A mélange of musical offerings, a dreamy Shakespearean play, the modern world of ceramic art, and the annual campus-wide celebration of the University’s arts and humanities – it’s all part of Sacramento State’s Spring 2018 Arts Experience.

Family Funday SundayFamily Funday Sunday has become one of the most popular attractions of the Festival of the Arts. (Sacramento State/Craig Koscho)

Festival of the Arts

FoTA once again highlights the talents of the University’s arts and humanities students and faculty, with six days of art, music, theater, dance, discussions and presentations. This year’s edition runs April 10-15 and includes attractions such as: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dance Sampler, Art History Talks, and renowned jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas performing with Sac State’s own nationally recognized Jazz Ensembles.

U-Create! returns to the Festival for its fourth year from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 12. This downtown street faire features faculty and students collaborating on music and dance performances, art presentations, and a surprise or two including food trucks and outdoor entertainment at Seventh and S streets. Verge Center for the Arts, Beatnik Studios, and Insight Coffee Roasters serve as hosts and venues for many of the attractions.

And of course, it all concludes with the Festival’s popular Family Funday Sunday, a daylong lineup of family-friendly attractions, events, and hands-on activities, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15.

More information on all the FoTA fun will be posted as it becomes available at csus.edu/festival.


The School of Music’s annual MOSAIC Concert has become a highly popular experience in just two years, with performances ranging from orchestral classical pieces to swinging jazz to thrilling choral numbers – even finger snapping. The third presentation of this showcase of the University’s music students promises to be just as entertaining and surprising. It’s free and begins at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 4, followed by a reception.

Two free offerings kick off the season. Guest alumnus Jordan Shippy presents a percussion recital at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31. The following day, the Mu Phi Epsilon coed fraternity presents a recital of solo and chamber works at 8 p.m. Both performances are in Capistrano 151.

A septet of music instructors presents a Faculty Recital of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale). Based on the Russian folk tale of a soldier who sells his violin to the devil for riches, the performance includes narration by Omari Tau, director of the school’s Opera Theatre. Violin Professor Anna Presler and percussion Professor Dan Kennedy have put together a group that includes clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone and double bass. It will be presented at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8.

Piano Professor Kirsten Smith presents a recital with Brinton Smith on cello at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9.

And flautist Laurel Zucker will be joined by some of her friends for a Faculty Recital at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 11.

The septet and Kirsten Smith recitals are in Capistrano 151. Laurel Zucker and Friends is in the Capistrano Concert Hall.

The acclaimed New Millennium series gets underway Thursday, Feb. 15, in the Capistrano Concert Hall, with the Faculty, Alumni, and Friends Gala. Concert highlights include performances by flautist Laurel Zucker, pianist John Cozza, and percussionist Daniel Kennedy. The Peregrine Trio will perform Brahms’ CM Trio.

The series continues with vocal superstar Dawn Upshaw on Thursday, March 15. The five-time Grammy winner will join legendary pianist Gilbert Kalish for songs by Franz Schubert, Bela Bartok, Rebecca Clarke, and more.

The series concludes with the Grammy-winning Takács Quartet, internationally renowned for the vitality of their music interpretations. The string quartet will perform works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven on Thursday, April 19.

All New Millennium concerts are at 7:30 p.m. in the Capistrano Concert Hall. Tickets for the Faculty Gala are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors, and $5 for students. The Dawn Upshaw and Takács concerts are $35, $25, and $10. Series subscriptions are available for $65 general admission and $55 for seniors.

The Latin Jazz Ensemble takes the stage at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27. The group performs a variety of Latin styles, including merengue, mambo, Afro-Cuban, and rumba. They’ll be back during the Festival of the Arts for another performance at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 15.

Brass and woodwinds gather at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, when the University presents its Symphonic Wind Ensemble. They return for more music in a double session with the Concert Band at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 9.

Honored by both the Monterey Jazz Festival and Downbeat magazine, the Jazz Ensembles present their first concert of the semester at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 1. Then, at 8 p.m. Friday, April 13, they’ll welcome special guest trumpeter Dave Douglas. A composer and educator as well as an accomplished trumpeter, Douglas has been praised by critics for his “… broad capacity for expressionism.”

After 33 years of leading the School of Music’s choral programs, Donald Kendrick begins his last semester at Sacramento State before retiring at the end of the academic year. The University Choir, Women’s Chorus, and Men’s Choir perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at Sacred Heart Church, 39th and J streets. Then, on Saturday, May 12, they’ll join the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra for a special performance at 8 p.m. at the Sacramento Community Center Theater, 1301 L St. Tickets for the May 12 performance will be available at tickets.com or by calling (916) 808-5181.

After 30 years as conductor/music director of the Symphony Orchestra, and 138 symphony concerts conducted at the University, Professor Leo Eylar begins his final series of concerts before retiring at the end of the semester. On Tuesday, March 13, the concert features an action-packed program featuring Rossini’s La Gaza Ladra Overture, Grieg’s evocative Norwegian Dances and, led by assistant conductor Maxwell Kiesner, Mozart’s Prague Symphony No. 38. The Tuesday, May 8, concert features Concertmaster Ardalan Gharachorloo, with Maestro Eylar concluding the concert – and his Sac State career – with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

Classical music is the focus when Sac State’s Symphony Orchestra performs at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 13. The group comes back for an encore concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 8.

MosaicThe School of Music’s MOSAIC concert brings out the best in its students. (Sacramento State/Craig Koscho)

The Concert Band presents its first performance of the season at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 14. It later joins forces with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble for a double concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 9.

The University’s acclaimed Piano Series opens its spring season with Michael Rickman at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17. Rickman has performed at venues around the world, including in New York, Paris, and London, and he has been described as “a resourceful and sensitive pianist.” During his Sacramento Concert, Rickman will perform works by Bach, Schubert, and Ravel.

The series continues at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, with Jon Nakamatsu, a gold medalist at the 10th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Nakamatsu has toured throughout the United States and Europe, and his Sac State program includes works by Clementi, Beethoven, and Brahms.

Adam Neiman closes out the series at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21. Neiman received the Rubinstein Award upon his graduation from Juilliard and has performed around the world at venues in Belgrade, Serbia; Chicago; San Francisco; Italy; and Germany. The April 21 performance features works by Brahms and Schubert.

Tickets for each concert are $20 general admission and $15 for seniors and students.

A guest concert will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, April 2, featuring Dennette Derbisova McDermott on Baroque flute and Douglas Bakenhus on Baroque bassoon. Both have performed at venues around the world in Russia, Spain, Slovakia, and Honduras, among many other countries.

The Sac State Chamber Music Group will perform a variety of classical chamber works beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in Capistrano 151. This concert also includes the annual Watson Chamber Music Competition.

The Robert S. Dinsmore Opera Scholarship Competition presents terrific vocal music for free at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 8, in Capistrano 151. The presentation celebrates the vocal talents of Sac State students pursuing careers in opera.

Take a trip halfway around the globe when the School of Music presents South Indian vocalist Sikkil C. Gurucharan at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 29. It’s part of the World Music Series. Tickets are $15 general admission, $12 seniors, and $8 students.

The Baroque orchestra Sinfonia Spirituosa performs at 8 p.m. Monday, April 30. Directed by music Professor Lorna Peters, the ensemble features many School of Music alumni.

Sacramento State’s Opera Theatre presents “Opera in Disguise,” two bright comedies in one production at 8 p.m. Friday, May 4, and 2 p.m. May 5-6. First is Petit’s Le Jeu de l’Amour et du Hasard (The Game of Love and Chance). When a couple whose engagement has been prearranged finally get the chance to meet, they resort to disguises to learn more about each other.

Then, in Donizetti’s Il Campanello (The Night Bell), a doctor has his wedding night interrupted by a string of demanding patients, all of whom are the same person – his new bride’s former lover.

This is a fully staged production presented on the main stage of the University Theatre with orchestra and English supertitles. Tickets are $15 general, $12 seniors, and $8 students.

Declared among the best college jazz vocal ensembles by both Downbeat magazine and the Monterey Jazz Festival, Sac State’s Vocal Jazz Ensembles will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, May 11.

The University’s premier Baroque ensemble, Camerata Capistrano, will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 13.

The season concludes as always with the most charming ensemble around, Sacramento State’s String Project. Children and young people receive affordable lessons in the violin or cello from the University’s music students. They’ll present their annual – and free – spring concert at 7 p.m. Monday, May 14.

Except where noted, concerts are held at the Capistrano Concert Hall and ticket prices are $10 general, $7 for seniors, and $5 for students. Tickets are available at the University Ticket Office, csus.edu/hornettickets or (916) 278-4323.

For more information on the School of Music, its events or programs, visit csus.edu/music or call (916) 278-5155.

PhoenixTheatre and Dance has six productions scheduled this semester. (Sacramento State/Craig Koscho)

Theatre and Dance

What better way to celebrate spring than with dance. The University Dance Company presents Dance Sites Spring 2018, directed by Professor Philip Flickinger and presented on the main stage of the University Theatre. Dance Sites Spring 2018 gives students more space and a chance for choreographers to incorporate the One World initiative theme of Community in a multitude of definitions. Performances are at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21-22; 8 p.m. Feb. 23-24; and 2 p.m. Feb. 25.

Themes of identity, assimilation, and culture clash in Les Blancs, playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s examination of colonial Africa in the late 19th century. Updated to explore current relationships among African, European, and American people, and set at a mission in a fictional country, Les Blancs incorporates dance and music to reflect African culture. Co-directed by College of Arts and Letters Associate Dean Melinda Wilson Ramey and guest artist Lisa Thew, Les Blancs will be staged at Playwrights’ Theatre at 8 p.m. March 7-10, 16 and 17; 6:30 p.m. March 14-15; and 2 p.m. March 11 and 18.

When the supernatural denizens of the forest decide to play with the emotions of four young lovers, it leads to mischief, mishaps, and merriment. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, will be performed on the University Theatre’s main stage under the direction of instructor Christine Nicholson. Performances are at 6:30 p.m. April 11 and 19; 8 p.m. April 13, 14, and 21; and 2 p.m. April 15 and 22.

The eighth annual Sacramento Dance Sampler brings members of professional dance companies from across the region together in Solano 1010 Dancespace for a buffet of numbers in dynamic “unplugged” dance concerts. Performances are at 2 and 7 p.m. April 14-15. Tickets are $12 for everyone.

From start to finish, Theatre students take charge of the annual Senior Showcase. This year’s presentation is John Cariani’s Love/Sick, a collection of nine hilarious and slightly twisted vignettes on love. Directed by Michelle Felten, this slightly darker cousin to Cariani’s popular Almost, Maine runs at 6:30 p.m. April 26 and May 3; 8 p.m. April 27 and May 4; and 2 p.m. April 28 and May 5, at Playwrights’ Theatre.

Sac State dance majors take their finals in May and everyone’s invited to watch. Senior Dance Concert 2018 is the concert where the students put all they’ve learned onstage. Each student designs, choreographs, auditions, and stages their individual pieces from beginning to end. Directed by Interim Department Chair Lorelei Bayne and Professor Bernard Brown, Senior Dance Concert 2018 runs 6:30 p.m. May 3 and 10; 2 p.m. May 5 and 12; and 8 p.m. May 4, 5, 11, and 12.

Except where noted, tickets for 6:30 p.m. performances are $15 general admission, $12 for seniors and students, and $10 for children. All other performances are $18 general, $15 for seniors and students, and $12 for children.

Tickets are available at the University Ticket Office, csus.edu/hornettickets or (916) 278-4323.

For more information about the Theatre and Dance Department’s events and programs, visit csus.edu/dram or call (916) 278-6368.

Ceramics of all sizes, shapes, and styles will fill the University Library Gallery. (Photo by James Key)


Sacramento State Art Professor Scott Parady curates “Concurrent/Conventions: A Spectrum of Contemporary Ceramics,” this spring’s exhibit at the University Library Gallery. From utilitarian wares to pop culture objects to classically inspired pieces to large installation objects, “Concurrent/Conventions” features works by 18 established artists and runs Thursday, Feb. 15, through Friday, May 18. A special reception will be held 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 15, and a lecture and panel discussion will be held 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 12. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Collective spiritual consciousness, shared idealism, dogma, and symbolism will be explored in the free, interactive exhibit “All Exaltations: Meditations in Sculpture.” Artist Andrew Connelly’s mixed media sculptural installation work, curated by Diana L. Daniels, runs Monday, Jan. 22, through Friday, Feb. 9, at the Robert Else Gallery. Acrylic, aluminum, wood, and steel are used to create sculptures with bell-like forms and religious symbols dramatically staged for the exhibition. A gallery talk/interview and reception will be held 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1.

Palestine Unlimited features photographic works by 10 finalists from the Bethlehem-based Karimeh Abboud Competition. The photographers, most in their early 20s, come from all over historic Palestine, and their works offer a look at the day-to-day lives of young people there. The exhibit runs Monday, Feb. 19, through Wednesday, March 7, at the Else Gallery and is curated by SacramentoBethlehem Sister City. Gallery hours are noon to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Regular hours for the Else Gallery are noon to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Mapping Art History” is the topic of this year’s Art History Symposium, Saturday, April 14. Twenty-first century art history, increasingly global, relies on mapping to explore transnational and pre-national connections among visual cultures, art objects, and artists.

Guest speakers are John Lopez, assistant professor at UC Davis; Hillary Olcott, assistant curator of the arts of African, Oceania, and the Americas at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; and Jennifer Donnelly, Itinera project manager, history of art and architecture, University of Pittsburgh.

For more information about the Library Gallery, visit al.csus.edu/sota/ulg or call (916) 278-4189. For information about the University’s Art Department, visit al.csus.edu/art or call (916) 278-6166. – Craig Koscho