Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Donald’s weekend picks

The Fresno Philharmonic delivers a feast of Beethoven this weekend. Guest artist is the career-on-fire Elena Urioste, who will play Beethoven’s violin concerto. Also on the program: the Coriolan Overture and the 3rd Symphony (“Eroica.”) I talk to Urioste and delve into the issue of the Fresno Philharmonic trying to expand its demographic reach in a big cover story in Friday’s 7 section. I’ve included an image of today’s cover — one of my favorites, thanks to a stunning photo. Concerts are 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 Sunday. [Details]

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Donald’s weekend picks

Besides attending our rescheduled Beehive Birthday Party, of course …

The artist is considered one of the founders of the social serigraphy movement in the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid-1960s. Arte Américas honors him in a new exhibition titled “Voice for the Voiceless” featuring silkscreen, charcoal and pastel works addressing the themes of injustice, empowerment and international struggle. Montaya, who grew up in the Valley, will be at Arte 2-5 p.m. Saturday for an artist’s reception and “homecoming celebration.”


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Larry Huck: a well-loved musician


Sad news for the Fresno music community this past week: Larry Huck, a former band director at Edison and McLane high schools and one of the founding members of the Fresno Community Concert Band, died last Friday. He was 80.

Huck, pictured above center, was one of the driving forces of the annual Tuba Christmas celebration held each year at Manchester Center mall.

The Bee’s Paula Lloyd had more about Huck’s career in a Wednesday story. From her story:

Former students and fellow musicians described Mr. Huck as a talented musician and teacher who both inspired and sought the best from his players.

“He had a huge shadow, and he cast it a long way, ” said Cathi Graves Tudman, a music teacher and piccolo player with the Fresno Philharmonic who was one of Mr. Huck’s students at McLane High School.

Visitation is 4-7 p.m. Thursday (today) at Lisle Funeral Home. Graveside service is 11 a.m. Friday at Clovis Cemetery. There will be a gathering 11 a.m. Monday at Fort Washington Golf and Country Club.

On the jump, I’m reprinting a 2008 interview I conducted with Huck about his 19th consecutive year of conducting Tuba Christmas.

I know that as a music teacher, he had a big impact on countless students. If you’re one of them, leave a comment sharing a Larry Huck memory.

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For holiday and classical music, it’s a musical-marathon weekend


It happens every year at this time: The first two weekends of December are stuffed with concerts and performances from virtually every musical ensemble in town. I wonder sometimes if all these groups are chasing the same audience, but that’s just the way it is. All you can do if you’re into this kind of music is prepare for a busy couple of days.

I have three stories recapping your holiday and classical options in Friday’s 7 section. The lead story is a conversation between San Joaquin Chorale conductor Roy Klassen and accompanist Kevin Memley, who composed an original piece for the ensemble’s Christmas concert.

If you’re looking for holiday-related concerts, my roundup lists five options:

  • The Fresno Choral Artists join with the Porterville College Choir for two full-scale performances of Handel’s “Messiah” with orchestra and soloists.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, a woman’s chorale, performs Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols.”
  • The Fresno Community Concert Band performs “A Most Wonderful Christmas.”
  • Musica Viva performs its annual Baroque Christmas program.
  • The Fresno State music department choirs present “Home for the Holidays.”

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The Beehive Interview: Vicki Shaghoian

Vicki Shaghoian has performed in a lot of famous venues over the years, from Avery Fisher Hall in New York City to San Francisco Opera. But none will likely have as much impact on Shaghoian as performing at the Shaghoian Concert Hall.

She’s appearing with the Fresno Community Concert Band in a 3 p.m. Sunday concert titled “Resplendent Glory.” I wrote about the basics of the concert in Friday’s 7 section. Here’s an extended interview I conducted via email with Shaghoian.

Question: Let’s talk first about your program at the concert. What can you tell us about the three pieces by Strauss?

Answer: Richard Strauss is one of my favorite composers of the romantic period. The pieces are rich in poetic and musical texture – you simply have to honor the relationship of the music to the text, believe what you are saying and let the music do the rest.

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Win tickets to ‘Resplendent Glory’ at the Shaghoian Concert Hall


This is sure to be a memorable performance. The Fresno Community Concert Band gets its turn for an inaugural concert 3 p.m. Sunday at the beautiful Shaghoian Concert Hall. I write about the performance in Friday’s 7 section, and I plan to post an in-depth interview with guest artist Vicki Shaghoian — the sister of Paul Shaghoian, the beloved Clovis Unified music teacher for whom the hall is named — tomorrow afternoon.

The concert is close to sold out, but I have two tickets to give away to a lucky Beehive reader. Just enter by leaving a comment on this post. (If you’re so inclined to mention a fondly remembered music teacher, or any teacher, in honor of Mr. Shaghoian, that could be sweet.) Deadline is 2 p.m. Friday. We’ll draw one winner at random and notify that person by email. So please leave a real e-mail address, and please check it Friday afternoon. You’ll be able to pick up your tickets at Will Call. You’re ineligible if you’ve won something in the past 30 days. Complete rules on the jump.

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Donald’s weekend picks

Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic comic operetta “The Pirates of Penzance” is good, goofy fun, and it’s worth it just for the chance to hear the uniformed guy sing “I am the very model of the modern Major General.” It’s also a great “first opera” for people who don’t know much about opera — it’s light, accessible and in English. I write about the show in Friday’s 7 cover story. It plays 8 p.m. tonight and 2 p.m. Sunday.


Bee photo / Craig Kohlruss

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Donald’s weekend picks

Nearly every performing ensemble in town has a concert of some sort this weekend — so to say it’s going to be a busy three days is putting it mildly. (Sometimes I wonder: Lots of the people you find in audiences for cultural events are themselves involved in performance ensembles — what if no one ends up in the audience because everyone is performing?) With that said, here are some picks. For more options, be sure to check out the roundup stories and listings in Friday’s issue of 7.

TThe 52-member chorale presents its annual Christmas concert featuring poetry set by director, Roy Klassen, “O Nata Lux” by Kevin Memley, a premier of “Ave Maria” by local composer, Dr. Royce Nickel, and arrangements of familiar carols. Performance information: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, First Congregational Church, 2131 N. Van Ness Blvd. $12 general admission, $8 seniors/students, available at door. (559) 453-2267.


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Donald’s weekend picks


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The Fresno Dance Collective, which organizers call NOCO, will offer the second in its series of Saturday morning performances at the Fresno Art Museum. “Games You Can Dance To” is a lecture/demonstration presentation that explores dance partnering, flying and game playing. The NOCO company will be joined by members of Fresno’s Blimprov, an improv theater group. Special gift bags will be handed out to all.

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday / Fresno Art Museum, 2233 N. First Street / (559) 441-4221 / $6

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Donald’s weekend picks

I’m chiming in with three more picks to add to Mike’s roundup of recommended weekend events: Fresno Grand Opera’s “Rigoletto,” Gallery 25′s “Screenings and Happenings,” and the Fresno Community Concert Band’s “Super Concert IV.” Here’s the rundown:



Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. at the Saroyan Theatre. Click here for my Spotlight column about the production.

Added bonus: In a pre-performance lecture, Fresno State music prof Anthony Radford will offer insights on the story, composer and historical background. He’ll speak at 7:05 p.m. Friday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday. His lecture is free with opera admission.

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