Monthly Archives

January 2019

Branford Marsalis Quartet to Bring Expressive Jazz Style to the Bankhead

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From his early acclaim as a saxophonist, Branford Marsalis has stayed the course, bringing new energy and new audiences to the world of jazz. He has refined and expanded his talents and horizons as a musician, composer, bandleader, and educator over the years, becoming a 21st century mainstay of artistic excellence. It’s easy to see why the Associated Press called the Branford Marsalis Quartet “one of the most cohesive, intense small jazz ensembles on the scene today.”

As we’ll discuss later in this post, the Branford Marsalis Quartet will perform at the Bankhead Theater for one night only on January 21. Keep reading as we take a closer look at this legendary group.

About Branford Marsalis Quartet

Marsalis grew up in the rich musical environment of New Orleans, the son of famed pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis and the oldest of his three jazz-playing siblings. He formed his own quartet in 1986 and has taken guest turns with such giants of the jazz world as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, and Sonny Rollins. Among his many credits, Marsalis has composed for Broadway, toured with Sting, served as musical director for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and appeared on numerous other television and radio programs. He is a frequent soloist in jazz performance and, increasingly, in the classical universe as well.

The Branford Marsalis Quartet has long been known for telepathic communication among its uncommonly consistent personnel. Today, the group is recognized as the standard to which other ensembles of its kind must be measured. The Branford Marsalis Quartet delivers a deep book of original music, replete with expressive melodies and provocative forms, as well as unrivaled spirit in both live and recorded performances.

The performance

We are thrilled to welcome the Branford Marsalis Quartet for what’s expected to be an incredible performance when they appear at the Bankhead Monday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m. Unfortunately, the $20 regular ticket level is already sold out, although discounted tickets for students and active military personnel are still available at that price. Remaining seats for the performance start at $50.

A venue like none other

Here at the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, we hope that 2019 is the year you check out the Bankhead Theater for yourself. This unique, 507-seat venue is regularly used for live music, theater, dance, lectures, events, and conferences. For more than a decade, the Bankhead has brought artists and audiences together to share in the rich experience of live performance.

There’s no debating the importance of the arts. The LVPAC staff believes that every child deserves the opportunity to see, hear, and take part in the performing arts. That’s why we put such an emphasis on making our events affordable and accessible. In addition to our various family-friendly shows, we also maintain an unrivaled educational outreach program for both children and the underprivileged.

Now is the perfect time to take in a performance at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore. Contact the LVPAC staff today for more information.

Legendary Singer-Songwriter Melissa Manchester to Appear at the Bankhead

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Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester, who has been delivering heartfelt hit songs to audiences for decades, will bring cuts from across her broad catalog to the Bankhead Theater stage this coming Friday, January. 18. Manchester first soared to stardom in 1975 with her hit single “Midnight Blue” and went on to win the 1982 Best Female Vocalist Grammy Award for her disco-inspired “You Should Hear How She Talks About You.”

Over the years, Manchester has built a reputation as a compelling singer and songwriter. She has always brought her own experience and truth to each song, from early hits such as “Through the Eyes of Love,” “Don’t Cry Out Loud” and “Just You and I,” to her most recent single, “A Better Rainbow,” released last fall. Along the way, Manchester has collaborated with a who’s who of artists including Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Roberta Flack, Kathy Mattea, Johnny Mathis, and Kenny Loggins, with whom she co-wrote the radio classic, “Whenever I Call You Friend.”

Manchester, a New York native, grew up on the Upper West Side in an artistically inclined family. She attended New York University and started her own career on the songwriting staff for a music company. On the jingle circuit, she met Barry Manilow whose introduction to Bette Midler led to her performing as one of Midler’s backup singers and dancers before signing her own recording contract. Manchester’s broad and versatile talents span both singing and acting, and she has appeared on stage, film, and television. In addition to writing the popular songs for which she is best known, she has also composed for film scores and musicals.

Since her first album in 1973, Manchester has released more than 20 more, including her most recent “The Fellas” as a tribute to the male singers and songwriters who influenced her career. She has called the album a “love letter” to Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and more, with renditions of such favorites as “Night and Day,” “Love is Just Around the Corner,” and “Smile.” “The Fellas,” which was released in 2017, came 25 years after her album “Tribute” honoring the great female singers she admired.

In an intimate concert on the Bankhead stage, Manchester will bring her own engaging style to music across a range of genres, from pop and rock to Broadway and jazz.

The performance

Tickets are selling fast for this single performance at the Bankhead on Jan. 18. While the $20 regular ticket level is already sold out, discounted tickets for students and active military personnel are still available at that price. Note that remaining seats are just $40.

The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit offering wide-ranging programs that provide access to the arts for the Tri-Valley community and beyond. Together with the Bothwell Arts Center, the Bankhead Theater is home to eight resident performing arts companies and over 40 studio artists and cultural arts instructors.

Contact LVPAC for more information regarding this performance as well as others throughout 2019.

Event Preview: Django Shredders

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Jazz guitarists Alex Ciavarelli and Rudy Marquez, known together as Django Shredders, will bring their exuberant energy and a virtuosity beyond their years to the Bothwell Arts Center to perform “The Life and Times of Django Reinhardt” on January 19. Regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Belgian jazz guitarist Reinhardt has inspired songwriters and performers worldwide for decades. In a compelling exploration of the late master’s legendary music as well as the music of those he influenced, Ciaverelli and Marquez trace the story of the rise of the “gypsy jazz” style and sound Reinhardt established.

The San Diego natives met while undergraduates in the jazz studies program at San Diego State University. Their mutual interest in Reinhardt led them to develop the fascinating program which shares their joy in his music, in addition to some of the history behind it. The two have toured the Southwest together, including performances at Django Vegas and at the San Diego Gypsy Jazz Festival. This month, Ciaverelli and Marquez have a nine-concert residency at the Sonoma County Libraries, where they will present a version of “The Life and Times of Django Reinhardt” tailored especially for families. While in Northern California, they will also appear as part of the “Center on the Go” concert series at the Grass Valley Center.

Well-versed in all styles of jazz, as well as rock and pop, Ciavarelli performs solo and with his band throughout Southern California at various clubs and venues. Ciavarelli has been a featured guest artist at Concerts in the Park on Coronado Island and in Balboa Park, as well as at the Kyoto Prize Gala.

Originally eager to become a rock and roll musician, Marquez instead ended up studying classical guitar before discovering his passion for jazz. He played in a gypsy jazz group at San Diego State called Hot Bananas and also performs with a jazz organ trio. Ciavarelli and Marquez have been performing as Django Shredders since 2017 and will demonstrate their remarkable ability to capture the gypsy jazz style in their intimate tribute to Django Reinhardt at the Bothwell Arts Center.

The performance by Django Shredders is the first in the new Bothwell Presents series, which entails intimate concerts designed to highlight exciting new artists, as well as more established small groups. Scott Kenison, Executive Director of the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, sees the series as an opportunity to share with the community unique and affordable performing arts experiences, in addition to what is already presented at the Bankhead Theater.

“We often come across talented artists and events that are best suited to a smaller, more casual venue,” says Kenison. “While the Bothwell has welcomed groups such as Gabe Duffin and his Pog Mo Thoin band for years, we now hope to build on those shows with this expanded series.”

The performance

As aforementioned, Ciavarelli and Marquez are set to appear at the Bothwell this coming Saturday, January 19 at 8 p.m. General admission seating costs just $20 but is selling quickly, so be sure to get your tickets as soon as possible.  
Contact the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center with any questions.


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Clockwise from upper left: David Victor formerly of Boston, Marc Cohn, Derik Nelson & Family, Keiko Matsui, New Christy Minstrels (center), The Family Stone, Lunafish, John Waite.

We just announced new additions to the Bankhead Theater schedule for 2019! Two shows and one free concert have been added to the current season and six shows have been announced for the Summer Series at the Bankhead. You’ll find old favorites and some new name making their first appearance in Livermore. Check out the list, then buy your tickets now before they sell out! Right now tickets are on sale to MEMBERS only. Become a member today to get the best seats. Tickets go on sale to the public January 23.

Since his Grammy Award-winning hit ballad “Walking in Memphis,” Marc Cohn has earned a reputation as a natural storyteller with the precision of a brilliant tunesmith and the passion of a great soul man. His intimate concerts feature deep cuts and surprises, as well as songs that have been fan favorites for decades. John Waite became one of the most recognizable voices in the 1980s when his hits “Missing You” and “Midnight Rendezvous” soared to the top of the pop charts. His solo career was preceded by success as lead singer of The Babys and the rock supergroup Bad English. He brings his acoustic sound and familiar vocals back to the Bankhead’s intimate stage on the Wooden Heart: Acoustic Anthology Tour in late May.

Kicking off the summer will be two groups who delight audiences with their appealing folk-pop music. One of just 15 groups named US Cultural Ambassadors in 2018, Derik Nelson and Family deliver passionate interpretations of both original and cover songs. Derik, Riana and Dalten’s perfectly-blended sibling harmonies and jazz and folk-infused sound are enhanced by stunning visual digital displays. For the third summer, the siblings will lead a songwriting workshop for teens. The week-long session culminates in an afternoon presentation for friends and family before Derik Nelson and Family take the stage for their own performance. On July 26th, The New Christy Minstrels make a sixth appearance at the Bankhead with their always-fresh folk sound. Since the 1960s, their lighthearted style and rich harmonies have endeared them to listeners with such original, chart-topping hits such as “Green, Green” and “Today.”

Formerly of the multi-platinum band Boston, David Victor, together with four other lead vocalists, will deliver the music of iconic classic rock groups, Boston and Styx, whose legendary hits included “More Than a Feeling,” “Peace of Mind,” “Lady,” “Come Sail Away,” and “Amanda.” With a blazing hot rock sound and four- and five-part harmonies, the group will bring a feel-good, 100 percent live performance to the Bankhead stage. Renowned Japanese-born pianist and composer Keiko Matsui has earned a devout and enthusiastic international audience, including numerous local fans in Livermore. Her music transcends boundaries worldwide, blending a rich melting pot of musical influences to create unforgettable, contemporary smooth jazz melodies.

Join us to celebrate the anniversary of the landmark rock show. The Family Stone, who with then-leader Sly Stone performed at Woodstock in 1969, will appear here on August 10. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Jerry Martini and Greg Errico, will appear with Phunne Stone, Swang Stewart, Blaise Sison, Nate Wingfield, and Jimmy Mckinney. The band will deliver an infectious high-energy combination of funk and soul on such legendary hits as “Everyday People,” “Dance To The Music,” “Family Affair” and “Hot Fun in the Summertime!” A local favorite, Livermore-based band LunaFish joins in with a “Woodstock Revisited” show on August 17, reviving the magic of the historic event with their authentic psychedelic rock sound.

On April 18, members of the California State Military Reserve Band under the leadership of music director James Lamb will present “Ragtime to Jazz: The Music of James Reese Europe.” Combining narrative, images, video, and live music, they will chart the story of the famed African-American musician and soldier. Jim Europe broke barriers from the stage of Carnegie Hall to the battlefields of World War I. The event is free, but tickets are required and will be available beginning on March 18.

The new shows augment the current season which include such upcoming events as the nearly sold out concerts with Branford Marsalis Quartet, Jake Shimabukuro, Robert Cray, and Keb’ Mo’. More than 20 other shows remain in the season, including rock, pop, bluegrass and folk music, as well as dance, theater, cirque, and comedy. See the whole list HERE.

Only members can buy tickets until January 23. Don’t miss out on your favorite seats! Become a member today or contact Brittany Mulgrew at (925) 583-2305. Advance notice and early ticket purchase is a LVPAC membership benefit. Other benefits include a 10 percent discount on tickets all season and an invitation to the Season Announcement Party in May. Additional benefits such as private receptions and exclusive artist meet and greets are available at upper membership levels. Find out more about membership HERE.

At the Bankhead!

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A limited number of $20 seats are available for all shows*



Fri Jan 18 at 8pm Melissa Manchester

Mon Jan 21 at 7:30pm Branford Marsalis  ALMOST SOLD OUT!

Tue Jan 29 at 7:30pm  Jake Shimabukuro  ALMOST SOLD OUT!

Thu Jan 31 at 7:30pm Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Fri Feb 8 at 8pm  Russian National Ballet “Don Quixote”

Sun Feb 10 at 7:30pm  Robert Cray   ALMOST SOLD OUT!

Tue Feb 12 at 7:30pm  A Bowie Celebration

Thu Feb 14 at 7:30pm The Music of ABBA (Arrival from Sweden)

Fri Feb 15 at 8pm Second City “It’s Not You, It’s Me”

Sun Feb 17 at 3pm  The Choir of Man

Fri Feb 22 at 8:00pm  Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Sun Feb 24 at 3pm  The Clairvoyants

Wed Feb 27 at 7:30pm  Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy: Visions of Cape Breton and Beyond

Thu Feb 28 at 7:30pm  International Guitar Night 

Mon Mar 11 at 7:30pm  Marc Cohn  MEMBER PRESALE ONLY UNTIL 1/23

Fri Mar 15 at 8pm Masters of Soul

Mon Mar 18 at 7:30pm  Don Felder

Thu Mar 21 at 7:30pm  Cirque Eloize “Saloon”

Fri Mar 22 at 8pm  Bumper Jacksons

Thu Mar 28 at 7:30pm  Will Ackerman: The Gathering 4 Guitars

Mon Apr 8 at 7:30pm  Mayumana “Currents”

Fri Apr 12 at 8pm  Late Nite Catechism “Will My Bunny Go To Heaven?”

Sun Apr 14 at 3pm Lonesome Traveler: The Concert with Peter Yarrow

Fri May 3 at 8pm  The Drifters

Sun May 4 at 5pm  The Capitol Steps

Sun May 12 at 3pm  San Francisco String Trio: The Sgt. Pepper Project

Tue May 14 at 7:30pm  Keb’ Mo’  

Fri May 31 at 8:00pm  John Waite  MEMBER PRESALE ONLY UNTIL 1/23



Fri Jul 12 at 8:00pm  Derik Nelson & Family

Fri Jul 26 at 8:00pm  New Christy Minstrels

Fri Aug 2 at 8:00pm  David Victor formerly of Boston

Sat Aug 10 at 8:00pm  The Family Stone

Fri Aug 16 at 8:00pm  Keiko Matsui

Sat Aug 17 at 8:00pm  Lunafish “Woodstock Revisited!”

*Bankhead Presents shows only, excludes Gala, Resident Company and Rental shows

Upcoming Events

Fri 18

Melissa Manchester

Fri, January 18 @ 8:00 pm
Sat 19

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Sat, January 19 @ 8:00 pm
Organizer: Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre
Sat 19

Django Shredders

Sat, January 19 @ 8:00 pm
Mon 21

Branford Marsalis Quartet

Mon, January 21 @ 7:30 pm

Call 925.373.6800 or email for tickets and information