Arts growing in Carson City too

Bypass. Ballet. Costco. Concerts. Business and industry. Theater and arts. At first glance, they may not seem to have much to do with one another. But as Carson City grows in some obvious ways, it's also growing in significant aspects that don't involve bulldozers.

The capital city's arts community is thriving right along with the rest of the its vital signs, and that's important to Carson City's maturity and the quality of life its residents want to maintain even as the population grows beyond small-town status.

That was the message offered last Sunday evening by Ron Daniels during a performance of the Concert Chamber Singers at the First United Methodist Church.

Daniels, a Carson City resident and former music director of the Reno Philharmonic, conceived the concert as a tribute to the performing arts organizations - some with long tenures, some relatively new - that are part of the foundation of the city's culture.

First, let me say the Concert Chamber Singers gave an inspired performance. Daniels, whose wife, Judy, is director of the group, stepped in as guest conductor to create a program that managed to be both moving and amusing.

I can't remember ever hearing a group cover such a range of material with such skill. I'm not sure they want me to mention the part about the kazoos, but I doubt if the Methodist Church will ever be the same.

The Chamber Singers have been around 15 years. They are best known for their annual Fourth of July concert with the Reno Philharmonic in Genoa.

The audience Sunday night filled the church with family and friends of the singers, but many were there also by invitation to represent the arts organizations being recognized. It was a pretty friendly bunch, though.

The groups are:

- Brewery Arts Center, the city's official arts center and the hub of much of what goes on. It hosts more than 130 cultural events a year, as well as workshops and classes for children and adults. There is a theater, the Artisans Store and, in the same building at King and Division streets, the King Street Gallery. The director is Joe McCarthy. If you want to know more, call 883-1976.

- Capital City Municipal Band, founded in 1978 by its director, Richard Doede. The all-volunteer band performs three formal concerts a year in Boldrick Theater and is sponsored by the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department. For information, call 883-2219.

- Carson City Symphony, incorporated in 1984 and comprising 55 professional and amateur musicians. Founder and conductor is David Bugli, who was the recipient of perhaps the most on-key rendition ever of "Happy Birthday" on Sunday by the Chamber Singers. The symphony, which also serves as the parent organization for the Chamber Singers, performs three classical and two pops concerts each year. Get more information at 883-4154.

- Pinkerton Academy of Dance, started in 1964 by Fern Pinkerton and owned and operated by Ayako Britt and Vickie McMaster since 1979. It offers classes for children and adults in ballet, jazz, tap, modern and Irish dance. The academy has produced the "Nutracker" ballet for 12 years. The phone number is 882-3054.

- Proscenium Players Inc., founded in 1965 and the second-oldest continuously operating theater in Nevada. The players present a variety of theatrical productions - children's shows, musicals, melodramas, experimental theater - and often offer classes in acting, directing and other aspects of the theater. Performances now usually take place at the Brewery Arts Center. Call them at 883-1976.

- Western Nevada Musical Theater Company since 1990 has produced more than 40 musical theater performances and seven dramatic works. It's part of Western Nevada Community College's performing arts program, and Stephanie Arrigotti is producer/artistic director. More information is available at 445-4249.

- Western Nevada Performing Arts Center, in operation for almost two years, offering lessons in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and musical theater. The director is Gina Kaskie-Davis, who is currently choreographer for the Western Nevada Musical Theater production of "South Pacific." Call 882-7485 for information.

Obviously, other groups perform in Carson City, but these are the foundation for most of the public performances each year. The nice thing is these groups reach across the community.

Most of you reading this probably know somebody who performs or volunteers with one of these groups.

Now, a symphony orchestra may not be able to offer beef jerky in bulk like a warehouse store. And theater companies don't generally help anyone bypass Carson City's bumper-to-bumper traffic.

But they are reasons people enjoy living here, and part of the reason companies agree that Carson City is a good place to locate.

Even if they don't usually involve bulldozers - or kazoos, for that matter.


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