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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
- Tom Rush – Friday, October 6
- Los Lonely Boys – Friday, October 13 — SOLD OUT
- Joan Osborne – Friday, October 27
- African Guitar Summit – Thursday, November 2
- OK GO – Friday, November 3 — SOLD OUT
- Manhattan Transfer – Saturday, November 11
- Kingston Trio – Friday, November 17
- 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.
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
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.
Music, Activities for Children and More!
The magical sound of steel drums will revitalize students and their parents in a free back-to-school event at the Bankhead Theater on August 11th. Held on the last Friday before the 2017-2018 school year begins for students in the Tri-Valley, the final celebration of the summer will feature a performance on the steel drums by Shawn Thwaites inside the Bankhead lobby.
A Trinidadian-American musician and educator from Washington D.C., Thwaites is an innovator in the music of the steel drum creating a distinct sound that intertwines jazz, hip-hop, funk, calypso, reggae and more. He has performed at the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., as well as numerous other prestigious venues and is the founder of the Shawn Thwaites Rebel Quartet.
In addition to Thwaites’ performance, there will be other activities for children and stations with information about local educational programs. Free ice cream treats will be served. The back-to-school event is sponsored by Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center.
The weekly “Evenings on the Green,” held outside the Bankhead Theater, will take on a “Summer of Lovermore” theme on August 8, 2017 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. on the plaza, artisans will display their work and a free community “Paint In” will be facilitated by artist Jasmine Partida. Everyone is welcome to participate in the “Paint In” group mural to be painted on site or take part in the creation of giant chalk paintings of “love-in” flowers and other fun activities. “Summer of Lovermore” logo t-shirts provided by Goza Gear will be on sale during the event for $25. A portion of the t-shirt proceeds will go to support the Bothwell Arts Center.
The free concert on the Shea Homes Stage in the plaza will begin at 6:45 p.m. with the return of Lunafish, a popular San Francisco-based band who deliver a lively mix of psychedelic rock and roll from the 1960s, 1970s and beyond.
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.
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.
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)
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 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.
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.
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
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.