Can there really be live concerts of oboe, cello, and guitar for the price of a movie? How about Schubert’s piano sonatas, lively contemporary brass, authentic folk singing and amazing tenor/soprano duets … for the cost of two lattes?
That’s the intriguing proposition of the El Dorado Community Concert Association, whose 2012-13 season brings six professional musical productions to the western slope.
Beginning in October, one nationally acclaimed act will appear each month (except December), at Union Mine High School in El Dorado.
The one-time $60 ($20 for students) membership card works for all the concerts.
“Ten bucks for this kind of quality is rare,” said Earnest Holmes, a long time member with a dusty banjo at home. “It’s been like that, top-drawer all the way, as far back as I can remember.”
That would be 60 years. Originally formed under the auspices of a national concert association, the El Dorado group has been independent for years.
“When the national organization disappeared, we just kept going,” said Normadene Carpenter, membership chairwoman. “We screened national and regional talent, and became impresarios for our own productions. It has worked out great. Now, of course, the acts seek us out.”
Carpenter pauses. “You know, I’ve had this job 42 years and it just gets better every year.”
Has this maven of memberships grown weary of selling concert passes?
“Marketing the memberships is truly enjoyable,” she smiled. “There is so much enthusiasm for the finer music around here.”
She remembers when the program was strictly classical music, and was welcomed by the foothill music-lovers who couldn’t easily get to San Francisco or even to downtown Sacramento.
Keeping the quality standards high, the directors (24 of them) have expanded the music genres into contemporary, international, folk and, of course, classical piano and chamber music.
Travel isn’t necessary anymore, local attractions are popular everywhere.
Other concert associations, such as Folsom’s Three Stages, and numerous Northern California community concert associations (also remnants of the defunct national organization) continue to thrive.
“People have a natural appetite for good community musical programs,” Carpenter added.
Two new board members have discovered producing the program season isn’t for the uninspired.
Fortunately, Jennette Maynard and Carol Nordquist love the work.
“Everybody is a volunteer,” enthused Maynard. “Each of us contacts members from previous years for renewal, and welcomes new faces, too.”
She likes the management, too.
“It’s efficient, really tight. All the monies stay in the budget, there’s no ticket agencies or commercial services involved,” Maynard said.
Nordquist, a lifelong educator and international consultant, sees potential outreach to young people.
“The parents and grandparents love the performances,” Nordquist said. “And that isn’t lost on the children. It’s wonderful that these world-renown acts are performed in a local school.”
Lining up the proper talent is the work of six other committee members.
October features Tingstad and Rumble’s oboe, guitar, English horn and ocarina offerings. November will bring classical pianist James D’Leon with his Schubert sonatas. January showcases the Sonic Escape! trio (formerly Silver Roots), Juilliard-trained musicians with cello, violin and flute. February will present the lively quintet, Presidio Brass; followed by March’s Gabriel Silva and Sue Ann Pinner, the noted tenor and soprano duo; capped off by the folk singing sensation William Florian in April.
All concerts in the 2012-13 season will be held at the Union Mine High School, Theater at the Mine, 6530 Koki Lane in El Dorado, at 7 p.m.
For more information call membership chairwoman Normadene Carpenter at 530-622-4218.