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Jessica Brown

Event Preview: Manhattan Transfer

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Celebrating their 45th anniversary, The Manhattan Transfer continues to set the standard as one of the world’s greatest and most innovative vocal groups. Through the decades, the group maintains their sleek harmonies and distinctive sound. Their tight quartet of voices gives a modern twist to music from jazz standards to boogie-woogie and the blues. When talking about The Manhattan Transfer, you can’t help but mention their renditions of “Route 66” and “Why Not!” that won them Grammy Awards in consecutive years during the early 1980s. Those weren’t their only accolades, though. In fact, those two Grammys turned into 10, including one for the megahit “Boy from New York City.” The group has appeared with a range of notable artists, from Tony Bennett and Frankie Valli to Smokey Robinson and James Taylor. Even after losing founder Tim Hauser in 2014, The Manhattan Transfer continues to build on his legacy. In 2017, they’re looking forward to recording their 30th album.

Meet The Manhattan Transfer

Trist Curless (bass) – The newest member of the group, Trist is no stranger to vocal harmonies. As mentioned on the official Manhattan Transfer website, he co-founded the pop-jazz vocal group m-pact. Not to mention, Trist has performed in festivals and concert halls around the world. He continues to write, arrange, and produce many of the group’s songs. Outside of his time with the Manhattan Transfer, Trist teaches private voice lessons and participates as a clinician and adjudicator in clinics and festivals around the world.

Janis Siegel (alto) – Janis’ unmistakable voice and The Manhattan Transfer go hand in hand. She sang lead on hits such as “Operator,” “Twilight Zone,” and “Birdland,” among others. Janis even gained a reputation as a vocal arranger by writing seven charts for the group’s Grammy-winning album “Brasil.” In 1999, Janis and her Manhattan Transfer colleagues were among the first class of inductees into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Along with team member Alan Paul, Janis represented America in 2012 as teachers and judges for the first online singing competition in China. Janis released her 10th solo CD on Palmetto Records, which includes two solo collaborations called “Honey & Air” and “Some Other Time.”

Alan Paul (tenor) – One of the group’s founding members, Alan is an eight-time Grammy Award recipient. Alan had an early start in the spotlight as he was cast in the original Broadway production of Grease when he created the roles of Teen Angel and Johnny Casino. It was during his performance in Grease where Alan met The Manhattan Transfer. In addition to being an integral part of the group, Alan has recorded two solo albums called “Another Place in Time” and “Shu Bop.” His most recent record, “Shu Bop” pays tribute to classic doo-wop and popular music from the 1950s and 60s. When Alan isn’t touring with The Manhattan Transfer, he enjoys teaching voice and leading vocal jazz masterclasses for aspiring singers.  

Cheryl Bentyne (soprano) – The daughter of a band leader, Cheryl had roots in classic jazz and swing from the beginning. Cheryl graduated from high school early to move to Seattle and join The New Deal Rhythm Band. After four years on the road with the group, Cheryl moved to Los Angeles, where she sang regularly at the Troubadour’s “Hoot Nights” at the Bla Bla Cafe in Studio City. The rest is history after Cheryl was asked if she wanted to audition for The Manhattan Transfer. In addition to the Grammy Awards won with The Manhattan Transfer, she also won a shared Grammy for a vocal experiment known as “Another Night in Tunisia.” Cheryl’s voice has appeared in numerous films including Mortal thoughts, A Dangerous Woman, and Dick Tracy.   

The Performance

The Manhattan Transfer is set to appear at the Bankhead Theater Saturday, November 11th at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $50-$100. The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is proud to offer student and active military prices for all performances. Buy your tickets today, as this event is expected to sell out quickly! Don’t miss out on the chance to see this special performance from such a storied group. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call the box office.

Check out our events calendar for other upcoming performances.

Event Preview: OK Go

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You remember their pop hits like it was yesterday. But now you have the chance to see them in person at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore. The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is thrilled to welcome OK Go for what should be a memorable evening.

A History of OK Go

Originally from Chicago, this American rock band formed in 1998. Music buffs often wonder how the group came up with the name. It actually stems from an art teacher of the band members saying, “OK…Go!” while they were drawing. The band started to gain traction when they self-released two EPs, titled “Brown EP” in 2000 and “Pink EP” in 2001. That year, they signed to Capitol Records. In 2002, the band released its debut album, called “OK Go.” The album was highlighted by the first single “Get Over It,” which later appeared in several sports video games. The band’s first album reached number one in the U.S. on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and got as high as #107 on the Billboard 200 Chart. Not to mention, the “Get Over It” video was named video of the week by Q Magazine.

OK Go released its second album in August 2005. “Oh No” skyrocketed in popularity thanks to its first single “A Million Ways.” By August 2006, the video became the most downloaded music video ever with over 9 million downloads. Group guitarist Andy Ross invented, designed, and programmed a web application which allowed people to hear the single and share it with friends in exchange for free downloads from iTunes.

Following the release of the “Here It Goes Again” video, OK Go released a deluxe DVD version of the album. It contains a documentary on the making of the album, the four official Capitol Records videos, as well as a number of never-before-seen band appearances.

In October 2008, the band released its third album, titled “Of the Blue Colour of the Sky.” The band members explained that these songs are the “danciest, most anthemic, most heartbroken, and honest songs” of their career. Furthermore, the album takes a more funky, yet melancholy sound to it, drawing influence from Prince.

Hungry Ghosts, the group’s fourth studio album, was released in May 2014. The album’s first single “The Writing’s on the Wall” was released about a month later, accompanied by a music video that reached well over one million views within a day.

Even today, no other band has been more wildly inventive or had more fun along the way to success. From their first viral hit with coordinated treadmills of “Here It Goes Again,” to their most recent paintball-exploding “The One Moment,” the group’s visuals are as engaging and infectious as their music itself. It’s safe to say that since they reached Los Angeles in the early 1990s, members Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka, and Andy Ross have taken an approach that’s been incredibly beneficial for the entertainment industry as a whole. The infectious beat of their songs and their limitless musical creativity have reached millions through their viral videos and collaborations with dance companies, technology innovators, and The Muppets.

About the Bankhead Theater

If you’ve never been to the Bankhead Theater, now’s the time! This 507-seat venue has welcomed countless artists and audiences, bringing them together to share the rich experience of live performance. Whether it’s theatre, live music, comedy, or something different, the Bankhead is certain to engage, entertain, and inspire audiences of all ages. The Bankhead isn’t your average performing arts venue. Rather, it provides an intimate venue for audiences and artists alike.  It’s no wonder the Grammy Award-winning vocal group Chanticleer has praised the Bankhead for its perfect acoustics. Whether seated in the darkened theater, waiting backstage for an entrance cue or enjoying a show outside, everyone comes together here to share in the power of live performances.  

The Performance

LVPAC is set to host “OK Go” Friday, November 3rd at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $50-$100. Please note that we offer student and active military prices for all performances. This event is expected to sell out quickly, so be sure to book your tickets as soon as possible.

Event Preview: African Guitar Summit

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The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center welcomes African Guitar Summit for an evening of incredible music and fun. This group of Canadian musicians, all of African origin, perform traditional songs from their native countries. African Guitar Summit features nine members: Alpha Yaya Diallo, Naby Camara, Pa Joe, Theo Yaw Boakye, Kofi Ackah, Adam Solomon, Mighty Popo, Donne Robert, and Madagascar Slim.

How They Got Started

The group was formed in Toronto as part of a performance project for CBC Radio’s program called On State. Alpha and Naby were musicians from Guinea on balafon. Meanwhile, Pa (guitarist), Theo (singer), and Kofi (drummer) represented Ghana. Musicians also came from Kenya, Burundi/Rwanda, and Madagascar. For three days, the group shared stories and experiences in addition to rehearsing. The group debuted on the fourth day in a concert at Glenn Gould Studio. For the rest of the week, the musicians recorded their self-titled CD. Believe it or not, the group recorded everything live off the floor, in just one or two takes.

In November 2004, African Guitar Summit was released on CBC Records. It wasn’t long before others noticed how special these musicians really were. African Guitar Summit took home the Juno Award for World Music Album of the Year. About five months later, the group performed an arrangement of Mwembo at the Juno Awards Gala in Winnipeg. African Guitar Summit has since toured across Canada, including a performance at the Live 8 concert near Toronto.

Their Music Style

Now featuring three award-winning guitarists from Canada, African Guitar Summit delivers an infectious style of music full of the rich flavors of native Africa. Backed by a mix of bass and percussion, the group unites their hands and voices to create nothing short of musical magic. It doesn’t take long to appreciate the work of this group. Coming from distinct backgrounds, each member is inspired by the person next to them. When they combine their musical ability with a variety of culture/language differences, the result is amazing. Simply put, African Guitar Summit continues to reach new heights with their performances.

The smooth fire of Alpha joins the quicksilver guitars and harmonies of Donne and Madagascar. The rhythmic talents of drummer Kofi are accompanied by electric bass and balafon played by Naby. African Guitar Summit continues to captivate audiences by sharing their unique sound and energetic style with enthusiastic audiences across North America.

Upcoming Holiday Events at Our Performing Arts Center

It’s never too early to start thinking about family fun around the holidays. At LVPAC, we have a number of musical shows, theater performances, and other events that are perfect for all ages! Here’s just a sampling of what’s on tap the next few months:

  • Handel’s Glorious Messiah – Sunday, November 25th at 2 p.m.   
  • Late Night Catechism “Sister’s Christmas Catechism” – Friday, December 1st at 8 p.m.
  • The Nutcracker – Saturday, December 9th at 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, December 10th at 2 p.m.; Friday, December 15th at 7 p.m.; Saturday, December 16th at 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, December 17th at 2 and 7 p.m.
  • An Irish Christmas – Thursday, December 21st at 7:30 p.m.
  • New Year’s Eve at the Bankhead – Sunday, December 31st at 8 p.m.

Stay tuned for event previews and ticket info for each!   

About the Bankhead Theater

For more than a decade, the Bankhead Theater has been home to a diverse range of artists and audiences. We are thrilled to welcome in musicians of all genres, from western swing and classic rock to smooth jazz and world music. Not only that, we also put on dance performance, acrobatics, opera shows, and comedy shows. Artists absolutely rave about the rich environment provided by the Bankhead. With its perfect acoustics, the Bankhead makes for an intimate venue for both audience members and musicians alike.

Every day, the mission of LVPAC is to offer a broad range of arts opportunities and experiences to engage our community. There’s no doubt that the Bankhead plays a significant role in that effort.

The Performance

LVPAC hosts African Guitar Summit Thursday, November 2nd at the Bankhead Theater. Seats are just $40, so be sure to select your seats today!

The Benefits of Arts Education

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Now that school is back in session, it’s a good idea to think about how to help your child get a leg up in the classroom. One way is through a strong arts education. The performing arts not only enrich our lives, culture, and communities, but they are also vital to a young person’s education. Research shows that exposure to art education promotes self-directed learning, improves school attendance, and sharpens critical and creative skills. Those with an interest in the arts also have an easier time in classes such as reading, math, and social studies. In this blog post, we will dive more into the benefits of arts education and the educational outreach programs of the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center.

Why Should Children Take in the Performing Arts?

Some parents believe that since their children are doing well in the classroom, they don’t need to do anything more to stimulate academic development. But that just isn’t the case. The knowledge that stems from the arts can’t be replicated in a normal classroom setting. With that in mind, here are some key benefits of an arts education:

  • Higher scores on achievement tests – Students with high arts involvement tend to perform better on standardized achievement tests in comparison to students with low arts involvement, according to research. Keep in mind that those who branch out to the arts watch fewer hours of television, participate in more community service, and report less boredom in school.
  • Improved cognition skills and attention for learning – Young students who are motivated in the arts develop attention skills and memory retrieval that also apply to other subject areas.
  • Development of skills highly valued by employers – More than ever before, employers are looking for traits of innovation and creativity in job candidates. Organizations value those who can think critically, solve a problem, work as a team, and come up with an out-of-the-box solution when necessary. It’s not surprising that arts education can help build each of these skills.

How the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is Helping

The goal at LVPAC is to ensure that every student in the Tri-Valley is given the chance to experience the arts each year through a variety of educational activities. LVPAC presents performances at schools, as well as the Bankhead Theater. We also provide free monthly family events as well as workshops and master classes with visiting artists. You can feel comfortable knowing that portions of these activities are underwritten through generous contributions and matching gifts to our education fund.   

How to Contribute

We put a great deal of energy into our educational outreach programs. To learn more about these programs that support school/family performances and students tickets or to donate, please contact our development staff at 925-583-2305.      

Looking for a unique way to contribute to our arts education? We are fortunate to be able to offer a gift box featuring three Gold Medal -winning Livermore Valley wines in the recent San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The wines are perfectly packed in a natural pine wooden box with the Livermore Arts Bankhead Theater logo. The box includes one bottle each of Cuda Ridge Wines 2013 Malbec, 1846 by Nottingham Cellars 2014 Chardonnay, and Mia Nipote 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. The proceeds of this one-of-a-kind gift box support the LVPAC Education Fund. Please note that your purchase must be picked up at the Bankhead lobby between noon and 6 p.m.

Theater Etiquette

We love seeing young patrons enjoying our theater and live music performances, especially for the first time! If your child has never been to the arts, here are few rules of etiquette that they must follow:

  • Outside food and beverages are not allowed (including gum).
  • Take care of personal needs in advance so you don’t have to leave your seat until either intermission or the end of the performance.
  • Photography of any kind is prohibited. Please silence any electronic devices prior to the beginning of the show.
  • Please refrain from talking or singing along, except when encouraged to do so by the artist.
  • Please do not put your feet up on the chairs or railing in front of you and do not kick the chair in front of you.
  • Please sit in your assigned seat so you do not cause confusion for other audience members. Should you need further assistance, please consult the nearest usher.

For more information on how you can get your child involved with the arts, feel free to contact LVPAC.

Plan Your Visit to the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center

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The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is proud to be the heart of a vibrant cultural arts community. At the Bankhead Theater, we truly have something for everyone. From incredible musical performances to comedy and everything in between, the events we put on are fun for the whole family. With that in mind, if you’ve never been to a performing arts center, you may have some questions regarding your visit. In this blog post, we hope to provide some clarification so all you have to do is enjoy the performance.

How to Get to the Performing Arts Center

From Interstate 580, take the North Livermore Avenue exit and continue about a mile to downtown Livermore. Then take a left onto Railroad Avenue. LVPAC parking is located one block ahead on your left. Whether you choose the main parking area or street parking surrounding the theater downtown, you don’t have to pay a dime. The Bankhead Theater is located on the block to your right, between First Street, Railroad Avenue, and North Livermore Avenue. For your convenience, there is a drop-off/pick-up area located on Railroad prior to you reaching the stop light to enter the parking garage. Please click here for additional details on public transportation directions.

Accessibility

Please call our Ticket Office in advance for wheelchair accessible seating. Note that these seats cannot be purchased online. There is a wheelchair accessible drop-off/pick-up area located on Railroad Avenue before you reach the stoplight to enter the garage. We do have an elevator in the main lobby, as well as fully accessible restrooms in the main and upper lobby. We also have assistive listening devices available free of charge.

House Rules

LVPAC follows a strict rule of no food or beverages in the auditorium. Patrons who take photos, video, or record sound of the performance will be asked to leave. Prior to all events, the audience will be asked to silence all phones and wireless devices.

Children

We proudly welcome entire families, not just adults, to take in our performances. That said, children under the age of two are not allowed for most LVPAC events. We ask that patrons with small children be courteous to other guests in order for everyone to fully enjoy the performance.

Concessions

We offer a full-service concessions area located in the Garden Courtyard Foyer on the east side of the theater lobby. Enjoy desserts, coffee, tea, juices, soft drinks, beer, and, of course, award-winning Livermore Valley wines. Feel free to sit in the Madden Family Courtyard where patrons can find tables and chairs, in addition to the relaxing water wall and garden paintings.  

What to Do in Livermore

Seeing the arts isn’t the only thing to do in Livermore. Take advantage of incredible shopping, live entertainment, and outdoor activities. The Livermore Area Recreation and Park District offers hiking trails, weekend program, skateboarding, bicycling, dog parks, and much more. Plus, if you haven’t already heard, Livermore Valley is unbelievable wine country. Here are just some of the wineries you can check out during your visit:

  • 3 Steves Winery
  • Bent Creek Winery
  • Crooked Vine
  • Leisure Street Winery
  • Nottingham Cellars
  • The Steven Kent Winery
  • Wood Family Vineyards

When you’re ready to settle down for a nice dinner, you and your family will have quite the selection to choose from. The Livermore Valley attracts visitors from all over the world, so you’ll have plenty of fantastic dining choices. A number of destinations even provide live entertainment and patio seating to ensure the perfect visit.

As far as accommodations are concerned, we encourage you to make a week or weekend of your visit to the Livermore Valley. Visitors can choose from a room nestled in an Olive Orchard or a standard drop-in spot with full service.

With whatever you choose to do, just know that you will have a memorable time in beautiful Livermore Valley!

Book Your Tickets Today

Whether it’s live music, theater, or something completely different, there’s no question that the performances at LVPAC are first-class. As we continue to grow, our mission remains the same: to offer a broad range of arts opportunities and experiences to engage our diverse community.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any other questions you may have regarding your visit.

Become a Member Today!

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Whether this is your first time here or you’re a regular attendee, you’ll find that the Bankhead Theater is more than just a performance venue. This is the place to gather with friends, enjoy curated art exhibits, discover entertainment from around the globe, and share a love for the arts with others. Our goal is to provide a wealth of varied arts experiences for everyone in the Tri-Valley community and beyond.

The Benefits of Membership

As a member, your donations directly support our efforts in every way. The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit. We are not owned or operated by the city, so we do not receive ongoing local government support. Many people don’t realize that our ticket sales at the Bankhead cover only a portion of artist fees and production costs.  As a non-profit, we are dependent on the generosity of our members. Your membership not only helps bring quality entertainment to the Bankhead, it also supports arts education outreach to local schools and across our diverse community. Just last year, nearly 11,000 students benefited from more than 30 master classes, concerts, and assemblies provided by our artists and resident companies. Membership also helps provide local artists with affordable classroom and studio space at the Bothwell Arts Center.

With a variety of incredible performances scheduled for the fall and winter, there’s no better time to discover all that we have to offer than right now. In addition to knowing that they have made a difference in the arts, members also receive benefits such as a 10 percent ticket discount to LVPAC Presents shows all year long. Members will enjoy early notification of new shows, priority ticket purchase, as well as exclusive member events and access to the VIP room at higher levels.

Matching Gifts

Please help us bridge the financial gap not covered by ticket sales with an investment in LVPAC. Thanks to the combination of tax-deductible gifts from foundations, corporations, and individuals like you, we can continue to bring high-quality products and education programs to the entire community. One way to increase the impact of your donation is to have your employer match it. There are plenty of companies out there that will double or triple individual tax-deductible contributions made by their employees. These Matching Gifts programs may also be available to retired employees and to the spouse/widow/widower of employees. For additional information about Matching Gifts and how they work, talk with your human resource department.  

Legacy Giving

Some donors choose to leave a legacy gift to the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center in support of our efforts to share the arts in the community. If you would be interested in making such a gift to benefit future generations, please contact our development office at (925) 583-2304

Learn About Our Performing Arts Center

Bankhead Theater

The intimate 507-seat venue is an acoustic jewel, located in the center of our downtown arts community. For more than a decade, the Bankhead Theater has welcomed a wide range of artists and audiences, bringing them together to share the rich experience of live performance. What makes the Bankhead such a jewel? It offers a rich environment for growth on both sides of the footlights, artists of all genres have commented on its unmatched acoustics and the pleasure of performing within its intimate walls. As a member, enjoy the wonder of the Bankhead on a regular basis.

Our development staff is dedicated to providing members with personal customer service and to help fulfill your charitable goals. Give our development team a call at (925) 583-2305 or join online at www.lvpac.org/support-us/.

Upcoming Theater, Live Music at Our Center for Performing Arts

As mentioned above, there isn’t a better time than now to become a LVPAC member. Here are just a few of the upcoming theater and live music performances to look forward to:

October

  • Tom Rush – Friday, October 6
  • Los Lonely Boys – Friday, October 13 — SOLD OUT
  • Joan Osborne – Friday, October 27

November

  • African Guitar Summit – Thursday, November 2
  • OK GO – Friday, November 3 — SOLD OUT
  • Manhattan Transfer – Saturday, November 11
  • Kingston Trio – Friday, November 17

December  

  • Late Night Catechism “Sister’s Christmas Catechism” – Friday, December 1
  • The Hot Sardines – Monday, December 11
  • An Irish Christmas – Thursday, December 21
  • Olate Dogs – Saturday, December 23
  • New Year’s Eve at the Bankhead – Sunday, January 31

Start enjoying the arts the way you’ve always wanted! Become a member today.

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.

Event Preview: The Lettermen

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When The Lettermen take the stage, it’s a trip down memory lane to a time when three young men in letter sweaters watched their first hit single “The Way You Look Tonight” soar to the top of the charts. For years, fans have taken in their more than 50 albums with popular tunes such as “When I Fall in Love” and “Put Your Head on my Shoulder.” The group has been creating musical memories for more than five decades, as their sweet harmonies and smooth, romantic sound simply never go out of style. The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is excited to announce an upcoming Friday night event from a group once described as “best thing that happened to romance since moonlight.”

Non-stop Harmony for 50 Years

There’s just something about the sound of The Lettermen that has enabled them to enjoy generational success. The group, comprised of Tony Butala, Donovan Tea, and Bobby Poynton, has sold out more than 10,000 shows, including international tours to Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, France, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia. As you can note on their official website, “the music of these entertainers transcends all language barriers as it romances the soul, and warms the hearts of millions.”  They have a particularly loyal fan following in the Philippines, where audiences appreciate their smooth style. Such Tagalog favorites as “Dahil Sa Iyo” and “Sapagka’t Kami Ay Tao Lamang” have earned them a place in Filipino hearts worldwide.

In the 1960’s, the original singers of the group quickly became one of the top college concert attractions. From Percy Faith’s “Theme from a Summer Place” and Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” to “Our Winter Love” and “Graduation Day,” The Lettermen were constantly winning over audiences with incredible love songs. In 1966, the group came out with “For Christmas This Year,” a love album that remains popular during the holidays. The next year, The Lettermen put together arguably their most loved and request hit: “Goin’ Out of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”

Though the group has seen some change over the years, their music has remained much of the same. Even now, The Lettermen continue to release albums and perform hundreds of concerts each year while traveling around the world. It’s safe to say that their beautiful harmony has withstood the test of time.

The Current Members

Today, The Lettermen consist of the following:

  • Tony Butala – As the group’s original and founding member, Butala remains the most recognized name of the bunch. He also opened the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Museum in his hometown of Sharon, Pennsylvania.
  • Donovan Tea – The accomplished singer and songwriter from Houston joined the group in 1984. Prior to joining the group, he served as lead singer of The Young Americans, soloist at “The Horn” nightclub in Los Angeles, and solo production singer at The Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas.     
  • Bobby Poynton – The third member of The Lettermen started out with acting parts on shows such as “Days of Our Lives,” “Jake and the Fatman,” Walker: Texas Rangers,” and others. The music opportunity finally came for Poynton in 1988, when a well-known recording group sought an attractive male vocalist with a tenor voice. Before he knew it, Poynton was the newest member of The Lettermen. He recorded six albums with the group and performed in more than 1,000 concerts. After being away from the group for 15 years, Poynton returned to The Lettermen in 2011.

 There’s no doubt that these three men continue to wow audiences with the magic they create on stage.

The Bankhead Theater

Since 2007, the Bankhead has welcomed a wide range of artists and audiences, bringing them together to share the experience of live performance. From symphonies and ballet performances to opera shows and concerts, the Bankhead makes every event special. Rest assured that the extensive seating arrangement can accommodate nearly every patron’s tastes. The state-of-the-art facility was designed with extra attention geared toward acoustics. In fact, the Grammy Award-winning vocal group Chanticleer has praised the Bankhead for its “perfect” acoustics. It’s easy to see why so many artists seeking to make a career transformation choose to make the Bankhead a stop on tour.

The Performance

LVPAC is set to host The Lettermen Friday, July 21 at 8 p.m. in the Bankhead Theater. Tickets start at $40 with $16 tickets for students or active military personnel.

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