St. Francis High, Sacramento arts communities mourn loss of artist, teacher Kathy Carlisle

Kathy Carlisle art photo Original art courtesy, Ara Brancamp // Photo courtesy St. Francis High School, Johnathan V. Comer

Kathy Carlisle art photo Original art courtesy, Ara Brancamp // Photo courtesy St. Francis High School, Johnathan V. Comer

With 2,000 handmade origami cranes, tributes of art and testimony and the powerful sounds of Taiko drums, hundreds of mourners from the St. Francis High School and Sacramento arts communities celebrated the life of the late Kathryn M. Carlisle on Saturday, Dec. 15. A memorial service for students and faculty was also held on Monday, Dec. 10.

Known to her friends as Kathy, she was a much-beloved teacher at St. Francis. She died while taking photographs for a school project on the railroad tracks across the street from the high school on Dec. 8. Carlisle was taking images of an oncoming train, when she was struck from behind by a second train. She was 52.

It is possible Carlisle was taking the photos for an upcoming project on the Holocaust. She was in discussions just days before with Holocaust survivors about the trains that took Jews and other “undesirables” to the death camps. Carlisle was passionate about using art to promote issues of social justice.

At the Celebration of Life Ceremony, Liz Irga, Central Valley Holocaust Education Network, said the last time she spoke with Carlisle, they talked about the trains. “The trains that took people to the (death) camps. And we spoke about the people who ran those trains. I will always wonder if it was that conversation that led to her being there on those tracks,” Irga said.

Kathy Carlisle taught visual arts and digital photography at St. Francis High School. She was struck and killed by a train on Dec. 8.

Kathy Carlisle taught visual arts and digital photography at St. Francis High School. She was struck and killed by a train on Dec. 8.

Every year since her arrival at St. Francis in 2008, she taught a unit on the Shoah — the Holocaust. She was deeply committed to the Central Valley Holocaust Education Network. Her students interviewed survivors of that horror, then created works that embodied the lives of those people in a contemporary way, speaking to today’s generations.

The exhibits won many awards, including a scholarship for Carlisle to study the Holocaust at the 2012 Memorial Library Summer Seminar on Holocaust Education.

Carlisle grew up in Detroit during the 1960s. As a young girl, she saw tanks going down the streets of her city. As an adult, she dedicated her life – and her gifts in the arts and in teaching – to shining light on the darkest things in life. She wanted to use her artistic gifts, especially, to bring issues of justice to the forefront.

As a teenager, she would spend afternoons at the Detroit Institute of Art, studying artists. At age 16, she was accepted into a summer art program at the prestigious Parsons School of Design in New York City. She was educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before earning a B.A. in Arts Education and later an M.A. in Drawing and Ceramic Sculpture from CSUS.

Carlisle began teaching at Sacramento High School as an artist in residence, where she developed a cross-cultural art curriculum. Through a grant from the Neighborhood Arts Program of SMAC, she also worked with pediatric oncology patients from the UC Davis Medical Center.

Carlisle also had a great love of Japanese drumming and culture, and was an original member of the Sacramento Taiko Dan. Founding members of Taiko Dan re-assembled to perform at her Celebration of Life service.

Carlisle was known for her huge heart, eclectic style, and sharp sense of humor. She was passionate about gatherings with family and friends, and empowering students to learn through art.

This passion for life was shared and returned by her many friends and family – and especially by the students, staff and faculty at St. Francis High School. In the wake of her passing, the school did something remarkable: all final exams for the semester were cancelled. Instead, the school community members gathered to console one another. Students created works of art in Carlisle’s memory, using her favorite colors: pink and orange.

At the Celebration of Life, Kendall Spector, a junior at St. Francis and teacher’s assistant to Carlisle relayed a message from her to family and friends: “Mrs. Carlisle always told us, ‘I can hardly wait for each of you girls to graduate, so I can see the amazing things you will do in the world. Each of you is full of color, and the world needs you. Because the world is gray, it needs the color you will bring to it.’”

Margo Reid Brown, president, St. Francis High School, said Carlisle was a “unique, colorful and passionate part” of each of their lives.

“Forever, we will be grateful for her presence in our lives. As a community of faith, we know Kathy was our gift…We trust in the Lord to lift our sister Kathy to everlasting life with Him,” Reid Brown said.

Carlisle is survived by her husband Steven Jarvis, her children Will, Bianca, and Violet, who is a freshman at St. Francis; and her mother, Sandy Carlisle of Brighton, Michigan.
A scholarship fund has been established. The Kathy Carlisle Scholarship will be awarded annually to a current student at St. Francis High School who demonstrates a passion and commitment to the arts that were so much a part of Carlisle’s life. Donations can be made via the St. Francis High School website at www.stfrancishs.org.

Sacramento’s Michael Neumann to conduct ‘Of Joy & Fate’ holiday concert

Curtis Park resident Michael Neumann is a deep gentleman of many talents.
Neumann is the artistic director and conductor for both the Sacramento Youth Symphony and the Folsom Symphony.
For the past nine years, the latter symphony has grown in quality to the delight of audiences throughout the region. Musicians from the symphony hail from every neighborhood in Sacramento: Pocket-Greenhaven, Land Park, Arden, East Sacramento and elsewhere.
Neumann puts a great deal of time into considering each work the symphony will perform. A fine artist himself, he carefully develops concerts of depth and complexity that delight both the newcomer and the jaded audiophile.
This December’s winter concerts are a perfect case in point. The Folsom Symphony will host two holiday concerts that will gladden hearts on Dec. 15 and Dec. 16. The repertoire for “Of Fate & Joy” ranges from contemplative to festive to joyous.
According to Webster’s Common School Dictionary of 1892, “fate” is considered to be “a decree; (an) inevitable necessity…supposed by the ancients to determine the course of human life.”
Few would argue that, in its strictest definition, all mortal life is “fated” to have a beginning and an end. Not a jot can be changed about it. Somber, indeed.
Between those fixed points in time are all the things that go into life: good and evil, happiness and sadness.
And that, according to the sages, is where mere mortals have true power and freedom. Because happiness is a choice humans can make along the way.
Composers and poets throughout the ages struggled with these weighty matters. Many chose “Joy” as a personal statement of faith, and as a testimony to freely choosing the good in life. Such choices, they felt, bring out the best in the human spirit. They are heroic.
Appropriately enough, the concerts kick off with Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Fidelio Overture.” First performed in 1805 Vienna, this opera was risky, given Beethoven’s political outlook. After all, the Napoleonic Wars were scarcely two years old. “Fidelio” musically tells a tale of personal sacrifice, heroism and eventual triumph…with an underlying struggle for liberty and justice. Ludwig could have lost his head – literally.
Next on the program is George Frederic Handel’s “Music for the Royal Fireworks.” A secular piece of music, it was commissioned by England’s King George II to celebrate a great hope for peace: the 1749 signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle. The music is Handel at his most spectacular.
The treaty? It didn’t quite pan out the way the crowned heads of Europe had hoped. Little was accomplished in the end. Fate stepped in.
The evening continues with powerful works by Rimsky-Korsakov (“Capriccio Espagnol”), Brahms (“Schicksalslied,” accompanied by the Folsom High School Chamber Singers), Johann Strauss Sr. (“Radetzky March”) and his son (“Tritsch Tratsch Polka”). Popular composer Leroy Anderson’s work “Christmas Festival” will put audiences in the holiday mood.
Handel makes another appearance with his magnificent work from “Messiah” – the “Hallelujah” chorus.
Happiness, it is said, is not a destination. It is something one encounters along the way. One can choose to be joyful, or to be otherwise. In celebration of this fact, each member of the audience is invited to sing along to traditional carols near the conclusion of each concert.
Webster’s little dictionary from 1892 defines “joy” as “gladness, delight, exultation…bliss.” Intangible delights that the Folsom Symphony and Neumann specialize in every December.
“Of Fate & Joy” will be performed two days only, on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. Performances are held at Folsom Lake College’s Three Stages Theater. Get your tickets soon…these concerts sell out every year. Call (916) 916-608-6888 or visit  www.threestages.net. Also visit  www.folsomsymphony.com.

Wildlife Art Festival features unique American art form

LIFELIKE. The bodies of these bird figures were carved from solid blocks of wood into amazingly lifelike representations. The Wildlife Art Festival will feature this unique American art form in Sacramento on July 14 and July 15. / Valley Community Newspaper photo, Susan Laird

LIFELIKE. The bodies of these bird figures were carved from solid blocks of wood into amazingly lifelike representations. The Wildlife Art Festival will feature this unique American art form in Sacramento on July 14 and July 15. / Valley Community Newspaper photo, Susan Laird

America is famously known as a “melting pot” – where all peoples bring the richness of their culture to the table and the nation embraces those gifts as its own.

However, there is an art form that is unique to the North American continent. And the world has embraced it.
What is this mysterious craft that is indigenous to North America? It is the art of bird carving.

Thousands of years old
For thousands of years, Native American Indians spent countless hours carving figures of birds for use as decoys. These tools were used to catch birds for food and ceremonial purposes.

A cache of Native American decoys was discovered a century ago. Miners discovered some 10,000 artifacts from a cave in northern Nevada. The decoys were individually wrapped and highly detailed. Some even sported feathers for a realistic look. The find was dated to 200 B.C.
European settlers who traded with the Indians also learned hunting skills from them. The settlers also learned how to carve their own decoys.

Uniquely American
“You don’t find decoy carving originating on any other continent,” said Jim Burcio, membership vice president the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association. “When plastics came along after World War II, the art form started to die because people could buy plastic decoys.”

In the early 1970s, several organizations were started throughout the United States to save the craft. The purpose was to continue an American heritage that began with the hand carved decoy.

Life-like
Today, the art of bird carving is practiced throughout the world – and not just for the creation of decoys. Artists create carved birds for display in homes and businesses that are so realistic, one would not be surprised if they moved. Some of the models even boast personalities, they are so life-like.

This is true wildlife art.

Check it out
The Pacific Decoy Association will host its 42nd anniversary Wildfowl Art Classic – the second oldest annual show in the nation – at the DoubleTree Hotel in Sacramento on July 14 and 15.

“We live in the Pacific Flyway, so it was natural that we would have a club doing bird carving,” Burcio said. “People now carve any bird in the world.”
Several categories of bird carvings will be on display at the show: decorative lifesize wildfowl carvings, decorative miniature wildfowl carvings, gunning shorebirds, decoys, miniature decoys, game birds and more.

Over 500 carvings will be on display from all over the United States and Canada. Additional features of the show include raffles, a banquet auction, a junior carver event and activities for kids. There will be items available for purchase, as well.

The 42nd annual Wildlife Art Festival will be held on Saturday, July 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, July 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The DoubleTree Hotel is located at 2001 Point West Way in Sacramento. Admission is $5 for the weekend and children under the age of 12 are free. To purchase tickets to the banquet or for more information, visit www.pacificflyway.org or call (925) 687-2013.

East Sac Rotarians gift dictionaries to Phoebe Hearst Elementary School third graders

When you are in the first and second grades, you are learning to read.

When you are in the third grade, you are reading to learn.

With this thought firmly in mind, the Rotary Club of East Sacramento presented every third grader at Phoebe Hearst Elementary School – 101 kids – a brand-new, “Macmillan Dictionary for Children” on Jan. 13. It was a gift from the Rotarians to each child. The book is his or hers to keep – forever.

Dinger, the Sacramento River Cats mascot, was on hand to help with the distribution. The kids learned that Dinger is literate and that he likes to read about baseball.

The hardcover book features some 35,000 entries, with over 1,100 photographs and images in full color. Words such as “Internet” and “Website” are defined. The kids were excited to get their own books.

“Now I’ve got a brand new dictionary,” said Clayton Ketcher, 9. “This will replace my old one.”

“We can look up words on our own for homework,” said Claudia Daponde, 9.

Some 203 additional dictionaries will be gifted by the East Sac Rotarians to third graders at David Lubin, Tahoe Elementary and Caleb Greenwood Elementary schools.

‘Young at Art 2012’ opens vista of possibilities to region’s middle school students

Art is a path for the exploration of beauty…a door to an infinite number of possibilities. It is not intended to be enjoyed – or created – only by the cultured or the elite. It is for all people, and for every age group.

YOUNG AT ART 2012 will give local middle school artists an opportunity to create and show a variety of artworks – and gain recognition in a regional Sacramento show. / Image, courtesy

YOUNG AT ART 2012 will give local middle school artists an opportunity to create and show a variety of artworks – and gain recognition in a regional Sacramento show. / Image, courtesy

This is especially true for young people, who see the future through a unique and hopeful perspective.

For the past four years, the annual “Young at Art” show for middle school students in the Sacramento region has showcased the work of young artists. Students and schools from Sacramento, Davis, Auburn, Woodland, Granite Bay, Folsom and El Dorado Hills have participated in the past.

This annual student art show is highly anticipated and well attended. It is sponsored by St. Francis Catholic High School, which is known statewide and nationally for its programs in the visual and performing arts. Although St. Francis is a high school for young women, entries from both boys and girls are encouraged. The competition is open to students from public, private and home schools.

At a time when arts programs are operating in a “reduced” (or perhaps, non-existent) role in some schools, this program provides individual students an opportunity to shine. There are no entry fees, and the grand opening of the show is a fun experience. The young people of this area are extremely talented.

The show is an opportunity for students to experience the procedures for entering an art show, as well as to have their talents acknowledged in a regional forum. It is an opportunity for inspiration and validation.

The grand opening of the art show will be held on Feb. 1 in the St. Francis High School Arts Complex at 5 p.m. All artists and their families are welcome. Awards will be presented at 6 p.m.

The prizes are pretty cool. These include art supplies (sketchbooks, charcoal, paints and more), gift certificates to local art supplies stores, etc. The grand prize is a full scholarship to the St. Francis High School Summer Arts Workshop for Middle School Students, worth $275. The grand prize winner will have the opportunity to pursue his or her arts passion with the direction of the Troubadour Art Department’s amazing faculty.

Entry details: Students and schools should deliver art works to the St. Francis High School Art Theatre Complex Foyer on Thursday, Jan. 26 between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Artwork will not be accepted at any other time or date. The campus is located at 5900 Elvas Avenue in Sacramento, just off 65th Street and Highway 50.

Pictures must be matted, but canvas and sculptures do not need matting. A 2”x3” label should be permanently affixed to the front, lower right hand corner of the work. Information on the label should include: 1. Student first and last name; 2. Student grade; 3. School full name; and 4. Art teacher name.

The limit for submissions is up to 25 pieces per school and one work per student. All mediums and sizes of art are accepted. For more information, call (916) 737-5002.

Art is a vital expression of the creative mind. It encourages solutions-oriented thinking.

And when young people are encouraged to “think outside the box,” amazing things can happen.

susan@valcomnews.com

Sac Opera, Sac Philharmonic open 2011–2012 season with ‘Pagliacci’

“All the world’s a stage,” said William Shakespeare in “As You Like It.” “And all the men and women merely players/They have their exits and their entrances…”

AMERICAN TENOR Roy Cornelius Smith will perform the role of Canio at Sacramento Opera’s production of “Pagliacci.” He is quickly establishing himself among the ranks of the finest tenors of his generation. / Photo courtesy, Barrett Vantage Artists/ Diane Watts Copas, photographer

AMERICAN TENOR Roy Cornelius Smith will perform the role of Canio at Sacramento Opera’s production of “Pagliacci.” He is quickly establishing himself among the ranks of the finest tenors of his generation. / Photo courtesy, Barrett Vantage Artists/ Diane Watts Copas, photographer

This is certainly true of Sacramento Opera’s production of “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Audiences witness a “play within a play” where the stage and life collide. It is a tale of tormented love, fear, infidelity and the masks humans must wear in society.

Based on a murder trial over which Leoncavallo’s father presided, “Pagliacci” tells the tale of a travelling comedy theater troupe that is presenting a comedy about a man, his wife and her lover…which is mirrored by the “real life” actors themselves – with tragic consequences.

Tragedy and comedy in one opera. Leaving the audience to ponder its role as passive viewers.

Leoncavallo wanted to be one of the great Italian composers – on a par with Germany’s Richard Wagner. His professional rivalry with Giacomo Puccini was well known. (Leoncavallo wanted to write an opera based on Henri Murger’s “Scènes de la vie de bohème.” He was furious when Puccini announced that he was writing such an opera first).

Today, few of Leoncavallo’s works are produced. Yet, one stands out: “Pagliacci.” Today, it remains in the Top 20 most popular operas in the world, according to Operabase.

This opera, while brief (only one hour and 15 minutes in length), boasts one of the most famous tenor arias in all of opera – “Vesti la giubba.”

This aria, which is performed at the close of the first act, contains some of the most moving music in the arts. Loosely translated, “The clothes of a fool,” the lead character, Canio, sings of how “the show must go on,” despite his discovery that his love is betrayed.

In the aria’s few bars of music, Leoncavallo takes the audience from self-abasement, to numbness, to agony so profound it is exquisite. As an art form, few composers achieve this at so transcendent a level. (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus” achieves similar heights in only 45 bars of music).

Enrico Caruso, the famous tenor of the late 19th and early 20th century, recorded this aria for Thomas Edison. Caruso’s 1904 recording of “Vesti la giubba” was the first sound recording to sell a million copies. Despite the poor sound quality of the era, Caruso’s performance is considered one of the “definitive” performances of this aria to this day.

ENRICO CARUSO, the great tenor of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, recorded one of the most famous arias in all of opera: “Vesti la giubba” from Ruggero Leoncavallo's “Pagliacci.” Here he is, portraying the character of Canio - the clown. Sacramento Opera will perform this classic, popular opera on Nov. 19 and 20. / Photo public domain

ENRICO CARUSO, the great tenor of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, recorded one of the most famous arias in all of opera: “Vesti la giubba” from Ruggero Leoncavallo's “Pagliacci.” Here he is, portraying the character of Canio - the clown. Sacramento Opera will perform this classic, popular opera on Nov. 19 and 20. / Photo public domain

The opera premiered at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan on May 21, 1892 – with none other than Arturo Toscanini conducting.

The November performances of “Pagliacci” by Sacramento Opera will feature Roy Cornelius Smith as Canio. He is quickly establishing himself among the ranks of the finest tenors of his generation through his voice of exceptional color and beauty, his compelling dramatic interpretations and outstanding musicianship.

Rounding out the cast are: Shana Blake Hill as Nedda, Zachary Gordin as Silvio, Igor Vieira as Tonion and Daniel Ebbers as Beppe.

The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra will open the first half of the program with selections influenced by the lyric stage and specially selected by Maestro Michael Morgan, conductor of the orchestra. Look for Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll,” which is characterized as “transcendent” and “impossibly gorgeous.”

The opera will be sung in Italian with English supertitles.

“Pagliacci” has two performances: Saturday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. The Sacramento Community Center Theater is located at 1301 L Street in Sacramento. Tickets to both performances may be limited – call for availability. For admission, call (916) 808-5181, visit the box office at the theater or visit www.tickets.com. For more information, visit www.sacopera.org.

A celebration of freedom on Veterans Day at Merrill Gardens

Residents, staff and some special guests celebrated Veterans Day at Merrill Gardens Retirement Community on Nov. 11.

CELEBRATING THE NAVY. Past, present and future at Merrill Gardens on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Navy recruits and their recruiter met Evelyn Lackey, a retired yeoman and the oldest surviving WAVE in the United States. Seated, left to right, Isabel Miramontes, Lackey. Standing, left to right, Lelefu Vui, Sharon Martinez, Andrew Herscowitz, Petty Officer 1st Class John Mark Centeno. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Susan Laird

CELEBRATING THE NAVY. Past, present and future at Merrill Gardens on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Navy recruits and their recruiter met Evelyn Lackey, a retired yeoman and the oldest surviving WAVE in the United States. Seated, left to right, Isabel Miramontes, Lackey. Standing, left to right, Lelefu Vui, Sharon Martinez, Andrew Herscowitz, Petty Officer 1st Class John Mark Centeno. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Susan Laird

In attendance were some 25 veterans (including the oldest WAVE in the nation), a recruiter for the Navy, new Navy recruits and members of AlphaOne Ambulance Medical Services. All enjoyed a special meal together and music by Breakthrough, a bluegrass fusion group.

“This is a big day for our residents,” said Courtney Siegel, Merrill Gardens general manager.

The day was especially meaningful to Evelyn Lackey. At 101, Lackey is sharp as a tack and every bit as patriotic as she was when she became one of the first women to enlist in the Navy’s “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service” (WAVES) at the dawn of World War II.

“My dad was in the Navy. After (the Japanese attack on) Pearl Harbor, I left a good job to join the WAVES,” the retired yeoman said. “I was one of the very first WAVES. Back then, women were only allowed to do mostly administrative things. Today, women do everything.”

Lt. Col. Tom Licursi (retired) is heading a new veterans’ group at Merrill Gardens.

“The purpose of the group is to build friendships and reminisce,” he said. “Especially the older guys.”

Licursi went into the Army in October, 1941 (“They drafted me!” he said). After completing Basic Training at Fort Dixon in New Jersey, he was sent to Camp Croft in South Carolina. In April, 1942, he shipped out to Ireland with the 34th Infantry – one of the first American units to be sent to Europe.

“In December, 1942 I was sent back to the states for Officers Training School at Fort Benning,” Licursi said. “Then I was off to Camp Adair in Corvallis, Ore. And then to the Pacific Theater.”

Licursi served in Japan on occupation duty shortly after the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“The minute the war ended, they were as docile as could be,” he said.

One concern Licursi has is how his generation has come to be portrayed. He disagrees with recent media coverage.

“There’s been a tendency lately to classify as ‘heroes’ anybody who served in World War II,” he said. “There were over 10 million of us under arms. We couldn’t ALL be heroes. It was a different attitude then. There was a job to be done. And we did it. No matter what, everybody was focused on one aim.”

Tom Arjil, president and CEO of AlphaOne, said that recognizing the efforts of all veterans is important.

“We want to support not only the senior community, but also the veterans,” Arjil said. “They paved the way for the generations to come for freedom.”

Folsom Symphony presents a ‘Light Out of the Darkness’

As the days grow shorter, the Folsom Symphony opens its eighth season with an evening of unusual works by three masters, dedicated to bringing “Light Out of the Darkness.”

NADEZHDA VON MECK (1831–1894)was composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s patroness. A Russian businesswoman, she supported him financially for 13 years, enabling him to devote himself to writing music. The Folsom Symphony will perform Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4,” which he dedicated to Von Meck, on Oct. 15. / Photo public domain

NADEZHDA VON MECK (1831–1894)was composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s patroness. A Russian businesswoman, she supported him financially for 13 years, enabling him to devote himself to writing music. The Folsom Symphony will perform Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4,” which he dedicated to Von Meck, on Oct. 15. / Photo public domain

Under the baton of Maestro Michael Neumann, the members of the symphony will present an evening of music that isn’t heard every day by classical masters whose names are well recognized: Brahms, von Webber and Tchaikovsky.

Three pieces will be performed: the “Tragic Overture, Opus 81” (Brahms), the “Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor, Op. 73” (von Webber) and the “Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36” (Tchaikovsky).

The “Tragic Overture, Opus 81” is an unusual piece in the body of work by Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897). It is performed rarely. The two abrupt fortissimo chords that open the piece immediately told audiences in 1880 that this piece is an unusual one for Brahms. Usually, Brahms works open with a central theme. The “Tragic” does not. It is, rather, an exploration of the raw human emotions that can be evoked with music. Written as a companion piece to the “Academic Festival Overture” which was a collection of cheerful student songs, Brahms himself wrote, “one laughs, the other cries.”

To put it another way, the “Tragic” takes audiences on a walk into the darkness. This music is intense, focused and moving.

Next on the evening’s program is a gem of a composition for clarinet: the “Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor, Op. 73” by Carl Maria von Weber. It was written for clarinetist Heinrich Bärmann, who was much more famous than von Weber, in 1811.

Von Weber is referred to by some as the father of Romantic Period German opera. He came from a musical family. In fact, his first cousin, Constanze Weber (1763-1842), was married to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).

The “Clarinet Concerto” is a sweet work that leads us closer to the light.

Clarinetist Charles Messersmith headlines with the Folsom Symphony in the performance of this work. A native Californian, he performs regularly with the Folsom Symphony. He also performs in Charleston with local, national, and internationally renowned chamber musicians as well as for Piccolo Spoleto programs in the spring. In the summers he performs in Virginia at the Wintergreen Music Festival in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He has been featured as soloist with the Charleston Symphony on numerous occasions, most recently performing the Copland Clarinet concerto, and the Mozart Clarinet Concerto.

The concluding work of the evening, the “Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893). In a rather unusual step, the composer wrote a program about the music in this piece. Tchaikovsky wrote that the opening of the symphony was about Fate.

The theme of the first movement, according to Tchaikovsky, that “all life is an unbroken alternation of hard reality with swiftly passing dreams and visions of happiness …” He went on: “No haven exists … Drift upon that sea until it engulfs and submerges you in its depths.”

One certainly can feel caught up in the maelstrom of emotions that the “Symphony No. 4” evokes. However, such a journey has a tendency to bring out the best in humanity also: the everlasting struggle for that which is good.

The “Symphony No. 4” has been described as “loud,” “savage,” and “evocative.” It received harsh criticism when it débuted in 1878. However, it remains one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire today.

“Light Out of the Darkness” promises to be uncommon and excellent in every way – a program in keeping with the Folsom Symphony’s reputation as the premier orchestra of the Folsom Lake Region.

“Light Out of the Darkness” will be performed one evening only, on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Three Stages (at the Folsom Lake College Performing Arts Complex) is located at 10 College Parkway – just off East Bidwell Street – in Folsom. Parking is free.

Single tickets are $25 to $55. Season tickets, as well as reduced cost tickets for students and seniors are available. To purchase, call (916) 357-6718 or visit www.folsomsymphony.com.

Carmichael’s 102nd Founders’ Day Sept. 24

Saturday, Sept. 24 will mark Carmichael’s 102nd Founders’ Day Celebration.

As it does every year, the Carmichael Recreation and Park District is putting together a party you won’t want to miss. It’s hard to see how they manage it, but the event just seems to get better every year.

From classic cars to arts & crafts to power horns and carnival games, the event will have a little something for everyone. Dignitaries, musicians and vendors will be “doing their thing” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The day kicks off with a delicious pancake breakfast hosted by the Fair Oaks Lions Club. Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and is $5 for adults, $3 for kids ages 11 and under.

The Classic Car Show starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. This year, the Cappuccino Cruisers car club is bringing their collection of classic autos to Founders’ Day. Check out the muscle cars of the 1960s and early ’70s, the classics of the ’50s, the flatheads of the ’40s, the gangster cars of the 1930s and the classic ‘tin lizzies’ of the teens and ’20s.

New to Founders’ Day this year is an Old-fashioned Country Fair. Like county fairs of old, this fair will feature competitions in art, textiles, food and more. If you win a competition, you have bragging rights for the next year that you are the BEST in Carmichael. Check-in is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Judging is at noon. To enter, contact the Cappuccino Cruisers (who are hosting the fair) at (916) 988-6376. There is an entry form available online at the Carmichael Park and Rec website: www.carmichaelpark.com.

The Carmichael Dog Park Society will host a Dog Parade and Show as a fundraiser to benefit the Carmichael Dog Park. Call (916) 422-2280 for details to enter your pooch in the parade. The Dog Parade and Show will start at approximately 11:30 a.m.

Founders’ Day is always a family friendly event so be sure to bring your children or grandchildren out so they can enjoy the many children’s activities. There will be a mini carnival, face painting, arts & crafts, clowns, an appearance by River Cats mascot Dinger and more – all free.

The shopping promises to be good at the vendor booths this year, also. Information booths, arts and crafts vendors, non-profit agencies and of course food vendors will be scattered around the Carmichael Park Band Shell to tempt you into shopping, eating and enjoying the day.

Live entertainment by the headlining band, Custom Neon, is sure to please.

For more information on Founders’ Day please call the Carmichael Recreation and Park District at (916) 485-5322 or visit www.carmichaelpark.com. The Carmichael Park Band Shell is located in the back of Carmichael Park at 5750 Grant Avenue and both parking and admission are free.

Art photography of Stephen Crowley, Oct. 3 – Nov. 5

When Stephen Crowley left a lucrative career in software sales in the Bay Area in 2006, he knew he was ready for something that would bring more joy and meaning to his life. The dog-eat-dog world of Silicon Valley, frankly, left him feeling rather burnt out.

A native son of Sacramento, Stephen decided to return to the city of his roots – and to pursue something he always loved: photography and art.

Since that time, he has steadily built an impressive portfolio – and honed his skills in the craft. With his warm smile, patience and easy-going manner, Stephen has the ability to capture the “inner essence” of his subjects…a valuable skill in portraiture.

His photography business, Crowley Photography, specializes in portraits, events and weddings throughout Northern California. Stephen’s freelance work is also seen at the Sacramento River Cats, The Capitol Weekly and in Valley Community Newspapers, which includes the Land Park News.

The Coffee Garden in Sacramento is hosting a show of Crowley photographs from Oct. 3 to Nov. 5. The show will feature views and landscapes around Sacramento and Northern California.

There will be an artist’s reception on the Second Saturday of the month, Oct. 8, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The community is invited to attend.

The Coffee Garden is located at 2904 Franklin Boulevard in Sacramento. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, email scrowleyphotos@yahoo.com.