers' roundtable each month, providing authors with an informal forum to share their poetry, essays, and short stories. Literary evenings are held quarterly at the Pleasanton Library where senior members of the group present their writing. Finally, the ARWR sponsors an Open Mike Night on the last Monday of the month at Coffee Beans and Things in downtown Pleasanton, where anyone who likes to write is encouraged to take the floor. Contact: Blanch Abrams, (925) 454-9516.

Bay Area Metro Pot O'Gold Barbershop Chorus - Founded in 1989, this group has won the Far Western District championship three times and has performed four times at the annual international competition against the top 25 groups in the world, finishing as high as seventh. The chorus also performs spring, fall, and Christmas shows and sponsor Singing Valentines each February, where quartets of group members travel to deliver harmonious messages.

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

Cantabella Children's Chorus - This singing group, based in Livermore, started as a music literacy class of 10 children but has grown into a chorus with a total membership of over 150 singers. They perform several times each year, with their next show scheduled on June 1 at Valley Community Church in Pleasanton. Contact: Bee Chow at .

Del Valle Fine Arts -This group, now in its 24th season, sponsors five performances each year, focusing on professional chamber music and recitals. Upcoming performances include the instrumental ensemble Melody of China on January 19; Brass Plus on March 9; and baroque ensemble Musica Pacifica on April 27. Call (925) 447-2752 for tickets and information or access .

Dublin Theatre Company - This small, professional theatre company produces plays under three categories: MainStage Adult Plays, the Family Time Series, and Group Matinees. They also offer a wide array of classes in acting, singing, technical theatre, directing, producing, and dance for preschoolers through adults. Call (925) 551-5382 for information or access .

Harmony Crossroads Chorus - The Pleasanton-based chapter of Sweet Adelines International, this singing group specializes in four-part a cappella harmony for women. Established in 1993, the group has been recognized as the best Small Chorus four times at the Sweet Adelines' Region 12 competition. The chorus is always looking for new members and provides a supportive environment for those who wish to participate. Contact Carrie Shaeffer, (925) 846-1857.

Las Positas College Music Program - In addition to classes for both recreational musicians and music majors, the college sponsors a number of performances each semester. This spring, performances in dance, choral music, vocal and instrumental jazz, and more will be featured. Contact instructors Jim Heiner (925/373-5855) or Mary Campbell (925/373-4918) for details.

Las Positas College Theater Department - Besides a variety of classes, the department also mounts three "main stage" productions each year a musical in the spring, a play in the fall, and an outdoor Shakespeare production in the summer, as well as a touring children's theater play and a variety of drama workshop productions. This spring, the show is "Nine," the Tony-award winning musical based loosely on the Fellini film "8 1/2," with seven performances starting March 15. Contact Ken Ross at (925) 373-5866.

Livermore-Amador Symphony - This volunteer community orchestra is now in its 38th year under the direction of Dr. Arthur Barnes, who was a member of Stanford's music faculty for 34 years.

This month, the Livermore-Amador Symphony joins with the Valley Dance Theater in a full-length production of "The Nutcracker," to be held December 22, 23, and 27 at the Livermore High School Theater. Other programs are planned for February, March, and May. Call (925) 243-0927 for ticket information or access .

Livermore Art Association - Founded in 1957, each year the LAA sponsors and participates in a number of shows in the Tri-Valley and provides exhibits for members at local businesses. Visit the LAA Gallery in the Carnegie Building at 3rd and I streets in Livermore to view members' work. Call (925) 449-9927 for more information.

Livermore Valley Opera - Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2002, the LVO performs two operas each season as well as a number of special events such as "Opera in the Vineyard." Their upcoming performances include "La Boheme," which will hit the stage in March, and a fundraising dinner on January 26 which will include a performance of the Complete Ring Cycle (Condensed). Call (925) 960-9210 for ticket information or access .

Music on the Hill - This Dublin concert series, sponsored by Valley Christian Center, has hosted artists such as the American Boychoir from Princeton, New Jersey, Ralph Charmichael and his Big Band Orchestra, and the Estonian National Male Choir. Call (925) 560-6200 for more information.

Pacific Chamber Symphony - Formerly known as the Classical Philharmonic, this symphony was founded in 1989 by a group including director Lawrence Kohl. The Pacific Chamber Symphony 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 2001-2002 season will feature works from a variety of composers. In January, the symphony will present music by Bay Area composers David Conte, Kurt Rhode and others, including Jake Heggie's "Cut Time: Variations for Piano and Orchestra." Call (925) 484-9783 for tickets and information.

Pleasanton Art League - The Pleasanton Art League, founded in 1969, is dedicated to encouraging the creative development of its members and promoting the interest and understanding of fine arts in the general public. The group makes its members' art available to public entities and businesses for display and holds monthly meetings and workshops with demonstrations by nationally-known artists. Call (925) 462-9766 or access their web site at .

Pleasanton Civic Arts - The largest local arts program is Pleasanton Civic Arts, sponsored by the City of Pleasanton's Department of Parks and Community Services.

This season's Civic Arts schedule began in September but there are still many events left. Will Durst and Friends will bring their unique humor to the Amador Theater on December 28, to be followed on January 20 by The Gizmo Guys. Other performances will include "Rhythm in Shoes," a dance troupe that draws from the tradition of the British Isles; musical storyteller Bill Harley; former Limeliter Glenn Yarbrough; and pianist George Winston.

Also coming this summer is the First Annual Poetry and Arts Festival on June 1-2. The weekend will feature poetry workshops led by noted poets, poetic activities for children and teens, poetry readings, and more. Shakespeare in the Park continues its popular summer run on weekends from July 19-August 4.

For more information, call (925) 931-3455.

Pleasanton Community Concert Band - This band was formed in 1975 in preparation for the city'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. The Community Concert Band sponsors several performances each year, including a holiday concert and a children's concert. Four women from the band have formed a second group, the Silverwind Flutes, which also performs at community events. Contacts: Concert Band, (925) 846-5897 or; Silverwind Flutes, (925) 485-0726.

Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council - Founded in 1974, the PCAC works to promote appreciation of the arts, provide facilities for arts activities, and foster an environment where Tri-Valley residents can pursue and enjoy a wide range of cultural opportunities. The organization frequently serves as a liaison between artists, artist groups, and the business community.

This year, the PCAC has begun holding receptions for groups attending performances of local arts groups. A special group discount ticket program is to be added as well, which will offer low-cost tickets to groups of 10 or more that may be purchased through the Hacienda Owners Association. The next reception will be held in conjunction with the Valley Choral Society's March performance at St. Augustine's Church. Another reception will be held after the May Pot O' Gold Barbershop Chorus show.

The group also sponsors an annual fundraising concert with pianists Mark Anderson and Tamriko Siprashvili, who this year will perform together on selections from Schubert, Liszt, Scriabin, and Arensky. This event will be held on February 24 at the Amador Theater.

Contact: (925) 461-4864 or access the group's web site at .

Pleasanton Library - The library offers a variety of experiences with the arts. Besides having a fantastic collection of the world's literature, the library offers activities such as adult storytellers, authors, afternoon enrichment programs, and poetry evenings. Many childrens' activities take place here as well, including drama programs and preschool storytimes. Contact Billie Dancy, director, at (925) 931-3400.

Pleasanton Playhouse - Pleasanton Playhouse is best known for its four annual main stage productions, but they provide workshops in acting, singing, and dance as well. Their next show is "A Chorus Line," with performances from January 18 through February 3. Call (925) 462-2121 for tickets or access .

Valley Choral Society - Now entering its 38th year, the chorus consists of about forty-five singers, many of whom live in the Tri-Valley area. They sing four programs each year and hold concerts at locations both in and beyond the Tri-Valley. Past performances have included well-known classical works such as Handel's Messiah and Mendelssohn's Elijah, contemporary pieces including Randall Thompson's The Peaceable Kingdom and Mollicone's Flight Through the Stars, and concerts of jazz and pop music. Upcoming performances in 2002 include Mozart's Requiem and a May concert celebrating the 100th birthday of Richard Rodgers, known best for his collaborations with Oscar Hammerstein. For information, call (925) 866-4003 or access .

Valley Dance Theatre - A non-profit ballet company, the Valley Dance Theatre was founded in 1980. The Valley Dance Theatre is comprised of dancers of all ages who work along with the staff on a volunteer basis. Performances are held twice a year and include an annual performance of "The Nutcracker," scheduled this year on December 22, 23, and 27. This spring's production will be "Daring Directions," a jazz ballet featuring special guest artist Matt Finders, who plays in The Tonight Show Band.

The VDT also offers a variety of classes for children and adults. Information, (925) 243-0925 or access .

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