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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.

BUY TICKETS NOW

 

 

 

ArtWalk Coming Soon!

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ArtWalk is Livermore’s Gallery District for a Day. Over 200 artists display their works on sidewalks and plazas, in parks and galleries, surrounded by boutique shops, wine tasting rooms and restaurants in historic downtown Livermore. Art works range from contemporary to classical, abstract to realism, pottery to mixed media,handmade bags, ceramic garden art and jewelry, with subject matter from floral to figurative and much more.

Live music will be at all the parks this year. The Bankhead Plaza will have cultural arts groups performing between 12 and 4 pm.  Groups such as Cheza Nami and a Native American group will be on stage. Livermorium Park will host the Livermore Cultural Arts Council booth by the arbor. Live music will be drawing you to explore the artists booth in that park. And Lizzie Fountain will be jamming with steel drummer Shawn Thwaite.

This year take a piece of ArtWalk home with you! Beginning in mid-September, there will be 15 eye-catching banners, original works of art hanging on display poles throughout downtown Livermore. Painted by well-known local artists, the banners will feature an array of subjects and themes, expressed in a variety of artistic styles. All banners will be 30 inches wide and 60 inches long and created using high quality acrylics, then sealed with UV protectant clear sealant for maximum durability. These one-of-akind colorful works of art are perfect for indoor or outdoor use and will be enjoyed for years to come. The banners will be auctioned and all proceeds will benefit the Bothwell Arts Center. Bidding through EBay will open as soon as the banners are installed and will close on October 16 after ArtWalk. To see a map of banner locations, and for instructions on how to bid, visit www.bothwell.lvpac.org.

Make a Bid on Your Favorite Banner

Five for Fighting with String Quartet

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JUST BOOKED

Backed by a string quartet, Five for Fighting will be at the Bankhead on Thursday, January 25!

MEMBER PRESALE ONLY UNTIL OCTOBER 9

 

Never has the phrase “he shoots, he scores” been more applicable than when mentioning rabid hockey fan and chart-topping singer/songwriter John Ondrasik. The Los Angeles native, who goes by Five for Fighting (a five-minute penalty for on-the-ice fisticuffs), burst on the scene some 15 years ago with his Grammy Award-nominated hit “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” and has been a mainstay on mainstream radio ever since. While he doesn’t wear tights and fight crime as his breakthrough track “Superman” suggests, his songs could bring any maniacal villain to their knees (and tears) with his poignantly sharp songs that cut deeper than a Ginsu knife.

Ondrasik signed his first deal in 1997 with “Message For Albert,” but it was his follow-up “American Town” that really took flight for Fighting. The aforementioned “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” went Platinum (as did the album), was #1 on Adult Top 40, #2 on Hot AC, and in the Top 40 Top 10. The song actually hit the airwaves, and reached #1 the same week his daughter Olivia was born. Not too shabby as Adam Sandler once said. Adding more fuel to the emotional fire, the mega-hit served as sort of an unofficial anthem following the 9.11 attacks on American soil. Naturally, he performed it at The Concert For New York City.

In his career, Ondrasik has sold over 2.5 million albums including 2004’s “Battle for Everything,” which spawned the 2X platinum “100 Years,” which continues to melt hearts, provide all ages with an instant case of nostalgia. Other hits have included “The Riddle,” “World,” “Chances” and “What If.” His music has been featured in 350 films, TV shows and advertisements ranging from the “The Blind Side” to “Hawaii Five-O.” He has also written tunes for everyone from Josh Groban to The Backstreet Boys.

Yet, there’s more to Ondrasik than the music and it’s far more important to him and countless others. “Music is the great healer as well as being a unique vehicle in raising awareness and funds for important causes,” he explains. Ondrasik has given away a million copies of a five-volume compilation album (featuring himself and other artists) he created for United States troops. He has also performed regularly for the USO.

Additionally, www.whatkindofworlddoyouwant.com was created off of his song “World,” in which fans uploaded videos showing their respective interpretations of a better world. That initiative raised more than $250,000 for five designated charities: Augie’s Quest, Autism Speaks, Fisher House Foundation, Save the Children and Operation Homefront.

Ondrasik is a featured speaker from Ted Talks to the Salk Institute. He’s also presented at various private and corporate events. He’s also graced The Kennedy Center stage, performed for world leaders and presidents, and contributed special performance for NASA to commemorate the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Mission.

When not writing killer tunes, Ondrasik is putting pen to paper for his other passion: sports. The avid Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings fan has been a sports commentator for SI.com, the Kings, and a guest on everything from Jim Rome to ESPN SportsCenter, the latter of which he became the first “band” to appear and perform.

“I recognize the immature shallowness of the adult sports fan obsession, but I’ve always had it. Lakers as a kid, UCLA, Kings etc…Many folks use music as their escape, I imagine sports as mine. Writing is a kick as I’ve always had a fantasy to be a sports reporter/writer,” he says gleefully.

As he explores the possibility of a Broadway show featuring his tunes, he’s currently on the road (not literally) performing songs as a quartet (Five for Fighting literally) and with symphonies around the country. “The symphony and quartet shows have been fantastic,” he said. “I’ve had the honor of working with some world class arrangers in my career. To present the more ambitious songs, as well as the popular tunes, in this format has refueled my passion for performing.”

…And making new music. Ondrasik’s “What If” hit the Hot AC charts and was chosen by Richard Branson (sorry, Sir Richard Branson) as the soundtrack for his non-profit Virgin Unite. And his most recent song “All for One” was penned for the 100th episode of Hawaii Five-O. Ondrasik is currently working on the follow-up to his sixth album, “Bookmarks.”

Looking ahead while looking back, the one-man Fighting army, said, “I have been blessed to have loving and supportive parents, an amazing wife and partner, and two great kids. Family is crucial to any career, keeps the ups and downs, down and up.”

Don’t miss this unique performance in the intimate Bankhead Theater!
Members log in here to buy now. 
Tickets go on sale to the public October 9th.

Celebrate Native American Culture

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In 1968, the fourth Friday in September was designated Native American Day in California by Governor Ronald Reagan. This year it will be celebrated at the Bankhead with two events.

September 21

Widely acknowledged to be the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute, R. Carlos Nakai will offer a single performance at the Bankhead Theater on Thursday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m. Nakai’s music showcases the wood flute’s lovely, sophisticated sound and shows its versatility across the spectrum of musical genres. Combined with the vibrant tones of William Eaton’s ambient, lyraharp guitar, and the subtle pulse of Will Clipman’s world beat percussion, Nakai offers music that has been described as “a vast panorama of moods, from plaintive laments to soaring joy.” Tickets are just $30 with $17 tickets for students and active military personnel.

Earlier in the day, Nakai will also offer an educational outreach workshop for students in fourth grade and up from the Livermore Valley Unified School District sharing his passion for the instruments, music and traditions of the Native American culture.

September 22

The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center with support from the Western States Arts Federation will host its second annual Native American Day on the plaza outside the Bankhead theater from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.  The family friendly event for all ages, offered in collaboration with Livermore’s American Indian Center led by director Mary Puthoff, will include demonstrations of tipi building, dancing and singing, as well as artifacts, crafts and food.

READ about Mary Puthoff and Livermore’s American Indian Center in the East Bay Times.
HEAR R. Carlos Nakai’s hauntingly beautiful wood flute music.
 BUY TICKETS to see R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton and Will Clipman on September 21st at 7:30 pm.

JOIN US IN CELEBRATING NATIVE AMERICAN DAY!

 

A Brilliant Night!

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The Bankhead Theater launched the 11th Season of the LVPAC Presents series with the second annual “Brilliance at the Bankhead” Gala featuring the Grammy Award-Winning Indigo Girls accompanied by our own resident company, the Livermore-Amador Symphony conducted by Music Director Lara Webber.

The festive night began with a sumptuous reception on the plaza with delicious food and wine catered by Wente and filled with the music of the East Bay Jazz High School All Stars. A raffle for a lovely pair of 14K white gold halo design diamond earrings crafted by Lance Cavalieri Jewelers, live and silent auctions for items from unique dining and travel experiences to sports and concert tickets, energized the crowd before the Indigo Girls and the symphony filled the night with unforgettable music.

The biggest fundraiser of the year for the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, the Gala event raised more than $300,000 to help support the Bankhead Theater and Bothwell Arts Center, including $37,000 for the Arts in Education Fund.

Every year, the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center presents and produces over 250 arts events and activities, and engages with more than 10,000 students and adult learners through the Arts in Education programs.  We are so thankful for the support and generosity from our “Brilliant” community who help make it all possible!

Did you miss the event?  Watch the video shown at the event and see how the “Arts are Amplified” in the Tri Valley here.  Check out the photos from the evening taken by photographer Robert Suguitan here.  And read about the Gala in the East Bay Times here.

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR 2017 GALA SPONSORS!

 

Joan Osborne Interview

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Joan Osborne Sings “Songs of Bob Dylan”
at the Bankhead … with Will Champlin

In an interview with RIFF Magazine, Joan Osborne talks about the road that led to her most recent album, “Songs of Bob Dylan” and where that road might lead her next.  Osborne has always covered others’ songs, including Dylans’, and has been slowly evolving an interest in singing modern day “standards” starting with his legendary catalog. “I’ve sung his songs in the past and felt a real affinity for them,” Osborne said. “Partly [it’s] because I’ve sung with him a handful of times. And also, because he’s got so many amazing songs that you’re never going to run out of options.” Read the whole article HERE.“Songs of Bob Dylan” was released on September 1st.

Joan Osborne makes a stop at the intimate Bankhead Theater on her “Songs of Bob Dylan” tour on Friday evening, October 27. Opening for her will be singer/songwriter Will Champlin, best known as a top three winner in season five of television’s “The Voice,” whose song co-writer credits include “Wolves” from One Direction’s “Made in the AM” album. For more information on Joan Osborne and Will Champlin, see the event page here.

Don’t miss hearing Joan Osborne’s take on such Bob Dylan favorites as
“Tangled Up In Blue,” “Dark Eyes” and more
BUY TICKETS NOW

 

 

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

 

 

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: 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.

Keep up on social media

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