A radio holiday extravaganza at The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

A radio holiday extravaganza at The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley

Artist Gemma B. Benton contributed "Re-membered Generation" to the "A Place To Call Home" multi-media project. Eighteen pieces of art and a dozen photos are on display through Sunday at the Center for the Arts main lobby and its Grannucci Gallery.
Submitted photo to Prospector |


WHAT: The Nevada County Concert Band “First Time Ever Old-Time Holiday Radio Pageant Extravaganza!”

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: The Center for the Arts, 314 West Main Street, Grass Valley

TICKETS: $10 at the box office, thecenterforthearts.org or by phone 530-274-8384

LIVE BROADCAST: KVMR 89.5 FM and kvmr.org streaming; available afterwards: archive.kvmr.org

Now, how can you pass up something with the title “The First Time Ever Old-Time Holiday Radio Pageant Extravaganza!”?

That’s more than a title and a half, it sounds good on radio, and … the Nevada County Concert Band kicks off the area holiday concert season at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley with a concert that’ll hopefully also be sounding good live on KVMR 89.5 FM Radio (and kvmr.org streaming).

“We’re doing it as an old-time radio show,” said James Kopf, the band’s volunteer president. “And the title got bigger and bigger as we expanded the concept, sort of like you’d see on Monty Python.”

“Somebody said this sounds like a total extravaganza, and, what do you know, that got added to the title,” he said.

Kopf thinks the concert — which will use old-fashioned vaudeville signs — is “a really different way to kick off the holidays.”

“We’ll keep a little lighter fare than your typical holiday concert,” said Kopf, noting there will be 60 plus musicians participating in the off-season concert. (The band has about 90 active members, from ages 12 and 13 to a trio in their 80s, for their summer concerts in Pioneer Park.)

“In the band we have both professional musicians and other people just trying to keep their skills from their high school band,” said Kopf. “Like we have a lifelong French horn player now playing tuba in the band, just to do something new and different from what they’ve been playing.”

First Center show

In fact, this will be their first performance ever at the Center for the Arts and their biggest holiday season effort in recent years, Kopf said.

Artistic director and conductor Cheryl Woldseth — the all-volunteer band’s only paid employee — is also excited by the line-up.

“Noah Grove, our 2017 Jerry Foote Scholarship recipient, will perform a fabulous clarinet solo,” she said. “And the Band Hands get into the fun too, delivering mirth, merriment, and witty stories, including old-fashioned sound effects, just as they did in the radio programs of yesteryear.”

According to Woldseth, “there are songs for everyone to enjoy,” from a German toymaker’s workshop to “My Favorite Things.”

“Reminisce with a fireside Christmas, and listen in as Santa decides which reindeer to recruit for his night’s ride,” she said. “And the band’s many ensembles add spice to this mix as does a trombone soloist on ‘White Christmas.’”

The yuletide sound continues with French Canadian and Romanian tunes, plus the ever-popular “Santa Baby,” Sousa’s march “The Thunderer” and, yup, many more.

Early 1900s roots

The benefit concert supports the Nevada County Concert Band, which started in the early 1970s and was recognized as the county’s official concert band. But early roots go back to the early 1900s with the Grass Valley Concert Band forming by the 1920s.

This will be KVMR’s fourth broadcast of a live Nevada County Concert Band concert.

“The biggest advantage is for our membership and audiences who like being able to pop over to KVMR’s website (kvmr.org) and replay the concert,” Kopf said. “A lot of supporters are out of town and still get to hear it live.”

Still on view

The collaborative multi-media project “A Place To Call Home” took place Nov. 16, with audio stories, a documentary film and prose and poetry.

However, photography and mixed-media fine art from the project is still on display at the Center for the Arts, 314 West Main Street, downtown Grass Valley, now through Sunday.

“A Place To Call Home” was a project about homelessness in Nevada County that was started by KVMR volunteer broadcasters Susan M. Davis and Betty Louise as part of the Nevada City radio station’s Storycatchers group.

Along the way, they earned grants from both the California Arts Council and the California Humanities Council.

About a dozen photographs and 18 pieces of art from six different artists are on display in the Center’s Main Lobby and its Grannucci Gallery.

More information about the exhibit, the project, and sample audio is available at http://www.A-Place-To-Call-Home.org

On The Air is a weekly irreverent look at Nevada City’s volunteer-driven, eclectic community radio station at 89.5 FM and streaming at kvmr.org. Complete KVMR schedule available at the station’s website, http://www.kvmr.org.

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