Arts with Altitude: Music, festivals and theater in Nevada County

DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION, movie watching boomed as people craved escapism. In the recent recession, film, theater and festivals also are flourishing in many cities, with robust ticket sales.

Foothills’ performing arts groups also report an uptick in business. “We’re ahead of budget,” says Julie Hardin, executive director of InConcert Sierra in Grass Valley. InConcert Sierra already is promoting its upcoming 2011-12 season. Highlights include Garrick Ohlsson, the Grammy-award winning pianist in January. The winner of the Tchaikovsky international violin competition also will perform, and there will be a sing- along to The Sound of Music this summer.

The Sierra Master Chorale will present Voices of Spring on May 15, conducted by Maestro Ken Hardin. An instrumental ensemble will join the chorale to perform the Vivaldi Gloria, Mozard Te Deum and many chorale favorites.

On June 19, pianist Joel Fan lives up to InConcert Sierra’s motto, “Classical music to rock your world!” Steinway artist Fan has collaborated with cellist Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.

Enjoy the ambiance of historic downtown Grass Valley at Sierra Festival of the Arts, featuring fine art, jewelry and sidewalk drawings on Memorial Day weekend, Sunday, May 29, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. More than 50 artists will make this a cultural destination. While viewing the art, you can stroll down Mill Street—closed to vehicle traffic—listening to live music or choose a snack from food vendors. Sierra FoodWineArt is a proud sponsor. For more information, call 530-272-8315 or go to

Sierra Stages presents A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum from July 14 to July 31 at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City. Broadway’s greatest farce is light, fast-paced, witty, irreverent and one of the funniest musicals ever written and one of the fussiest musicals ever written—the perfect escape from life’s troubles.

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