The Music Man JR features neighborhood actors at the 24th St. Theater

Peter Sunseri as Professor Harold Hill and Clara McNatt as Marion Paroo in the Young Actors Stage's production of “The Music Man.” / Photo by Jane Mikacich

Peter Sunseri as Professor Harold Hill and Clara McNatt as Marion Paroo in the Young Actors Stage's production of “The Music Man.” / Photo by Jane Mikacich

The Music Man JR, a toe tapping crowd-pleaser, is hitting the 24th St. Theater one weekend only, Aug. 8-10 with favorites, including, “Trouble,” “Goodnight My Someone,” “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Wells Fargo Wagon,” and “Gary Indiana.”

Excited to direct this classic, Liorah Singerman, the Artistic Director of Young Actors Stage, oversees almost 70 children divided into two casts. Included in this musical are many dance numbers, including a full cast tap dancing routine, choreographed by Singerman.

The Music Man JR is part of the Broadway Junior Collection adapted for family audiences. The music and lyrics are by Meredith Willson. The play is based on the timeless Broadway classic which was the winner of five Tony awards, including best musical. The play went on to be a successful award-winning movie, starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones. The story follows the fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band he vows to organize. The catch is he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef! His plans to skip town with the cash as foiled when he falls for Marian the librarian, whose belief in Harold’s powers just might help him succeed in the end.

Growing up studying acting at A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory in San Francisco, Singerman also received her BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University and studied in London and New York City with award-winning voice teachers and choreographers. She has a long list of stage credits and is a member of SAG-AFTRA. In 2008, she founded Young Actors Stage, which has brought full-scale musical theatre productions to Sacramento and to the local public and private schools, including Crocker-Riverside, Holy Spirit, Genevieve Didion, Sutterville, and many more.

The role of Professor Harold Hill is played by Adan Hensley and Peter Sunseri, The role of Marian Paroo is played by Clara McNatt and Ana Riley-Portal. All have a great deal of musical theater experience and are looking forward to the show.

The following budding actors provided the following statements for this Valley Community Newspapers article.

Peter Sunseri said, “I’m thrilled to be playing Harold Hill in another one of Liorah’s fantastic productions. Music Man has always been one of my favorite musicals.”

Ana Riley-Portal, an 8th grader at St. Francis Elementary school who plays Marian in one of the casts said the following about her involvement with the production: “It is very exciting to sing such beautiful songs written for a soprano in a classic musical like The Music Man!”

Describing her excitement for The Music Man JR, Ana Konovaloff, a 4th grader at Holy Spirit School who plays Amaryllis, Marian’s piano student, said: “I can’t wait for the show when the whole cast is on stage doing a tap routine together!”

Lastly, Rosie Sunseri said the following about her experience, “I am so excited to play Zaneeta, a lot of dancing, great choreography and such a great cast.”

Anna and Louisa McNatt are excited to be in a show with their big sister, Clara, who plays Marian in one of the casts. All three sisters attend Country Day School. Louisa says, “it is a lot of fun singing and dancing at the rehearsals” and says that “you get to show your personality on stage!”

The shows are at the 24th Street Theater, 2791 24th St., Friday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 9 at 1, 4, and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 10 at 1 and 4 p.m.; $10 adults; $7 children.

Matias Bombal’s Hollywood

The Immigrant- Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard

The Immigrant- Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard


The Immigrant (2014)

The MPAA has rated this R
The Weinstein Company, the distributor of “The Immigrant,” has not effectively booked this movie into theatres since it was released, and it is a big injustice to the cinema-going public, for this is nothing less than a masterpiece of movie craftsmanship. It has not opened at all in Sacramento, and I encourage you to ask your nearest theatre to bring it.

It is the best dramatic picture I’ve seen this year.

Set in 1921, a Polish immigrant arrives to Ellis Island with her sister with hope for the future after the Great War, were she had witnessed her parents massacred by soldiers. On the ship, her sister became ill in the squalor of steerage and was separated from her by the immigration authorities to be confined in the hospital on the island. With her family gone, her bond with her sister is vital. Remarkable and strong Ewa, played by Oscar winning actress Marion Cotillard, must find a way to find her sister and not be deported herself.

Ewa’s life changes at an encounter with Bruno Weiss (Joaquin Phoenix) who considers doing what he can for the lovely Polish girl. In a worn tenement area of the city we find that Bruno manages the girls in a burlesque theatre, who work in the world’s oldest profession as well.

He initially set Ewa apart, and as often happens in great drama, things go from bad to worse. Yet through it all, Ewa’s instinct to survive and reunite with her sister shows her inner strength in a majestic and powerful way.

She’s forced into a life of prostitution and develops a complex and volatile relationship with two men: Bruno, and his romantic cousin, Emil, who is also “Orlando the Magician,” played actor Jeremy Renner. Emil brings a ray of hope to the dingy world in which Ewa struggles on to survive. Joaquin Phoenix is absolutely remarkable here. Marion Cotillard transcends time and place.

As we have just celebrated our Independence Day, I find it poignant that this movie has, at its heart, the very contemporary issue of immigration to the United States seen through the eyes of another time. As distant as director James Gray makes 1921 look, these are many of the same issues facing those trying to hopefully reach the Unites States since its very founding.

This movie has captured the Ellis Island experience vividly and is beautifully mounted. The music is lush and appropriate, never intrusive, but highly melodic, both in Christopher Spelman’s original music, and the other well known orchestral pieces selected. Darius Khondji’s photography in wide screen has a sepia air about it with remarkable images that remain in my mind weeks later. The performances are exceptional and show us the zenith of what the acting craft should be.

You MUST experience “The Immigrant” in person on a big theatre screen. Director James Gray has made a masterpiece that you’ll not forget. Now, go find it!

Until next time, this is your pal, Matías Bombal, bidding you a fond farewell.

For more in-depth, complete reviews of these same movies and many more in theatres now, with scenes shown from the movie reviewed, you may see and hear “Matías Bombal’s Hollywood” at: www.mabhollywood.com. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: @MABHollywood

Artistic flow at the river’s edge


On a warm and Delta breezy evening, psychedelic colors illuminated the Sacramento River with their warmth and coolness, spinning out of control from the careful hands of two friends – Ryan and Nate.

Finding comfort in nature, they practice swinging these tethered weights, also known as poi, until the flow of the rhythmical patterns solidify into Celtic-shaped knots.

“It kind of just flows. You make a big circle, then a small circle, and a small circle, small circle, big circle. It’s like a pattern. So if you go at the right pace, it never really stops at any point. It’s Zen-like and a little bit mindless,” Ryan said.

Mindless, perhaps, but their minds are transfixed. The hardest part, Ryan said, is just letting go and allowing the tear-drop shaped, silicone vessels expose the programmable LED lights that changed from solid pinks and blues to rainbow and strobe.

While speaking about his progression into the art form known as flow, Ryan said: “I felt the more I let go and just let it happen, it feels more natural and it flows. I guess that’s why they call it flow because it flows out of you versus trying to manipulate it yourself.”

On another evening, Ryan was there spinning poi as his best friend hula hooped to the sound of waves crashing from the speed boats cruising up and down river.

With effortless control, the hula hoop traveled up and down her body, dancing around her arms, neck, chest and waist, as time seemed to stand still, and as the music of the night, reverberated through portable speakers connected an iPod.

Always interested in fire dancing, Ryan said he found poi through some sleuthing around on the internet. “I saw fire dancers doing it and I thought, ‘wow, that’s really cool. But how do you get to that point? You can’t just practice with fire.’ So I found a tutorial online that taught me how to make sock poi.”

Starting with old knee-high socks, Ryan filled them with rice to make a ball and twirled them around for about a week and a half, but that’s all it took. “I was just hooked; I couldn’t put it down. I thought this is something I could get into, so I just started to do some research.” About five or six months ago, Ryan found the website, www.flowtoys.com, where he said he bought his poi. “I had them for a good month and I was on the fence about it, but then I just fell in love with it, and I really haven’t stopped since.”

editor@valcomnews.com

Matías Bombal’s Hollywood

“Obvious Child”

The MPAA has rated this R
From A24 comes a small indie comedy, “Obvious Child”, with actress Jenny Slate as Donna Stern, a 20-something angst ridden young woman of exceptional quickness who, in similarity to Asperger Syndrome symptom behaviors, has an ongoing non-stop, self-focused monologue with no threshold, through the entire 84-minute feature. Donna is a stand-up comic of low humor of a very direct and picaresque nature. We first see her in a New York City comedy club making jokes about female body functions. Her boyfriend decides to break up and admits he’s been seeing someone else, which makes her even more maudlin and whiny to her friends, family and us in the audience.
This movie has the most contemporary sounding dialogue, which makes it hip for the moment, but will date this movie very quickly as popular catch phrases change in the vernacular.
She finds a nice man named Max (played by actor Jake Lacy) from the Midwest by chance one night, and takes him to bed, only to find that she is pregnant with his child shortly after. Ms. Slate is a very capable and bright actress, able to deliver fast dialogue, but I found her role without merit as written. She never seemed to care for anyone beyond herself. It’s hard to relate to an unlikable character, and without that concern or engagement from the viewer, you will likely dismiss what happens in the narrative. “Obvious Child” is a real stinkeroo!


“Earth To Echo”

The MPAA has rated this PG
Relativity Media offers a story of wonder for children of all ages and perhaps the E.T. of this generation of the smart phone, “Earth to Echo”. A bizarre series of smart phone transmissions are seen by a trio of boys in one neighborhood who have determined that they are a map leading them to adventure.
They cycle out to an area of the Nevada desert at night, and encounter a tiny projectile imbedded in the ground, which starts to beep. They try to figure out just what’s in it, and presto! It’s a cute little armored alien. The boys side with trying to assist the alien in the projectile and encounter all sorts of challenges from agents trying to track the little guy down to destroying him.
The photography is all from the perspective of the kids themselves though the medium of their electronic devices– the way most kids relate to each other in this modern age.
We see this story through Skype-like calls, small strap on cameras, glasses with cameras in them and more. Many of the shots are from the low angle of a kid’s perspective, or are from the handlebars on their BMX bikes. Anticipate the image on the screen to suddenly turn sideways when their bikes are set on the ground, or shaky quick movements in tandem with the rapid fire quick exchanges that are the way kids really talk.
The choice of the director, Dave Green, to have almost the entire story told through the eyes of the kids’ electronic devices is at first a neat idea, but becomes tiresome very quickly, and ultimately is distracting.
It’s like a kinder, gentler kid’s version of “The Blair Witch Project” with a cute alien instead of horror. The young actors are Reese Hartwig, Astro (He goes by just that one name.) and the fellow destined to become the next “tween” heartthrob, Teo Halm.
This is a delightful movie for everyone, in spite of the less than traditional cinematic photography.

Until next time, this is your pal, Matías Bombal, bidding you a fond farewell.
-For more in-depth, complete reviews of these same movies and many more in theatres now, with scenes shown from the movie reviewed, you may see and hear “Matías Bombal’s Hollywood” at: www.mabhollywood.com. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: @MABHollywood

Art of the Dumpster

Ten local artists, 10 dumpsters, 10 unexpected pieces of artwork – all on the east side of Power Inn Road as part of “Art of the Dumpster.” The exact address is 3101 Power Inn Road. For more information, call 453-8888.

Matias Bombal’s Hollywood

“22 Jump Street”
The MPAA has given this an R rating.
An adolescent laugh fest, “22 Jump Street”, stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill reprising their roles from the last “Jump Street” offering. From Sony, and in this case the odd mingling of M-G-M and Columbia Pictures, both Louis B. Mayer and Harry Cohn are likely rolling over each other in their graves at these two majors working together. This time the dense duo are going undercover at a college campus, and they find the usual college hi-jinks:
The football team, frat parties, “Bro” bonding and the inevitable break up and separation of the team only to be haply re-united by what used to be called the last reel. During this time, you’ll see fast chases, explosions, college frat humor and some funny, although raunchy moments.
Channing Tatum has perfected the meat-head type for comic value of recent, and he’s fun to watch, especially since we know he is sharper than that in real life.
Jonah Hill has yet to equal his magnificence in “Wolf of Wall Street”, a movie I did not care for, and he’s on board as a producer with Tatum for this picture.
A great movie this isn’t, but it will be a crowd pleaser on date night at the movies. The old saying, “save the best for last,” applies here… Stay through the credits for some fanciful fun at the pictures’ conclusion, should this be the type of movie comedy you prefer. It is directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

“Edge of Tomorrow”
The MPAA has rated this PG-13
From Warner Brothers, Tom Cruise returns amid a shower of Sci-Fi 3-D in “The Edge of Tomorrow” This visual effects smorgasbord could be best expressed in food terms that sound like 1950’s science fiction: Giant calamari fry Tom Cruise a la Déjà-Vu. The story follows the near future tale of a recurring day experienced by an army officer that is caused when he comes into fatal contact with one of the whirling calamari shaped aliens and/or other combat death scenarios. This process resets the story line, yet his character keeps the memory of what transpired the previous times, so he’s able to make better decisions and eventually get to know his enemy.
Emily Blunt plays Rita, as super female soldier that seem to have an inside track on how to conquer the aliens without getting killed, with much greater success than legions and legions of soldiers. Each day Tom dies, he gets to know her a little better. The two team up for the cause and take on the alien enemy with their gifts. This is strictly kid’s stuff, aimed at the Sci-fi or gamers crowd. Although the whole thing is a little too loud and ridiculous, the screenplay was based on a clever premise and story line by Hiroshi Sakurazaka in his book “All You Need is Kill.” Bill Paxton has some good moments as a drill sergeant. It’s loud and fun in 3-D, but will likely be forgotten in a year or two.

Until next time, this is your pal, Matías Bombal, bidding you a fond farewell.
-For more in-depth, complete reviews of these same movies and many more in theatres now, with scenes shown from the movie reviewed, you may see and hear “Matías Bombal’s Hollywood” at: www.mabhollywood.com. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: @MABHollywood

Artist Karen Haas to bring healing arts to the Arden area with upcoming workshops

Two-time cancer survivor Karen Haas uses collage as a therapeutic art form, which she will be introducing at upcoming workshops in the Arden area. Photo courtesy

Two-time cancer survivor Karen Haas uses collage as a therapeutic art form, which she will be introducing at upcoming workshops in the Arden area. Photo courtesy

In her healing journey and assisting thousands over the years through theirs, two-time cancer survivor, Karen Haas, expressive art has always been a valuable tool. Diagnosed more than 30 years ago with breast cancer, and more recently three years ago with ovarian cancer, Karen has found a technique called “SoulCollage” to be one of the least expensive art processes to bypass the limitations of her intellect.

“I can only think so far and so deep about my illness,” she told the Arden-Carmichael News. “Sometimes an illness is an opportunity to change our lives, renew passions that have slipped to the back burner, and revive parts of ourselves that have not had the encouragement to come forth,” she said.

Describing the process of SoulCollage, Karen said she uses found images out of magazines and marketing brochures. “With a pair of scissors, an exacto knife and a glue stick in hand, I’m now ready to all the soulful musings inside reveal themselves,” she said. Karen will be offering two Introductory SoulCollage workshops that will be held at the Bread of Life through their Spirit in the Arts program.

Since SoulCollage artists don’t start with a picture that they want to produce, instead they use images that already exist, Karen said, they don’t struggle with trying to “make something.” Rather, a new picture is created when you simply find and place images together that pull and draw you without thinking about what the outcome is going to look like. “It is a surprising and delightful experience to actually make a SoulCollage because it is so simple and gratifying,” she said. The next step one can do with their pieces of art is to “read” from the card, listening to its story. This story can take you into a deeper place inside yourself, accessing parts of you that are sometimes unknown. Each piece of art or, “card” as we call them, describes a part of the artist.

Explaining how SoulCollage is designed to be an intuitive process, Karen said when she discovered the art form, it combined two of her passions, creativity and her dedication to deep self-reflection and growth. With a bachelor’s of arts in fine arts and a master’s degree in counseling psychology, Karen’s schooling combined her creative processes with her spirit: an avid soul seeker who’s passionate about helping others.

Karen uses and teaches SoulCollage for anyone and everyone, and she said she especially likes sharing it with someone challenged to be as fully alive as they can, living with an illness. Two of her summer classes are for anyone, May 31 and Aug 9, and one of her classes is specifically for people with an illness or disability, June 28.

If you go:
What: Soul Revealed: An introduction to SoulCollage workshop
Where: Bread of Life, 650 El Camino Ave., Sacramento’s
When: May 31, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $45

What: The Art of Healing: Using SoulCollage for deep listening and healing
When: June 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Donations

Editor@valcomnews.com

Retrospective of the art of Thom Brommerich at Allied Ceramic Arts Institute

On May 17, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Allied Ceramic Arts Institute is honoring Thom Brommerich’s life and art with a gallery show featuring his fine art photography. While Brommerich was known for taking “bee’s eye view” photos of flowers and nature, his photography career spanned over 40 years. The show will take a retrospective look at Brommerich ’s art and will include photos from his years as a commercial photographer, as well as his more current fine art photography. Organizers are still working on how many pieces will be in the show. In addition to the photos, they will be showing a slide show. There will be smaller prints (11×14) available for sale, and there will be copies of the slide show for sale. Some photos have been “photoshopped,” some not.

Born in 1942, Brommerich passed away from after being sick earlier this year on Feb. 1. He graduated from Northlands High School in 1960 and was introduced to photography during his service in the U.S. Army, approximately between the years of 1964 and 1966. After his tour, he earned his degree in Fine Art at Sacramento City College in either 1974 or 1975, followed by attending courses at the now-closed Glen Fishback School of Photography. He started his professional career doing portraitures of women and went on to open a photography business with his wife where he photographed, as he put it, “everything from Titan missiles to water-saving toilets.”

“Photography is what he lived for. He was an artist in every sense of the word,” said his wife, Carol Brommerich who worked alongside him for many years, handling other aspects of the business.

Brommerich took pride in his artwork, and he would spend hours making sure each photo was perfect. He was particular about every aspect of his art, from taking the photo to the matting and frame. Every photo was important to him, and with every one he strived to meet his goal of showing people nature’s inner beauty. He would go to places like Capital Nursery on Sunrise and Madison and photograph the flowers and fauna.

Brommerich was active in the Sacramento art scene. His support of local galleries included a year as president of New ArtWorks Gallery. His photographs have shown in galleries around the Sacramento region, including Allied Ceramic Arts Institute, New ArtWorks Gallery and Blue Line Arts.

Brommerich also did multiple shows out at Blue Moon Gallery, which is located near El Camino and Ethan Way. He taught at Glen Fishback School of Photography for 10 years and made many lasting relationships with his students.

“Not only was Thom an amazing photographer, he was extremely supportive of local artists and arts organizations. Always encouraging, supportive and willing to share his wide experience,” said Dave Wilkerson, Director of Allied Ceramic Arts Institute.

Admission to the ACAI gallery is free. The gallery is open Wednesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m., and on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other times are available by appointment. Allied Ceramic Arts Institute is located at 7425 Winding Way, Fair Oaks. For more information, call 966-2453 or visit www.acaistudios.com.

Not your typical birdhouses

Tink Palmer proudly poses with one of his Hobbit Houses.

Tink Palmer proudly poses with one of his Hobbit Houses.

Eighty-year-old former Land Park resident Tink Palmer likes to “tinker around” in his garage in Natomas. It’s a wood-filled man-cave full of cool equipment and wood workings. He makes unique handcrafted Hobbit Houses out of Western Juniper. His garage smells like a cedar forest in Central Oregon. The scent would make a great car air freshener!
I learned about Tink through Maria Vargas at Panama Pottery on 24th Street. Tink sold some of his handcrafted Hobbit Houses to her. Tink is now gearing up for a show on June 14 at Panama Pottery. He’s also recently opened an online Etsy account, although he sells most of his Hobbit Houses through word of mouth.
Tink’s grandson Justin makes furniture out of the Western Juniper wood from Central Oregon and brings the scraps, or “tailings” as Tink calls them, over in his pickup truck and dumps them on the driveway. Then Tink improvises with the wood pieces and creates the eccentric looking little hobbit houses. Some pieces are smooth like butter and other pieces are rough with moss growing all over them. Each house looks different. If I were a bird, I’d like to make a nest in one of Tink’s Hobbit Houses.
One of Tink's unusual Hobbit Houses

One of Tink's unusual Hobbit Houses

He doesn’t have a pre-planned design for the little houses. The idea for the Hobbit Houses “comes right out of his head” his wife Nonie said. He used to build regular birdhouses but he got bored with it. He has a spinal disability and constructing the birdhouses allows him to sit and rest his back for hours at a time. He began building the Hobbit Houses a couple years ago.
Tink has been working with wood all of his life. He had a great mentor in Casa Grande, Arizona where he attended high school. It was his wood-shop teacher Lee Badillon. “Lee was a great guy,” he said. As a matter a fact, he not only taught Tink about woodworking, he also taught Tink how to fly. He got his pilot’s license in high school. “It was a lot of fun,” Tink said.
“My grandfather on my mother’s side was a carpenter who used to build houses so I guess that’s also where the interest came from,” he said. Tink definitely didn’t get the interest of woodwork from his father; Tink deadpanned, “The only nail my dad could hit was the one on his finger.”
I asked Tink where he got the nickname “Tink” and he told me, “My Grandfather nicknamed all the grand children and to this day they all go by their nicknames. It took me 75 years to get the S off the front of it.” I asked Nonie how many times he had told that joke, and she sort of gave out an exasperated sigh, lovingly, of course!
The houses are weird, odd and unusual. One of them looked like it had a slide for the birds to glide down. They make a great backyard decoration. They’re more decorative than they are a true birdhouse. Besides, who wants a bunch of pigeons pooping all over your beautifully hand-crafted hobbit house?
The unique-looking houses are selling like hotcakes! Some people even buy two. They’re really perfect as a gift for the hard-to-shop-for mother.
Tink is also the “Fix-it man for the neighborhood.” As his wife told me, Tink says, “it’s good for my ego.” He fixed a neighbor’s wooden giraffe she had shipped from Africa. All the legs were broken and he fixed them “good as new.” It was like a puzzle he had to put back together. He got a bottle of wine for his neighborly good deed.
Tink even made 30 birdhouses out of redwood and donated them to the Heritage Park neighborhood where they reside. He’s always got the garage door open while neighbors walk by with their dogs asking Tink, “What are you building?”
His Hobbit Houses are quite the conversation piece.
He’s also made cribbage boards, tic-tac-toe boards, candlestick holders, and memory boxes out of wood. On the bottom of each piece, he signs all of his work.
Tink and his wife Nonie lived in Land Park on 4th Avenue for 18 years. They both talked wistfully about the big home they shared together and how they love to revisit the neighborhood and have bubbling Mochete at Lalo’s on 24th Street and dessert at Vic’s Ice Cream in Land Park.
They’ll be back to their old stomping grounds when Tink Palmer showcases his Hobbit Houses at Panama Pottery on June 14. Stop by and get to know Tink, I know I did.
Tink Palmer is also having a show May 10 in Heritage Park where they reside in Natomas. He also recently opened an Etsy Store online at https://www.etsy.com/it/shop/HobbitBirdHouses

greg@valcomenws.com

Compose Yourself: Songwriting workshop at SCC set for Friday

“Compose Yourself” is a day-long journey into the heart and soul of songwriting with world-renowned composer and singer-songwriter Lourdes Pérez. This workshop will assist individuals with no prior experience writing lyrics or composing music to move through a process of writing songs.

Pérez will engage the participants in an animated process of gathering words, phrases and themes to be combined to create song lyrics. Participants will then be introduced to choosing various chord progressions, rhythms and the emotions these choices evoke. Using this method, melodies and rhythms will then be selected and applied to the lyrics. The small group uses this method to compose a collective song by the end of the morning, which then opens a window to imagine and create an individual song by the afternoon, with Pérez’s one-on-one guidance.

From traditional Spanish ballads to songs with modern, socially conscious themes, Pérez is a perfect fit for a workshop in the interdisciplinary program, as she mixes politics and art in a one-day workshop, which is open to the community at large.

In an interview with the Land Park News, event organizer, international studies professor at Sacramento City College, Riad Bahhur is a huge fan of Pérez. Asked which songs of hers are his favorites, he said, “I like all of her songs. She has a range. One song is not like any other. It’s hard to describe. It’s like describing a painting to someone. Her own music is like that. She has a powerful voice and the themes range from love to resistance.”

Bahhur recalled a 2009 performance at SCC in which Pérez sang. “She created an intimate space. She has an amazing rapport with the audience. The Argentinean singer Mercedes Sosa just passed away and Pérez did a homage to her, and the students really clicked with her,” Bahhur said.

In a phone interview on Wednesday, Pérez described what Sosa meant to her and why she chose to dedicate her performance to the singer. “Back in 1995, I was asked to perform at her concert. Then I wrote a tribute to her. Then I got to sing with her in Boston and in Austin, which was a beautiful coming together. Singing with her was a highlight. To many in Latin America, she meant a voice of beauty and honesty. When I met her, it was like meeting Mother Earth in voice. She meant a lot to me. It was a great honor. She taught me a lot. She shared her life story with me and everyone she met,” Pérez said.

The intimate environment of the workshop is poised to be a special treat to students, especially those who may find sitting in front of blank sheet of paper a daunting experience. “Once in a while I do a workshop and open the opportunity to those who may want to learn how to write a song. There are many different ways to write a song. But this workshop will break the steps down,” Pérez said.

Pérez will help the students get words onto paper and watch them unfold. During the process of writing the song, the class develops chord coordination with flash cards. They will do different combinations and people will choose what sound goes with their song. She’s done it with children, with adults. “There are no age limitations to how to write a song. It’s really a fun process. It’s for all ages. At the end of the workshop, everybody leaves with a song of theirs,” Pérez said.

SCC will be Pérez’s only stop in Sacramento before returning to Texas. Speaking highly of her visits to SCC, she said: “It’s always been fun, a lot of work, but I get new ways of thinking and seeing the world. City College is a beautiful place. It’s stop for nurturing the soul.”
This program is offered jointly by the SCC Cultural Awareness Center and International Studies Program. Those requiring special accommodations should contact DSPS at 558-2087.

If you go:

What: Compose Yourself songwriting workshop
When: Friday, May 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Cultural Awareness Center, Sacramento City College
Contact: Prof. Riad Bahhur at Bahhurr@scc.losrios.edu or 650-2738 to register.

editor@valcomnews.com