Interview: Joan Osborne

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In a compelling new interview with writer Lou Fancher of the East Bay Timessinger/songwriter Joan Osborne explains what inspires her about Bob Dylan’s music and how it expands her perspective and influences her music. 

“When you’re doing any covering of other people’s material, your job is to bring out something that hasn’t been discovered yet. When you have an artist of the depth and richness of Bob Dylan, you tend to go to emotional terrains that you haven’t gone to in your own work,” she said.

Because she “cut her teeth” as a singer in part by performing from early on Dylan’s folk-based, American idiom-filled work, Osborne didn’t actually discover new technical aspects to her voice while working on the project. But with years of singing, the 55-year-old says a deep richness and new textures she calls “seasoning” have appeared.

An exceptional songwriter herself, Osborne’s take on Dylan’s songs become a rich collaboration. 

Because her voice and Dylan’s are worlds apart, Osborne never pursued imitation while adapting the songs. “The point was to take the song, divorce it from Dylan’s interpretation, view it as chord progressions, the melody, the lyrics, and do it again from scratch. In that way, it really was about finding the material I loved and connecting that with my voice in a way that the song and my voice blossom.”

——> Read the rest of Lou Fancher’s interview with Joan Osborne here

Then buy tickets to hear Joan’s take on Dylan’s songs in the intimate setting of Livermore’s Bankhead Theater.

Joan Osborne sings Songs of Bob Dylan

Opening Act: Will Champlin

Friday, October 27 at 8 p.m.





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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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!



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

An Interview with Songwriter JD Souther

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Writer Lou Fancher beautifully captures the heart of JD Souther’s songwriting genius in a fresh new interview for East Bay Times:

” The world’s best singer-songwriters appreciate time.

Not simply meter, syllables stretched over notes, tempo and other clock-keeper aspects of music, but the passage of time that mellows a tenor’s voice into ease and broader dynamic range.

Musical phrases and tunes pondered during a sunrise or contemplated while hiking may come together begrudgingly or spill out in a gush on occasions when the usual gear-grinding process flips and lyrics and melodies pour out like a river unleashed.

Riding that wave and a long roster of hits, JD Souther will bring his expressive music infused with pop, jazz, country rock and the Great American Songbook to the Bankhead Theater on Aug. 5. The intimate evening with Texas-raised Souther will feature selections from his new studio album, “Tenderness.” Rounding out the possible setlist, popular songs may include the title track of his 1979 album, “You’re Only Lonely,” a solo version of the 1984 duet recorded with James Taylor, “Her Town Too,” or numerous songs written for or performed by The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker, Roy Orbison, Trisha Yearwood, the Dixie Chicks and others.”

On the topic of his latest album “Tenderness,” Fancher writes:

“Tenderness,” he said, has a more cinematic sound than previous recordings. Inspired by Cole Porter and George Gershwin and joined on the CD by a top-tier band (pianist Chris Walters, saxophonist Jeff Coffin, trumpeter Till Brönner, pianist Billy Childs, vocalist LIzz Wright), Souther’s guitar and vocals get to expand.

“The orchestrations are beautiful, the players astonishing,” he said. “It’s the album I intended, conceived in one time period for this one album.”

In fact, Souther would have made a film, had millions of dollars been handy. Listening to the lyrics on “Tenderness,” a narrative forms, with the final track, “All Your Wishes,” serving as an epilogue. LIke a miniature almost-opera, grand themes told in simple, conversational language beg only for movement, costumes, sets and lighting.”

——> Read the rest of Lou Fancher’s fascinating interview with Songwriters Hall of Famer JD Souther here

Then buy tickets to hear him sing his songs in the intimate setting of Livermore’s Bankhead Theater.

JD Souther in Concert

One Night Only!

Saturday, August 5 at 8 p.m.






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For artists, performing on stage is often just one aspect of their love for music and the arts. Many who have appeared at the Bankhead also seek to share their passion and skills with others. Last season, Diavolo|Architecture in Motion, Julie Fowlis, Run Boy Run, Rhythmic Circus and others all welcomed students eager to learn about their work.

On August 4th, Derik, Riana and Dalten Nelson will take the stage with the pure three-part-harmonies only siblings can deliver, offering creative vocal arrangements as well suited to popular jazz standards from the 40s and 50s, and pop/rock hits of the 60s and 70s, as to the chart-topping hits of today. Their jazz and folk-infused sound, combined with stunning video displays, promise audiences an exciting concert. But their show is just one portion of their time in Livermore. The Nelsons are also leading a singer/songwriter performance intensive for students from middle school to early college age the week prior to the show.

The intensive aligns with their 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.

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. 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.


Derik Nelson & Family’s concert features pristine sound, a state of the art light show, and an integrated 20-foot video display. Derik’s interactive “clones” are featured throughout the show on the five screen video “wall.” The multiple “Derik clones” play many different instruments as a “virtual band.” This innovative technical marvel designed by Dalten uses the latest in audio/video technology to take audiences on an aural and visual journey through time, space, an impressive array of landscapes, weather conditions, and musical “settings.”

Listeners will be impressed with the perfectly blended three-part-harmony vocals, in addition to Derik’s thoughtful arrangements of cover songs from a variety of genres, styles, and eras. These genuinely kind, charming, and talented siblings have a bond that’s palpable, both on stage and off. Audiences of every age are sure to be mesmerized from the opening to the dazzling finish. WATCH a video preview of the Nelson’s music.


All seats $30.  Students/Active Military Personnel $16.



The week-long intensive with the Nelson’s runs from 10:00am to 4:00pm, July 31 to August 4. Students with a strong interest, talent and passion for music will be able to take their skills to the next level. The week will include a mix of demonstration, small group work, and one-on-one coaching in songwriting and vocal techniques, stage performance, harmonizing, collaboration, composition, and more. Students will write a song and perform it in a showcase for family and friends on the final day.

Playing a musical instrument is not required, say the Nelsons, just “a willingness to collaborate, write lyrics, think outside the box, and improve and challenge themselves during the week.” The intensive, underwritten in part by the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center’s Education Fund, costs $300. Some scholarships are available. For registration contact Kiran Guleria at 925.583.2321


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.

singer, songwriter, producer, audio engineer

Lead guitarist on TV’s “Glee” for four years. Singing voice heard on FOX’s “Raising Hope” and “New Girl,” CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother,” and NBC’s “Go On” and “The Voice.” Bachelor of Science from University of Southern California, where he helped to shape the curriculum that became the Popular Music Degree program. Derik was awarded the Brian Wilson Music Scholarship for songwriting, and received first place in the Indie International Songwriting Competition for his original song, “The Way It’s Gonna Go.”

singer, press, management

Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan. Casting Associate for FOX’s “Empire.” Onscreen vocalist for Renee Zellweger’s pilot “Cinnamon Girl.” Lead vocalist for Princess Cruises. Managed summer program for Disney in China teaching children 5-7 years old. Riana serves on the Board of Directors at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia, WA. Marketing, social media, painting, calligraphy, and empowering young women are her passions in addition to singing.

singer, video/light/tech designer

Attended Arizona State University with an extensive musical theatre background. Appeared on several episodes of television’s “Glee.” Conceptualized, designed, filmed, edited, & executed over 150 separate videos in perfect sync, to create visual “immersion” to the musical experience.





2018 Bankhead Season
Remaining Events

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Fri Mar 16 at 8pm  Danú from $40

Thu Mar 22 at 7:30pm  Aquila Theatre: Sense and Sensibility from $40

Sun Mar 25 at 3pm  Catapult from $40

Fri Apr 6 at 8pm  Lisa Loeb from $40

Sun Apr 8 at 3pm  A Tribute to Sinatra & Dorsey  from $40

Sat Apr 21 at 8pm  Classic Albums Live: Led Zeppelin II from $40

Thu May 3 at 7:30pm Richard Marx from $40 SELLING FAST!

Fri May 4 at 8pm  Mariachi Sol de Mexico  from $40

Sun May 6 at 5pm  The Capitol Steps from $40  SELLING FAST!

Fri May 11 at 8pm The Best of SF Comedy Competition all seats $30

Sat May 12 at 8pm  Dancing with the Tri-Valley Stars  from $30

Sat May 19 at 8pm  BODYTRAFFIC from $40

STAY TUNED! The shows in the summer season at the Bankhead will be announced soon…


Why You Should Become an LVPAC Member

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Have you ever considered an annual membership at the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center? Maybe you attended a production over the holidays that you just loved, or maybe you enjoyed a concert or opera on date night. In whatever way you fell in love with LVPAC, we want to invite you to become a member. Most folks don’t realize that ticket sales cover just a portion of the cost to run our performing arts center. It’s why we rely on tax-deductible gifts from foundations, corporations, and individuals to help us bridge the gap.

When you invest in LVPAC, you not only invest in the highest quality of entertainment and productions but also in the heart of a vibrant cultural arts community. Not to mention, those gifts enable us to expand our education programs to the entire community. LVPAC is quick to recognize those who provide their support, as we offer a variety of benefits ranging from discounted tickets to exclusive invitations to special events with artists and staff.

LVPAC 2017-18 Season Launch Members Party

Should you become an LVPAC member, be sure to make room on your calendar for the 2017-18 LVPAC Presents Season Announcement Party. The evening consists of a reception in the lobby with light appetizers and wine, followed by a program in the theater. Guests who attend will be the first to receive the full season program and will have the chance to purchase tickets for any of the shows following the conclusion of the program. As a bonus, we will also be giving away several great raffle prizes including passes to LVPAC Presents shows, wine packages, and tickets to see Hamilton in San Francisco.

Please be aware that the party is for members only. Become a member now and join us May 24 at 7 p.m. When you complete your donation information, you will see that the minimum contribution is $125 in order to be eligible for membership benefits. Take some time to consider where exactly you would like your gift to go. You have the option for it to go toward: The Greatest Need, LVPAC Education Fund, Student Ticket Fund, or Bothwell Arts Center.

Our Performing Arts Center Facilities

We are fortunate to have two incredible facilities for live music, entertainment shows, and more. See below for more on the Bothwell Arts Center and Bankhead Theater.


For more than a decade, the Bothwell Arts Center in Livermore has been an arts incubator, providing affordable and rentable classroom, rehearsal, performance, event, and studio rental space for artists, musicians, and other groups with a focus on the arts. From Sycamore Strings Academy and Livermore Amador Symphony to others, the Bothwell remains a popular spot for frequent renters. Check out the Bothwell for upcoming events and classes, or for information on rental space.


The Grammy Award-winning vocal group Chanticleer praised this venue for its “perfect” acoustics, making it the ideal place for artists wanting a transformation of their own. An intimate setting for the audience and artist alike, it’s easy to see what makes a production at the Bankhead a truly exceptional experience.

Start enjoying the benefits of an annual membership today. Sign up now.

Upcoming Events

Sun 18

Un Ballo In Maschera By Verdi

Sun, March 18 @ 2:00 pm
Organizer: Livermore Valley Opera
Sat 24

Austin Huntington

Sat, March 24 @ 8:00 pm
Organizer: Del Valle Fine Arts
Sun 25


Sun, March 25 @ 3:00 pm
Thu 29

Dr. Ben Santer

Thu, March 29 @ 7:30 pm

Call 925.373.6800 or email for tickets and information