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Livermore Experiment: Pulling Together

November 27, 2012

Bankhead Theater opening ceremony, 2007 Photo by Bill NaleIt's a continuing puzzle why performing arts organizations — all facing ongoing budget challenges — do not collaborate more. Pooling resources and sharing assets make good sense, but it rarely happens, and when it does, it's not sustained.

In the Tri-Valley area, the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center is trying at least phase one of cooperation, and the question is how successful and lasting it will be.

For now, however, four resident companies of the Bankhead Theater have pulled together in bringing symphonic works, opera and chamber music to the community at reduced prices, trying to bring in new audiences.

They offer a chance to hear one production of each company at a significantly discounted price. The four are the Livermore-Amador Symphony, founded 50 years ago; Del Valle Fine Arts, more than 30 years old; Livermore Valley Opera and Pacific Chamber Symphony are turning 25 this year and next, respectively.

Violinist Angel Kim, Livermore-Amador Symphony contest winner The organizations have their own boards, often with some common members, and are now actively pursuing how to work together to introduce classical music to a new audience.

As all groups now perform at the Bankhead Theater, conflicting schedules are a thing of the past.

And now, they have joined in a discount program. Here's the pitch:

Purchased separately, a mid-range single ticket for one performance from each of the groups would cost $154. This special offer allows the chance to buy a ticket sampler, one performance from each company, for only $92 per person, a savings of 40%. The groups encourage patrons who are already attending many performances to use this offer as a holiday gift for others.

At first reading, it's not entirely clear what $92 will buy, but following up with the organization resulted in the understanding that it's the cost of the sampler's four tickets, meaning a per-ticket cost of $23, which is pretty good.

Pianist Vivian Sung, the other winner Program information for the Classical Music Sampler is available at the Bankhead Theater website.

The sampler cannot be purchased online (something that should be remedied); instead, choose your tickets and call (925) 373-6800.

Otherwise, individual ticket prices are: Pacific Chamber Symphony: $35 to $50; Livermore Valley Opera: $39 to $74; Livermore-Amador Symphony: $23 to $29; and Del Valle Fine Arts: $25 to $39.

An attractive upcoming event in the theater, included in the sampler, is the Livermore-Amador Symphony's Feb. 23 concert, featuring winners of the Competition for Young Musicians: violinist Young Sun (Angel) Kim, in Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen, and pianist Vivian Sung as soloist in the first movement of Schumann's Concerto in A minor. Also on the program: Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, conducted by Arthur Barnes.

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].