Chamber music, poetry, Ben Vereen and more
"Music in the Vineyards artists perform in the Cave Theater at the Clos Pegase winery in Calistoga, Calif."
by Louisa Hufstad
As the grape harvest gets under way in Napa County, there’s also a bountiful crop of arts events to savor this week — including free concerts, a multicultural poetry reading and the chance to get two-for-one tickets for a Ben Vereen show.
On Aug. 19, in the historic Cask Room at Merryvale Vineyards in St.Helena, the Music in the Vineyards festival presents a concert devoted to the legacy of Franz Joseph Hayden. The evening will include Haydn’s Piano Trio in C Major, “The Master and the Pupil” for piano four-hands and String Quartet in D Major “The Lark,” along with tributes to the composer by Debussy, Dukas, Hahn, d’Indy, Ravel, Widor and Brahms. Tickets are $50, available by calling (707) 258-5559. The acclaimed chamber-music festival, now celebrating its 15th season, also offers a free open rehearsal Aug. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, 1088 College Ave. in St. Helena. Don’t worry about dressing up for a Music in the Vineyards concert, where anyone can feel comfortable in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. “We’re an approachable music festival,” says Natasha Biasell, the festival’s public-relations director. “That’s really what makes us different than any other chamber festival. We’re not uppity.”
Find out more about the festival and its performers at www.napavalleymusic.org
On Aug. 20, Napa County Poet Laureate Gary Silva hosts a bilingual poetry reading in the Community Room of the Napa City-County Library. Several local poets and readers will present their own works and those of others in Spanish and in English translation. If time permits, an “open mike” will be offered to audience members who are invited to bring a favorite poem and translation to read aloud. The free event runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at 580 Coombs St. in downtown Napa: ww.co.napa.ca.us/Library/
If you’d rather hear a contemporary sculptor discuss his work on Thursday, the di Rosa art ranch in Carneros is teaming up with San Francisco’s public-broadcasting powerhouse KQED to present an evening with eclectic ceramicist Richard Shaw, complete with a wine and cheese reception. The event runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the di Rosa’s Gatehouse Gallery, where you can also view vibrant abstract paintings by Mike Henderson, whose “New Work” exhibition runs through Sept. 19. 5200 Sonoma Highway, Napa; (707) 226-5991, www.dirosaart.org
On Aug. 21 in downtown Napa’s recently-refurbished Veterans Memorial Park, the Napa City Nights series of free Friday concerts continues from 6:30 to 10 p.m. with music by the Soul Project, Allison Scull & Victor Martin and Body or Brain, which recently beat seven other local groups in the Napa Battle of the Bands.
For Broadway buffs, song-and-dance man Ben Vereen stars in “An Intimate Evening of Broadway with Ben Vereen” on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville. Tickets are $29 to $59, but you can score two-for-one by calling the box office in advance ( 707-944-1300) to say you’re a fan of Napa’s Dreamweavers Theatre Troupe, the award-winning all-volunteer community drama group that’s been entertaining local audiences for more than 20 years. Lincoln Theater Napa Valley, 100 California Dr., Yountville; www.lincolntheater.org
These are just a few of the arts events enlivening the Napa Valley this week. For more, visit the Master Arts and Culture Calendar at the Arts Council Napa Valley Web site: www.nvarts.org