Musical Moments

Tehama Concert Series…

Morae Arthur remembers being about 8 years old, getting dressed up to attend a concert with her mom and sister in Red Bluff. It was a special event for the budding pianist, a memory she hails back to as she now leads the Tehama Concert Series.

The series, founded in 1938, followed a concert subscription concept developed in Chicago in 1920 by Dema Harshbarger and Ward French. Patrons purchase subscriptions up front for a series of concerts spread out over several months.

Photos courtesy of Tehama Concert Series. Quarteto Nuevo.

“It’s been around awhile,” says Arthur, who helped compile a history of the organization for its 70th anniversary in 2008. “Most members want classical music, but we try to bring in music from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s that’s not pop or rock, necessarily,” she adds. “The instruments are important, as well. Every other year we find an act that’s really, really different.”

This year’s series began in October with Rastrelli Cello Quartet, which performed everything from chamber music to klezmer, jazz, pop and tango. Next in the series – and it’s not too late to get a subscription – is Empire Trio with a special holiday concert on December 21 with David Shenton, who was certainly the first, and still possibly only, musician to play the violin and piano simultaneously. He is joined by soprano Erin Shields and baritone Adam Canady to provide classical crossover with unique and innovative arrangements. “That’s what you expect at Christmas, a nice concert,” says Arthur of the tradition kept to offer festive programming during the winter holidays.

Photos courtesy of Tehama Concert Series. Sons of Serendip.

Other acts in the series include Quarteto Nuevo with world chamber jazz; Sons of Serendip, finalists for America’s Got Talent, with classical crossover; and Here Comes the Sun, a group that celebrates 10 years of Beatles music in fresh and vibrant interpretations.

Each year, a small group of board members attends Arts Northwest, a juried booking conference held in either Oregon or Washington, to select the season’s acts. The selected performers then get audience feedback via a survey in the concert program.

A vital component of the Tehama Concert Series is its outreach to young people. “Two or three of the concert performers go out to schools and teach as well as perform,” Arthur says.

Photos courtesy of Tehama Concert Series. Here Comes the Sun.

The Marv Locke Youth Concert has been established in tribute to former board member and Tehama County Superintendent of Schools Marvin Locke to provide a live narrative concert performance of North State Symphony to every fifth-grader in Tehama County. “We went into the community and found that fifth-graders didn’t have a focus activity,” says Arthur. Other grades have special activities such as science fairs and career trips. This new annual concert opens up opportunity to a group of students heading into middle school who may be encouraged to join band programs.

“To think that we’re giving a music experience to every fifth-grader,” Arthur says with pride. “This year, the kids from Reeds Creek School came in all dressed formally. It was so cute.” The organization sends all fifth-grade teachers an etiquette guide and history to help students prepare for the event. “The first year we did this, oh my goodness, the fifth-graders were everywhere,” Arthur says. Two concerts are given on performance day to accommodate all county fifth-graders.

Photos courtesy of Tehama Concert Series. Empire Trio.

The Tehama Concert Series is now returning to its full capacity after the pandemic with a special post-COVID recovery grant from the Red Bluff Tehama County Chamber of Commerce. “We would not even exist without people who give extra,” says Arthur of the challenges of offering first-class, live entertainment today.

Despite the obstacles, the show goes on at the Tehama Concert Series. “It’s nice to be involved in the community,” Arthur says of her years of dedication to the organization and the community that raised her.

Tehama Concert Series

About Melissa Mendonca

Melissa is a graduate of San Francisco State and Tulane universities. She’s a lover of airports and road trips and believes in mentoring and service to create communities everyone can enjoy. Her favorite words are rebar, wanderlust and change.

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