Musical Performances Inspired by the Sierra Valley Fueling Youth Art Education
Original Commissioned Album by Musica Sierra’s Headwaters Inspired Arts & Education Program as performed by Grammy Award-winning choir
September 29 in Reno at the Nevada Museum of Art September 30 at Diamond S Ranch in Sierra Valley
SIERRA VALLEY, Calif. (August 30, 2023) – Inspired by the landscape of the Sierra Valley, Musica Sierra’s Headwaters Inspired Arts & Education program premieres its artist-in-residency community performance as a direct benefit to the more than 700 students of the Sierra-Plumas Unified School District and the surrounding community. As the sole provider of music education for the counties, Musica Sierra commissions an original classical piece, bringing together some of the most innovative musicians and composers in the country to work side-by-side with the students for an immersive and educational experience. New in 2023 are two public performances featuring songs from the album by this year’s artists in residence and Grammy© Award-winning trio, Chanticleer, scheduled to take place September 29th in Reno, Nevada, at the Nevada Museum of Art and September 30th at Diamond S Ranch in Sierra Valley, California, located about 45 minutes from Reno.
Establishing the Headwaters Inspired Arts & Education Program, Musica Sierra has taken the impact of performing arts and merged it with the open ranchland landscapes of the valleys and the towering Sierras using this as inspiration for the original pieces. Since 2019, Musica Sierra has challenged and engaged with numerous world-class musicians to inspire the region through community-building programming, new commissions and music education.
“To say we want to inspire may sound common. However, that’s exactly what these immersive programs are designed to do for the youth and the attendees – and it works,” said Lindsay McIntosh, executive director and Juilliard-trained oboist. “The resident musicians spend a week in the Sierra Valley region soaking in the views of the pristine headwaters of the middle fork of the Feather River, performing, educating, and working with the local youth to become stewards of the earth through classical arts. Our programming fosters a greater understanding of the power of music and arts in connecting us to the earth we walk on. Our premiere program, Musical Headwaters, also brings all of this together with our Musical Field Journal
The water theme provides an opportunity for educational concerts, interactive learning experiences, and academic conversations following the performances for a deeper understanding of the role of music and nature. The group, Chanticleer, will spend a week in the Sierra Valley performing educational concerts for the students, families, and community members of Sierra-Plumas County and opening an opportunity for surrounding communities to support the program by attending one of two public performances.
The residency program, education component, and performances are supported by local, regional, and statewide environmentally aligned agencies, including The Feather River Land Trust and Rob Wade, program coordinator and trainer, Outdoor Education and NGSS Plumas County Office of Education, Trout Unlimited, The Feather River Land Trust, Fish and Wildlife, Parks and Recreation and Plumas Audubon Society.
Musica Sierra resides in the rural terrain of Sierra and Plumas counties of the eastern Sierras and is the sole music and arts education provider for California’s second-largest county, supporting historically underserved Title One demographics at no cost. These programs include age 0-5 early childhood development classes, K-12 in-class weekly general music education, and in-class live performances from world-class musicians. Musica Sierra created Musical Headwaters to directly engage with students and the community through place-based education, bringing together the performing arts and outdoor education.
“For the performing arts to thrive, we must find opportunities to showcase our work to diverse and non-traditional audiences,” McIntosh said. “The partnership between nature and music allows us to bridge the gap between rural lifestyles and the performing arts. We have proven that two worlds are not mutually exclusive but have struggled to find a constructive coexistence. Our program finds a way to blend the best qualities of these two communities.”
To purchase tickets to the public performances and to learn more, visit MusicaSierra.org.
About Musica Sierra
Musica Sierra is a performing arts organization based in the Sierra Valley committed to enriching the cultural experience of Sierra County with world-class, year-round performances and music education, accessible and affordable for all.
About the Program
A river gurgles. Wind rushes. Branches creak. Snowflakes faintly fall. Every piece of the world has a sound. But if you listen really closely, you might also find that each of these pieces has a song. In Music of a silent world, Chanticleer sings the songs of the natural world and gives a voice to the otherwise voiceless rocks and stones and trees and rivers that share our planet with us. The program centers around a new arrangement of Majel Connery’s The Rivers are our Brothers. "The goal,” she says, “is to give nature a voice. I wanted to allow these vibrant things to speak on their own behalf." While inhabiting those voices, the program also explores what the world might be like without them. Repertoire includes music by William Byrd, Heinrich Isaac, and Max Reger, new arrangements of “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty and “The Weather” by Lawrence, and a new commission from Chanticleers's composer in residence, Ayanna Woods.
Chanticleer and Musica Sierra are co-commissioning a choral arrangement of the song cycle “The Rivers are our Brothers” by Majel Connery. The original intent of the piece was to, in Majel’s words, “give nature a voice” and to create an appreciation for that voice in our communities. The work was first performed in the Sierra Valley as part of Musica Sierra’s
Musical Headwaters program in 2021, and Majel’s music and text are inexorably linked with that area. Each movement represents a different part of the Sierra Nevada’s natural beauty, from its mountains to its forests, rocks, rivers, and snow banks. We believe that appreciation of these natural phenomena leads to understanding and valuation, leading to caring and protection.
During our 23/24 partnership, Chanticleer will present this piece as part of our national touring program in the 2023-2024 season (approximately 45 concerts); we will encourage as many people as possible to appreciate, value, and protect this unique landscape. Chanticleer is based in San Francisco, so our 12 singers know first-hand the grandeur and majesty of the Sierras, and we also feel first-hand the effects of climate change on those mighty mountains. Forest fires and drought are always on our minds, and we need everyone around the country, not just those living in California, to understand how climate change affects our livelihood. We need to foster an appreciation for our landscape in people around the country who have never experienced it.