Monthly Archives

August 2017

Can’t Miss This!

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When people drive down Railroad Avenue now, it will be hard to miss the location of the Bankhead Theater!  Thanks to the creativity of graphic designer Andrew Edwards, eight large banners spell out BANKHEAD across the back of the building.  Each letter shows one of the many talented artists or groups who have performed on or are coming to the Bankhead stage.*  Together the letters make a powerful visual for people passing by.

For years a surprising number of people have told us they didn’t know where the theater was, or even that there WAS a performing arts center in downtown Livermore! It’s hard to miss a three-story, red brick structure, but there has never been a sign on the back of the building with the name … until now.

If you haven’t been at the Bankhead lately, be sure to check out the list of events for the Bankhead’s 2017-2018 season — there’s music of all kinds, comedy, dance and other entertainment — truly something for everyone! Even if you can’t make it to a performance, enjoy free art exhibits in the Gallery in the lobby, drop by on the weekend when Story Coffee sets up in the courtyard, or attend one of the free community events on the lawn. The Bankhead Theater continues to thrive as more and more people visit the area to enjoy the restaurants and bars, to watch movies, meet friends, and enjoy music, or to shop, work or take the train. Come by admire the new letters and join in the fun!

The 2017-2018 Season at the Bankhead Starts September 9th!

 

* And in case you were wondering … the eight letters show, in order from left to right: OK GO, Paul Taylor Dance, Taylor Hicks, Storm Large, Richard Marx, Asleep at the Wheel, Tom Papa, and Jake Shimabukuro

 

 

Tell us what you think!

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We strive to make the arts accessible to everyone in our community and we’d like to know how you think we’re doing. Please click HERE to participate in our short survey. It will take just 5-10 minutes of your time but will provide us with valuable feedback.

TAKE THE SURVEY NOW

If you input your contact information at the end of the survey, we’ll enter you into a drawing for two tickets to any of the shows presented by the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center this season.* But don’t wait … the drawing will be held September 8, 2017 just before the opening of our exciting 11th season!

THANK YOU!

 

* Subject to availability. Does not include the Brilliance at the Bankhead Gala or shows presented by resident or visiting companies.

A SHARED LOVE FOR MUSIC

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MUSIC WORKSHOP with DERIK NELSON & FAMILY

For one magical week in early August, nearly a dozen students had a priceless opportunity to expand their musical skills with talented siblings Derik, Riana and Dalten Nelson. Held at the Bankhead Theater, the students, who ranged in age from middle school on up, worked closely with the Nelsons sharing ideas, developing their singing, songwriting and performance techniques, and just having fun making music together.  With remarkable musical talents and friendly, approachable personalities, the Nelsons challenged the students to push for new skills, while building their confidence along the way.

At the end of the week, the students showcased their talents on the Bankhead Stage in a performance described by one parent as “awe inspiring.” In just a few days the group had clearly become a team, their musical abilities and creativity fostered inside the fun and supportive environment. Since then, the students have stayed connected, taking part in a GroupMe just two weeks later, and plan to stay in touch with each other as they pursue their musical dreams.

For many artists, performing on stage is often just one aspect of their love for music and the arts. The Nelsons clearly find equal joy in nurturing the musical talents of others. The enthusiasm and energy they brought to the camp mattered every bit as much as their own exceptional musical abilities. While their polished performance as Derik Nelson & Family on August 4th gave Bankhead audiences a memorable evening of jazz and folk-infused sound combined with stunning video displays, it was the personal connections Derik, Riana and Dalten made with these thriving young musicians that truly planted the seeds for a love of music in the future.

     

ABOUT THE NELSONS

The Nelson siblings have garnered over 3.5 million views on YouTube, toured over 60 locations across the West Coast U.S.A., reached over 15,000 students of all ages with educational music workshops and fundraising assemblies, were invited to perform the National Anthem at a Seattle Seahawks home game, and are proud to tour nationwide with their own headlining concert as a family.

The music workshop offered at the Bankhead aligns with the Nelson’s personal priorities as musicians and entertainers. Raised in the Pacific Northwest, all three attended public schools and, as Riana says, are passionate about giving back so others can have the same opportunities they had to experience choir, band and theater classes. They have raised money for school music programs up and down the West Coast.

Derik, known for his recurring role as the guitarist on the television show “Glee,” began performing at the age of seven and over the next decade appeared in over 60 productions. By the time he was 14 he had learned to play saxophone, guitar and piano and was already composing songs. Derik has said, “I feel most like myself when I’m at the piano or with a guitar in my lap, singing about how I feel to people who feel the same way. Music is one of the deepest expressions of emotion, and writing and performing original music is as personal and honest as you can get.” By the time he graduated from the University of Southern California in 2010, Derik had produced five original albums and helped shape curriculum for USC’s Popular Music program. www.deriknelson.com

Riana graduated from University of Michigan in Musical Theater, where she co-directed the co-ed a cappella group “Amazin’ Blue,” and has appeared on television, film and stage as well as led children’s music programs. www.riananelson.com Dalten has appeared in musical theater productions since the age of four. His skills in lighting design and video production, from concept to editing, contributes to the trio’s mesmerizing and visually immersive concerts.www.daltennelson.com

The music workshop was underwritten in part by the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center’s Education Fund.
To contribute to the fund or for more information, contact the development staff at 925-583-2305 or email

 

Event Preview: One Night, Three Women, Too Funny!

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The Bothwell Arts Center is proud to present “One Night, Three Women, Too Funny,” comedy fundraiser event starring local comedians Regina Stoops, Stacey Gustafson, and Margaret Zhao.

Get to Know the Comedians

Regina Stoops

How would you like to say that you were born and raised in a town called Normal? But just because of that, don’t think that Regina Stoops lives a boring life. Sure, she raises three boys, has aging parents, and has constant errands to run, but there’s so much more to Regina. Her comedy centers around ordinary life as she redefines what it actually means to be normal. You will quickly find entertainment along the journey of a “Catholic, Democratic, lesbian, stay-at-home soccer mom with an Autistic son” living in the suburbs. Over the years, Regina’s humor connects with a wide range of audiences, from Catholic Diocese fundraisers and teacher’s workshops to corporate retreats and comedy clubs.

Not sold yet on Regina? Take it from Sarah Holland, the president of Visibility Project NYC & Equal Leadership Summit, who says “Regina is one funny woman! Genuinely warm as an entertainer and side-splittingly funny as a comedienne. Her humor is quick-witted and playful, her timing impeccable. She can customize her remarks to any situation or audience, providing a good-natured, rollicking laugh ride through everyday events and human foibles.”

Stacey Gustafson

Kids, parents, marriage, and midlife are all fair game for Stacey Gustafson. The St. Louis native makes a habit of turning everyday frustrations into humor. Stacey uses a tongue-in-cheek brand of humor that resonates with the audience. Aside from making people burst into laughter in person, Stacey is also an Amazon bestselling author. Her book, Are You Kidding Me? My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives boasts a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Whether you dive into this book, one of her humor columns, or her blog, you can look forward to stories about parenting and daily events such as laundry, public restrooms, and being middle-aged. Stacy was recently honored as the Erma Bombeck Humor Writer of the Month.

Margaret Zhao

Simply put, Margaret Zhao was born in the wrong place at the wrong time. Margaret’s award-winning memoir Really Enough; A True Story of Tyranny, Courage and Comedy goes into her struggle for survival, freedom, and forbidden love. Margaret was unfairly labeled as Enemy of the State under Chairman Mao and had to use humor and wit to survive oppressive tyranny and handle the challenges of culture shock that come with moving to the U.S. Margaret’s stories of crossing cultures create surprises and uncontrollable laughs, from learning to drive to pronouncing the menu at Taco Bell. Margaret has the unique ability to not just make people laugh, but also inspire them. Through the years, she has entertained and delighted audiences of all ages at the Hollywood Laugh Factory, comedy clubs, schools, churches, and other venues.

About the Bothwell Arts Center

Along with the Bankhead Theater, the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center also operates the Bothwell Arts Center. Since its creation, the Bothwell Arts Center has been an arts incubator, offering affordable rental space for artists, musicians, and other groups with a cultural arts focus. Currently, over 40,000 people have benefitted from classes and performances held at the Bothwell. The center sponsors a variety of activities including ArtWalk, Celtic Christmas, Holiday Boutique, New Orleans Bash, and more.

Remember that you can donate directly to the Bothwell Arts Center, which allows us to keep rents low for all of the nonprofit groups and workers that use the center.

The Performance

The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is excited to welcome these three women to the Bothwell on Saturday, August 26 at 7:30 p.m. Keep in mind that seating is limited, so reserve tickets today. Tickets are just $20. If interested, autographed books and a cash bar will be available in the lobby.

With September just around the corner, check our event calendar to see what’s on tap at LVPAC.  

Event Preview: Keiko Matsui

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Japanese-born pianist and composer Keiko Matsui has become an icon in contemporary smooth jazz, reaching virtually every corner of the globe over the past 25 years. Matsui is truly a consummate artist who feels at home in any musical context. She is unique in that her original compositions transcend boundaries, blending a rich and diverse melting pot of influences that range from jazz, classical, and rock to blues and world music. Matsui’s timeless, passionate, and emotional melodies speak to a universally appealing language to listeners worldwide. She will be making an upcoming Friday night appearance at the Bankhead Theater.

Get to Know Keiko Matsui

Born in Tokyo, Keiko had her first piano lesson soon after her fifth birthday. She focused primarily on classical music until later in her high school years, when she developed an interest in jazz. Keiko looked to Stevie Wonder, Maurice Jarre, and Chick Corea for inspiration as she began composing her own music. She went on to study children’s culture at Japan Women’s University, as well as music at the Yamaha Music Foundation. At just 17, Keiko was selected to be a recording artist for them. She joined the Japanese jazz fusion group Cosmos, which recorded seven albums.  

In terms of recording success, Matsui’s career began to truly blossom in the 1990s. Sapphire reached number two on Billboard’s weekly Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, while Dream Walk climbed to number three. In 1997, Matsui became the lone female jazz artist in Billboard’s top 10 Contemporary Jazz Artists. The next two years, Masui received the Oasis award for Best Female Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year. In 2001, Matsui finally reached the top as her album Deep Blue took her to the top spot on Billboard.

Her Music

Matsui’s sound is so interesting because it blends both Western and Eastern musical influences. She believes that music has the ability to bring people together and change their lives. When listening to Matsui’s music, you can’t help but notice her love of nature. Matsui makes references to plants, animals, and other natural features in her song titles.

Over the last few years, Matsui’s albums show more of a worldbeat (blend of pop or rock music with world or traditional music) style. Since 2010, Matsui has released several solo albums including:

  • The Road (2011)
  • Soul Quest (2013)
  • Live in Tokyo (2015)
  • Journey to the Heart (2016)

Giving Back

Not only does Matsui influence with her music, but also her time. In 1997, her CD A Gift Of Hope went to support the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization. That same year, she played at a special ice skating benefit to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Proceeds from that same CD went to the National Marrow Donor Program and Marrow Foundation in 2001 to support their program Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches, which promotes the registration of people of ethnic minorities as marrow donors to help improve the chance of finding matches.

Matsui’s efforts didn’t stop there, though. In 2003, she played at the United Nations Headquarters building to benefit the World Food Programme and fight world hunger.

What She’s Saying

Matsui explains on her official website that “My melodies are my living testimony. I feel that the world is getting crazier and we need to collectively go back and recall what connects us all…our spirits, hearts, and our souls.” With her recent release of Journey to the Heart, Matsui confirms that she continues to work toward impacting the world in a positive way.

“We need to find that common bond in our hearts. People are dying with violence, hunger, and war. This music is my new journey,” Matsui says. “It’s an evolution in many ways. I hope I can make a path and make some noise and leave a positive effect on the world. This is my mission and I am dedicating my music to this cause.”

The Performance

The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is excited to welcome Keiko Matsui on Friday, August 18 at 8 p.m. in the Bankhead Theater. Book your tickets today! Don’t forget to check out our event calendar for other upcoming performances.

You can also subscribe to our email list so you’re always in the loop.

Event Preview: The New Christy Minstrels

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The New Christy Minstrels forged a fresh folk sound in the 1960s with a lighthearted style that was welcomed at the forefront of a challenging era. Original songs such as “Green, Green” and their cover of “Sing in the Sunshine” topped the charts and their debut album won a Grammy Award in 1963. More than 20 albums later, creator Randy Sparks remains at the helm of the iconic group. The New Christy Minstrels continue to deliver the rich harmonies and tuneful melodies that have enchanted fans for decades. The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center can’t wait to welcome them for an upcoming Sunday afternoon performance.

Still Going Strong

It can be challenging for long-standing musical groups to captivate audiences through the years. But that’s just what The New Christy Minstrels continue to do. The group currently features seven members, both old and new, who have been called the best collection of performers. NCM is led by founder Sparks, Tholow Chan, Becky Jo Benson, Sue Harris, Greg O’Haver, Dave Rainwater, John Denver’s uncle Dave Deutschendorf, and Ed Stockton. As you can see on their website, Sparks explains that “We’re still alive, we’re still creative, and still eager to please, so we make a deal with the audience: We’ll do all the old songs you came to hear, if you’ll allow just a couple of newer ones.”

In July of 2013, NCM released their newest CD called “Nice Time to Be Alive,” as well as their Greatest Hits CD.     

Meet the Group

Randy Sparks

The group founder led NCM to their first concert at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles in 1961. More than 50 years later, Sparks says that the group is exactly the same. He was the one responsible for putting the first group together, selecting the performers, and even writing the majority of the songs. When NCM first came together, there were 10 members on stage. However, through the decades, Sparks has become an expert on achieving the signature sound he worked so hard to invent. Coupled with better sound equipment, Sparks mentions that the group can create the sound he demands with just seven singers and players.

Dave Rainwater

‘Changing the world one fiddle tune at a time,’ Rainwater has plenty of longevity in the NCM uniform. In addition to his time with NCM, he has enjoyed roles with groups such as Heaven’s Grass, The Piney Creek Weasels, The Contests, Horse Sense, The Foothillbillys, and currently, The Black Irish Band.

‘Uncle’ Dave Deutschendorf

As aforementioned above, Deutschendorf is John Denver’s uncle. ‘Uncle’ Dave began his permanent stay with the group in 2010, providing a boost to the bottom line of NCM’s vocal mix. On occasion, Deutschendorf plays guitar on only a few ditties.

Tholow Chan

The group’s bass player, Chan and Sparks first toured together in 1969 across the U.S. Not only does Chan continue to work and rehearse, but he brings a certain kind of energy that everyone appreciates.

Greg O’Haver

Sparks and O’Haver first worked together way back in 1967. O’Haver is responsible for the group’s instrumental sound. Sparks mentions in the bio that O’Haver is “the very best on anybody’s stage, and we’re grateful for his loyalty to the calling.”

Becky Jo Benson

She’s one of the younger members of NCM, but she still has more time vested in the group than anybody, aside from Sparks. Though she didn’t come on with the group until 1997, she’s been a regular at performances ever since.

Sue Harris

NCM original Dolan Ellis calls Harris the best girl type entertainer in Arizona. That praise has carried over to the rest of the current group members.  

Ed Stockton

Since 2015, Stockton has become NCM’s permanent backup member. When someone is unable to make a performance, Stockton steps in and does a seamless job.

The Performance

LVPAC is set to host The New Christy Minstrels on Sunday, August 13 at 3 p.m. in the Bankhead Theater. Tickets range from $16 to $80. Our center for performing arts offers student and active military prices for all performances.   

See our event calendar for other upcoming performances! We have a number of must-attend events coming up at the end of summer and into the fall.

Call 925.373.6800 or email websales@livermoreperformingarts.org for tickets and information