Guest Artists Series

Come enjoy outstanding performances in our intimate venue!

 

 

2017 Guest Artists Performance Series

 

(A Kitty and Creek Norris Production!)

 The calendar:

 All the full scoop on each of our world famous Guest Artists is listed below, so please scroll down for information on the treats in store for you!

NEXT UP:

Sunday September 10th at 2 pm

Ramana Vieira Fado Ensemble

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3064413

 

Ramana Vieira Ensemble is Ramana Vieira on Vocals,  Brad Bivens on Guitar, Ela Polak on Violin, and Steve Fowler on Bass. 

 

Ramana Vieira has been described by Mundo Portugues newspaper as the “New Voice of Portuguese World Music.” She has headlined the world’s largest Portuguese festival, the New Bedford Portuguese Feast in Massachusetts, and has performed at the 2010 Encontro Festival in Macau. One of her original songs, “Unido Para Amar,” was played for the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremony, and she was chosen to submit to sing for the 50th Grammy Awards special MusiCares benefit honoring Aretha Franklin. She also is a prolific songwriter having penned her own original Fado inspired tunes, teaming up with some of the most award winning luso-Poets.

Fado, the most widely recognized music of Portugal, is a passionate, soul-stirring music with soaring vocals and dramatic tales of love, loss and redemption. Legendary fadista Amália Rodriguez popularized fado in the 20th century, and today, platinum-selling Portuguese singers Ana Moura and Mariza are selling out concert halls in the US. The New York Times has recognized Ramana Vieira as an American at the forefront of the fado resurgence.

According to Ramana, “nobody else is doing what we are doing with fado.” Part of her innovative approach to the music is in the instrumentation. Traditionally, fado was music for voice and the guitarra Portuguesa, a 12-string guitar derived from a type of African lute. But as Larry Rohter of The New York Times has noted, “Conservatory-trained singer Ramana Vieira adds a New Age sensibility and instrumentation to the music with cello and drums.”

Ramana’s personal relationship to fado music lies deep in her family history, as her grandfather was a well-known musician and composer from Madeira Island, Portugal. Ramana was born in San Leandro, California, to Portuguese immigrants, and was exposed to the voices of Portugal’s past at a young age. “During my childhood, I sang with my mother to Amália Rodgrigues and other fabulous fadistas that were part of her special record collection,” said Ramana.

Her passion for music continued as she matured and eventually she attended the American Conservatory Theatre where she did her vocal training with Faith Winthrop, San Francisco’s grande dame of song and one of the most respected singers and vocal coaches on the scene today. Along with singing, Ramana studied drama and dance as well as performing in theatrical productions.

Although she had dreams of a Broadway career, her direction shifted abruptly when a famous music producer inspired her to embrace her Portuguese roots. Shortly after that she found herself on an unexpected journey to Portugal where she had the opportunity to perform with the local fado singers and musicians, bringing the house to its feet with her authentic, yet individual style. “It was there I discovered that there was nothing in the world more gratifying to me than singing fado.”

“The new voice of Portuguese World music” – Antonio Olilveira, Mundo Portuguese, NYC
2015 International Portuguese Music Awards Nominee

 

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3064413

 

 

RAMANA VIEIRA CONTINUES TO DELIVER THE ESSENCE OF FADO!

Ramana Vieira recently completed a successful series of shows in California at the world acclaimed Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, the Fenix in Marin and SFLive Arts in San Francisco, as well as just taught at the prestigious JazzCampWest in La Honda, Ca.

She also performed for the Bernie Saunders Presidential Campaign in Berkeley, Ca. in May 2016.

Vieira, who recently released a new album, Fado da Vida, has been described by Mundo Portugues newspaper as the “New Voice of Portuguese World Music.” She has headlined the world’s largest Portuguese festival, the New Bedford Portuguese Feast in Massachusetts, and performed at the 2010 Encontro Festival in Macau. One of her original songs, “Unido Para Amar,” was played during the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremony. Vieira was also chosen to sing for the 50th Grammy Awards special MusiCares benefit honoring Aretha Franklin, and was invited by United States Congressman Jim Costa to perform for the president of the Azores, alongside the internationally acclaimed guitarrista and artist Chico Avila. The opening track of her new album, “Cabo Verde,” was nominated as Best World Music Song at the 2015 International Portuguese Music Awards. She was also recently nominated for best fado with “Ai Mouraria” with the International Portuguese Music Awards in 2016. She has been written up in the New York Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and a variety of newspapers, magazines, blogs and media across the Globe.

 

 

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3064413

 

BPT Ticket Sales Close 2 Hours Before the Show Begins, so get your tickets early, or at the door!

Tickets also available:

In Person at Mazahar,

by phone any time 1-800-838-3006.

Also at the door if not sold out.

Advance tickets online, by 800# phone and at Mazahar close 2 hours before the show opens, so get your seats early or show up at the door to claim any unsold seats.

This series is all Open Seating. If you wish to have Accessible Seating in “Row A” ~ no stairs ~ please make sure to let us know when you purchase your tickets

We are grateful to our Season Underwriters: Les Schwab Tire Center of Willits and Willits Furniture

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October 22, 2017 at 2 pm ~ Cassie and Maggie MacDonald

in Concert

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Sunday, November 5th at 2 pm ~ SonoMusette in Concert!

SonoMusette recaptures the moody, melancholic sound and spirit of mid twentieth-century Paris. French chanteuse, musette accordion, gypsy-jazz guitar, upright bass, and drum kit combine to revive the enchanting songs of that era. This music has retained its power to charm and transport listeners, and SonoMusette taps that nostalgia with artistry in both vocals and instrumentation. Inspired by the great performers of that era, such as Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, and Django Reinhardt, along with contemporary artists such as Zaz, SonoMusette brings bal-musette to the “moderne” era.

Mimi Pirard • vocalist Robert Lunceford • accordion Richard Andrews • drums
Jan Martinelli • upright bass Jason Briggs • guitar

Reviving the enchanting sounds of the music of mid-20th-century Paris, SonoMusette combines French chanteuse, musette accordion, gypsy-jazz guitar, upright bass and drums to deliver a moody, melancholy and magical night of music. Gleaning inspiration from great performers of the past — artists like Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel and Django Reinhardt — and contemporary artists like Zaz, SonoMusette taps into musical nostalgia to bring their bal-musette sound to the “moderne” era.  SonoMusette takes listeners to the great music that sprang from French cafés, bringing to Willits Community Theater an afternoon of passionate and romantic songs. Parisian musette reached its zenith in the 1930s, but whether it’s singer Edith Piaf, accordionist Gus Viseur, or guitarist Django Reinhardt’s classic tunes, the style resonates today as well. SonoMusette sprang up in Sonoma County in 2016 out of the joy of playing those songs and music inspired by that style, from Jacques Brel to Zaz. This music has retained its power to charm and transport listeners, and SonoMusette taps that nostalgia with artistry in both vocals and instrumentation.
The group features musicians who have played in an array of popular listening and dance bands around the Bay Area. Singer Mimi Pirard spent her youth in Paris, where she learned many of these songs. Before SonoMusette, she and her brother Gabe led the popular North Bay world fusion band Dgiin. The rest of the band is accordionist Robert Lunceford, bassist and pianist Jan Martinelli, guitarist and bassist Jason Briggs, and drummer Richard Andrews.


Mimi Pirard • vocalist
French-American singer, Mimi Pirard, has a passion for reviving songs from times gone by as sung by Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, and their contemporaries. As a young child, her father’s work led Mimi’s family to travel the world before they settled in France when she was seven.
At age thirteen Mimi began her singing career as a member of a local music association, learning to harmonize melodies and take leading roles performing traditional and contemporary French songs. At age seventeen she moved to California where she and her brother, Gabe, began performing regularly at local venues.

Mimi and Gabe formed the popular band, Dgiin, which earned The North Bay Music Awards, “Best World Band”, for it’s unique, high energy mix of gypsy, flamenco, with a touch of funk. Their repertoire included songs in French, Spanish, and English. Mimi later helped found the band, Hand Me Down, where Latin and Caribbean rhythms intertwined with rich three-part harmonies.

Today Mimi sings with the band, SonoMusette, where she explores and exudes her favorite musical styles and songs. Her interpretations of these timeless French classics provide a freshness and excitement that is contemporary, yet faithful to the spirit and tradition of the original renditions.

Robert Lunceford • accordion
Robert was born on Bastille Day in Maywood, California, located on the west bank of the
Los Angeles River. He began playing the accordion at age seven while growing up in the Los Angeles suburb of Huntington Park. Robert’s musical interests have strongly focused on European and traditional music. He has played with numerous traditional Celtic music groups including the Los Angeles based band, Reel to Reel, and Sonoma County’s Atlantic Shore.

Robert took a ten year break from live performance, turning his interests to the technical side of live-music production. In 1996 he founded his own live-sound reinforcement company, Authentic Audio & Sound. Robert has engineered well over 500 live-music concerts and has recorded and engineered several studio albums.

Robert returned to live music performance in 2009, forming the French music trio, Un Deux Trois, for which he composes and arranges much of the band’s music. He is also a member of the French-Italian music trio, La Guinguette.
Serving as musical director for Cinnabar Theater’s 2014 production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, as well as the 2015 production of Edith Piaf: Beneath Paris Skies, Robert was nominated for “Best Musical Direction” by the Bay Area Theater Critics Circle.
Robert co-founded SonoMusette with singer Mimi Pirard, debuting the group in February 2016.

Jan Martinelli • upright bass and piano
A native San Franciscan, Jan has toured and performed with numerous bands and artists at major festivals and performance halls throughout the country. Known for her stylistic range from Latin, jazz, and funk to blues and folk, her soulful approach to the bass can be heard on more than 30 albums.

Jan appeared on the cover of Southwest Airline’s inflight magazine, Spirit, in an article “Women & Jazz” and has played major jazz festivals such as Aspen, Barbados, Monterey, San Francisco, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Jan most recently played bass in Cinnabar Theater’s productions Edith Piaf: Under Paris Skies and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Along with SonoMusette, Jan currently performs with French music trio, Un Deux Trois, and has been touring nationally with Holly Near since 2012.

Jason Briggs • guitar and upright bass
Jason began playing guitar at age fifteen while living in Southern Arkansas. Jamming in the kitchen, his father taught Jason to play the blues. Relocating to Southern California, he fueled a passion for rock/metal/garage music and spent countless hours jamming with cohorts in garages and other improvised rehearsal spaces.

Jason spent several years in the music department at Santa Rosa Junior College studying classical guitar and jazz improvisation. Upon the recommendation of a friend, Jason listened to the legendary Django Reinhardt and was forever transformed. He began pursuing the “Gypsy Jazz” style with a single-minded focus that has continued to this day.
Jason was a member of the Pirate-Folk band, The Crux, and played upright bass on their first release “Now Ferment”, sharing in their North Bay Bohemian award for “Best Indie Band, 2008”.
Jason founded the Gypsy Jazz band, Hot Club Beelzebub, winning the North Bay Bohemian award for “Best Jazz Band, 2012”.

Richard Andrews • drums
A California native, Richard began playing in garage/experimental/dance bands at the ripe age of thirteen. Richard performed orchestral and chamber music while studying at UC Berkeley, then switched to guitar during San Francisco’s frenetic performance art rock scene of the early 80s. Since then he has formed collaborative projects focused on writing and recording, performed regularly on drums in jazz groups around the Bay Area and abroad, and worked with Petaluma-based Americana band, Driftwood.
Richard’s frequent trips to Paris have inspired a deep interest in French popular music of the early 20th century – especially the reanimation of the era’s classic songs in a modern context

website: http://www.sonomusette.com/
video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oxZlOrgyJw

Tickets for all Guest Artists Performances at WCT will be available for purchase online through Brown Paper Tickets.

BPT Ticket Sales Close 2 Hours Before the Show Begins, so get your tickets early, or at the door!

Tickets also available:

In Person at Mazahar,

by phone any time 1-800-838-3006.

Also at the door if not sold out.

Advance tickets online, by 800# phone, and at Mazahar close 2 hours before the show opens, so get your seats early, or show up to claim any unsold seats at the door.

This series is all Open Seating. If you wish us to save an Accessible Seat in “Row A” ~ no stairs ~ please phone WCT at 707-459-0895 (leave a message) or email wct@willitsonline.com

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Saturday December 2 at 7 pm

and

Sunday December 3 at 2 pm

Mendocino Dance Project

Two chances to catch their outstanding performances!

photo credit Larry Wagner

Mendocino Dance Project is a contemporary dance company with an athletic and dynamic style that produces thought inspired work, on and off the ground. Watch personal stories unfold through layers of movement, witness the beauty and strength of dancers twirling and flipping in space, contemplate what it is this company says in motion. For more information, visit mendocinodanceproject.com.

photo credit Catherine Vibert

Quotes from our fans:

“Gorgeous ! Raw! Stunning! Powerful! Hilarious! Sexy! Skillful! Unique ! & simply Amazing!!”

“…was blown away by the first class choreography, grace, athleticism, and flawless moves of the dancers.”

“Emotionally engaging, humorous, dynamic, smooth, fluid, heart-breaking–gorgeous dancing.”

photo credit Catherine Vibert

photo credit Larry Wagner

BPT Ticket Sales Close 2 Hours Before the Show Begins, so get your tickets early, or at the door!

Tickets also available:

In Person at Mazahar,

by phone any time 1-800-838-3006.

Also at the door if not sold out.

Advance tickets online, by 800# phone and at Mazahar close 2 hours before the show opens, so get your seats early or show up at the door to claim any unsold seats.

This series is all Open Seating. If you wish to have Accessible Seating in “Row A” ~ no stairs ~ please make sure to let us know when you purchase your tickets

We are grateful to our Season Underwriters: Les Schwab Tire Center of Willits and Willits Furniture

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saturday December 9th at 8 pm

and

Sunday December 10th at 3 pm

Two exciting shows!

Yaelisa Caminos Flamencos

more details to come!

 

BPT Ticket Sales Close 2 Hours Before the Show Begins, so get your tickets early, or at the door!

Tickets also available:

In Person at Mazahar,

by phone any time 1-800-838-3006.

Also at the door if not sold out.

Advance tickets online, by 800# phone and at Mazahar close 2 hours before the show opens, so get your seats early or show up at the door to claim any unsold seats.

This series is all Open Seating. If you wish to have Accessible Seating in “Row A” ~ no stairs ~ please make sure to let us know when you purchase your tickets

We are grateful to our Season Underwriters: Les Schwab Tire Center of Willits and Willits Furniture

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Come enjoy outstanding performances in our intimate venue!

 

Tickets for all Guest Artists Performances at WCT will be available for purchase online through Brown Paper Tickets.

BPT Ticket Sales Close 2 Hours Before the Show Begins, so get your tickets early, or at the door!

Tickets also available:

In Person at Mazahar,

by phone any time 1-800-838-3006.

Also at the door if not sold out.

Advance tickets online, by 800# phone, and at Mazahar close 2 hours before the show opens, so get your seats early, or show up to claim any unsold seats at the door.

This series is all Open Seating. If you wish us to save an Accessible Seat in “Row A” ~ no stairs ~ please phone WCT at 707-459-0895 (leave a message) or email wct@willitsonline.com

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Guest Artists Performance Series is Produced by Kitty & Creek Norris. We welcome your suggestions on Artists to bring into the series and to our Community. Please send us a note through the website, mail or phone!

Contact WCT

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thank you to Les Schwab Tire Center of Willits and to Willits Furniture Center/La Bodega  for underwriting our 2016 season!

https://www.lesschwab.com/store/ca/willits/637

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 We are delighted and very proud to announce that

Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Frankfurter

McKasson & McDonald

Cassie & Maggie MacDonald

2017 Concerts at WCT 

are Sponsored by

Jenny new logoFB

 Travel Agency of Willits