Most Viewed Stories
State of the Arts: Scene in Yuba-Sutter 'is blossoming'
Rebekah Hood wears numerous hats in the Yuba-Sutter arts scene.
Hood is the co-founder and a musician for the Veridian Symphony Orchestra and teaches music at Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts. She is also project coordinator for the Marysville Every Child Can project that is bringing music back to two Marysville elementary schools through a donation from the Marysville Rotary Club.
"My main aim is that people love music. If they play for two days, two months or 15 years, if they are still loving music, then I feel like I've done my job," Hood said.
Marika Garcia, executive director of the Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council, has similar enthisiasm for the arts.
Even though funding has been cut back since 2009, she said the council is finding ways to do more with less.
"We are really using it (Lee Burrows Center for the Arts) way more than we ever have before," Garcia said.
The arts council is relying more than ever on volunteers, said Lily Noonan, president of the board of directors. Noonan said she would love to see a funding increase so more programs can be added and so the Yuba-Sutter region can be marketed as a great arts destination.
But until the funding climate turns around, both Noonan and Garcia said they will continue to celebrate and promote a lively arts scene.
Both women point to the Art-O-Culture gallery on D Street as an example, with more than 40 artists, an in-house rock band and a steady stream of artwork customers from Yuba-Sutter and even Elk Grove, Sacramento and Chico. Noonan, the gallery's artistic director, said it also has live model drawing sessions, hosts a book club and is used by a theater company.
Noonan said she would like to see more commissioned public art in public spaces, more murals in town, more music festivals and stronger community support.
"Attendance is always an issue at events," Noonan said.
Despite that Noonan is excited about the future of the arts and points to The Cave Live, an all-ages music venue on Bridge Street in Yuba City that is scheduled for a grand opening Feb. 15, as an example of something new and positive happening in the Yuba-Sutter region.
Meanwhile, Hood says she is encouraged that the Yuba-Sutter Youth Symphony is performing four concerts a year and the Veridian Symphony Orchestra conducts five.
"I think it (the arts scene) is blossoming really beautifully right now," Hood said.
Pilot program returns music to schools
Music is in the classroom again at Kynoch Elementary School in Marysville.
Laughs and smiles fill the room as little fingers bounce up and down while learning to play the recorder.
Music teacher Dio Martinez, 54, of Oregon House listens with a trained ear as each student learns to play a series of notes.
The Marysville Every Child Can project kicked off Feb. 4 with more than 40 second- through fifth-grade students signed up for instrumental music classes at Kynoch or Covillaud elementary Schools. The Marysville Rotary Club raised and donated $10,000 to help fund the program the first year.
"We teach through repetition, review and positive reinforcement," said project coordinator Rebekah Hood. " Getting an instrument into a child's hands early on teaches them how to learn something independently."
Kynoch Principal Monica Oakes is thrilled to have music classes back at her school.
"I think it is the most wonderful thing to happen to our school in 10 years," Oakes said. "The kids aren't going to suffer academically. Music connects to all sorts of learning."
The Rotary Club's money was given to the Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council, which oversees the project and pays the teachers. Operating externally from the district, the test program's funding is not tied to a school budget and cannot be cut.
"Things are becoming more and more privatized so they can survive," Hood said. "If this pilot project succeeds we want to do it at other schools in the county."
The instruments are provided free of charge and came from other Marysville district schools that weren't using them. Students pay a fee of $20 and receive two hour-long sessions a week, and are encouraged to take the instruments home to practice.
The class has only met twice but Kynoch second-grader Madison Sortore, 8, already knows what she's looking forward to.
"My favorite part will be getting to learn songs," she said.
Martinez is one of the two instructors. He has been teaching music for decades and said teaching children gives him the chance to be creative as both a musician and a teacher.
"Once the child learns a song they enter a new world of possibilities," Martinez said. "Music works inside oneself. It changes the kids for the better even if they don't plan to be musicians."
Rotary backs music in schools
Marysville Rotary Club president Frank Sorgea worries that Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts has no feeder schools where music is being taught.
But Sorgea said he couldn't be happier about having a hand in bringing instrumental music back to the Marysville schools - Kynoch and Covillaud elementary schools.
"I'm having a hard time keeping the grin off my face," he said.
The project would not have been possible without the work of many people, Sorgea said. The Club raised and donated $10,000 to help fund the program the first year.
The Rotary Club plans to donate to the music program again next year to help preserve music programs in the Marysville district.
"I think in my heart I'm doing this to honor Joe Matthews, my music teacher," Sorgea said. "He started teaching me trumpet in the fourth grade at Tierra Buena School. There are a bunch of kids in the second- or third-grade that may pick up an instrument and make it a critical part of their life."
The students will perform a recital at the Lee Burrows Center for the Arts at the end of the school year.
Kynoch Principal Monica Oakes is pleased that the Marysville Rotary Club members saw a need and are able to help.
"In these dismal times of budget cuts they (Marysville Rotary Club) have been a rainbow," Oakes said.
Sutter Theater backers busy with renovation, projects
A black box theater is coming to a theater near you. The Sutter Theater in fact.
A large, black, flat-floored space with no permanent seating or stage, a black box theater can be transformed in any way imaginable for plays or performances.
"The black box theater will be wonderful for the community because it will bring art and culture to the downtown portion of Yuba City," Terri Tomlinson said, co-chair of the Sutter Performing Arts Association. "We are excited because it will allow us to showcase some of our local performers."
The Sutter Performing Arts Association has a busy 2013 planned, with demolition and construction to take place inside the Sutter Theater on Plumas Street. Volunteers with the Sutter Performing Arts Association will soon be removing an interior wall of the old Plumas Street moviehouse and turn two rooms into one large space for the black box theater.
Tomlinson said she hopes the black box theater will be completed by the end of 2013. The goal is to rent out the space six times in 2014.
The renovation is just one project planned this as volunteers work to bring the iconic theater back to life. Much more work on the rest of the building will still need to be done including upgrading or replacing the electrical, plumbing and the heating and air conditioning systems.
That's where the Masquerade Ball on April 13 comes in.
"It is our biggest fundraiser of the year. Last year we raised $13,000 and this year our goal is $15,000 to $20,000," Tomlinson said. "Fundraising has remained steady the past four or five years."
Other planned 2013 changes include relocating the doors to the black box theater from the sides to the center of the theater. Demolition of a bathroom off the lobby is also slated. The Theater Gallery will move into a much larger space with room for both resident and featured artists.
In 2012, the theater gallery's first year of operation, about 50 to 60 people attended the monthly First Thursday Artist Receptions. Five of the events included live music, and the goal is to have more music this year.
The gallery also grew tremendously in its first year of operation, from three volunteers to 11, and sold $8,000 of artwork. The gallery is booked through 2013.
"Artists need outlets. To be on a street like this (Plumas Street) where there is foot and street traffic is an awesome opportunity for them," Tomlinson said.
Father, son make most of local stage
John Trent first performed on stage as a 4-year-old jack-in-the-box. Jeremy, John's son, was 5 when he first played an evil Mini-Me Rudolph.
After kickstarting acting careers early in life, the Plumas Lake father-son duo has not slowed down. John Trent, 52, and Jeremy Trent, 21, have performed in 30 to 40 plays together, most of them written and directed by John.
After moving to Yuba-Sutter from Sacramento in 2005, the Trents starting performing at The Acting Company and have been sharing their creative performances ever since. In 2008 they co-wrote "Little Knights of the Round Table," and three years later John Trent started Breakaway Theatre Productions.
John Trent writes many plays with roles for his son in mind.
"Jeremy is versatile enough to pull off many different parts," John Trent said. "I may write something with him in mind but then cast him in a different role completely."
"Zorro" was written with Jeremy Trent in mind for the lead character but he ended up playing Dopey Sidekick. Jeremy Trent did play Robin Hood in three plays written by John.
"I don't really have any other theater buddies, it is me and my dad," Jeremy Trent said. "If I would have tried to do plays with other people they may not have given me all the same chances he did."
Both men agree there are few places they are happier than together on stage.
"I enjoy working with Jeremy on stage," John Trent said. "It's one of the things a parent and child can do through the teenage years and past."