On Board for BIG Day of Giving 2016

BDOG2016_Pos_736x599pxEverywhere I look, I see the Sacramento region in a state of transformation. Our region’s rich and diverse nonprofit sector is one of our greatest examples of this. Thanks to the BIG Day of Giving, we can add “philanthropic powerhouse” to our list of attributes. The Sacramento area’s spirit of giving is undeniable!

Pride in our region and last year’s record-breaking experience led us to believe that, together, we can reach the following goal on the BIG Day of Giving this year: Raise $6 million in online donations from over 30,000 donors for 570 local nonprofits with 100% board giving from participating organizations.

If we reach these goals on May 3, it will be an incredible achievement. Reaching these numbers is so much more than a check mark on a to-do list; the money raised can help a domestic violence victim find shelter, give children the opportunity to experience the arts, and match four-legged friends to loving homes.


Your giving on May 3 can support wonderful nonprofit programs and projects in the region, like art therapy classes at the WEAVE Safehouse. (Photo courtesy of WEAVE, Inc.)

As a board member, I know I must do more than cheer. I must lead with my own giving.

Last year, the WEAVE Board of Directors committed to 100% participation on BIG Day of Giving. I worked with the WEAVE staff to ensure giving was easy (we sent out a calendar invite with WEAVE’s Big Day of Giving link) and I followed up with thank you letters to those who gave early and “gentle prodding” to those who needed a reminder later in the day. At 10pm we achieved our goal! When our board met a few days later, we celebrated and several board members came up with the brilliant idea that we use BIG Day of Giving as the day we make our personal contributions to WEAVE in the future.

If you serve on the board of directors of a nonprofit that will be participating in BIG Day of Giving, I challenge you to lead by example with your gift. Give early. Give generously. As one of the thousands of donors throughout our region, you will be part of raising $6 million for the local nonprofits that make the Greater Sacramento region such a wonderful place to live. Even more, you will be a part of reinforcing our region as a philanthropic powerhouse.

For more information about BIG Day of Giving, and to donate, click here.

***Blog post by Garry Maisel, CEO of Western Health Advantage and Board Chairperson of WEAVE™.

Join Forces with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera!

SPO-StarWars-WebSliderDarth Vader, Hans Solo, and Princess Leia invade the classical musical institution this Saturday!

This season the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera has had a true rebirth. They have been pushing the envelope of a typical philharmonic through pop-up concerts throughout the city, music invasions at libraries, concerts for over 4000 children, live tweeting (yes, people can join a crew to tweet throughout an entire concert), and innovative programming.

About that innovative programming…when was the last time you saw a Queen cover band perform front and center with a full orchestra playing as back-up…well, if you are like most Sacramentans, the answer is probably never. What about acrobats flying up, down, and around the Sacramento Community Center Theater to the classical hits? Maybe if you’ve been to Vegas, but did they have a full orchestra on stage or was it a recording?

Now to end Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera’s Pop Series for the year, they are bringing the music of John Williams, a.k.a. the music genius behind some of Hollywood’s most famous movies: Indiana Jones, Superman, Harry Potter, and of course…Star Wars. With the excitement of the new Star Wars film that came out last year, the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera decided to bring its great cinematic music to life!

On Saturday, April 23, come hear all of your favorites themes, songs, and catchy tunes from these blockbuster films performed by an entire live orchestra!

But let’s get back to Darth Vader, Han Solo, and Princess Leia joining the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera…in keeping with their envelope-pushing season, Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera wants you to come dressed up as your favorite Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, and Superman characters — capes and all.  Yes, rep your fandom with pride this weekend! 107.9 The End will be joining the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera to have a live costume contest. The best Princess Leia buns may just help you snag the top prize!

You will not want to miss this epic concert event. A limited number of tickets are still available by phone; may the force be with you! For more event details, visit the concert’s Sacramento365.com event listing.

*This blog post was written by Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera’s Marketing and Communications Director Raymond James Irwin.

NEWSIES Gives You Something to Believe In

Newsies, a Disney Theatrical Production under the direction of Thomas Schumacher presents Newsies, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, book by Harvey Fierstein, starring Dan Deluca (Jack Kelly), Steve Blanchard (Joseph Pulitzer), Stephanie Styles (Katherine Plumber), Angela Grovey (Medda), Jacob Kemp (Davey), Zachary Sayle (Crutchie), Anthony Rosenthal or Vincent Crocilla (Les) and Matthew J. Schechter (Les) under the direction of Jeff Calhoun, choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, North American Tour premiere Thursday October 30 Philadelphia

Newsies, “the ragtag raggamuffins” with heart. ©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer.

I am always down to see a musical, but I must admit when first getting the assignment to see Disney’s NEWSIES, I was a little confounded. The premise of the musical from outward appearances is odd; what would compel someone to write a musical based on the Newsboys Strike of 1899? Having not seen the cult 1992 movie of the same name, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Was the musical going to be Les Misérables set in NYC? Did I need to brush up on my history to understand its plot? Luckily, having an open mind paid off. Using my best Brooklyn accent, I can say that Disney’s NEWSIES was a delight “for shoire.”

The family-friendly musical is evergreen, detailing a feel-good story of David versus Goliath. Inspired by New York’s trolley strikes at the time, newsboy Jack Kelly and his gang of friends, affectionately called “newsies”, form a union when New York publishing kingpins raise distribution prices at their expense. Through rallies, a few fights, and the power of words, the boys successfully defeat corporate greed.

Along with touching upon the subjects of child labor laws and workers’ rights, the musical pokes fun of fame, the one-percent, and what today we call “clickbait” news. (There was even a musical number on the writing process, something to which I can relate!) It turns out, as mentioned tongue-and-cheekily by the youngest newsie, “theatre is entertaining and educational!”

The musical also shines because of its cast. While characters Jack Kelly (played by Joey Barreiro) and Katherine (played by Morgan Keene) give us “Something to Believe In,” the entire company blows you away with its talent; these young actors carry a tune through flips, tap dance numbers, playing the spoons, and even when swiveling on newspapers. Adding to the theatre magic was its impressive set. The stage, consisting of large maneuverable steel stairwells grew in size, replicating tenant homes, rooftops, and skyscrapers at the change of a curtain.

See this underdog story now through Sunday, April 17. A limited number of tickets are still available. For ticket show times and prices, visit the show’s Sacramento365.com page here.

Want more musicals in your life? Season tickets for the 2016-2017 Broadway Sacramento season are now on sale. For more details, click here.

***This blog post was written by Sacramento365.com’s Content and Social Media Coordinator Jamila B. Khan.

2nd Saturday Roadmap: Taking it Slow this April

This Second Saturday is extra special for Sacramento365.com because of our Make it an Arts Night campaign! I’ve jam-packed my art-filled event roadmap with some stops at the most exciting receptions in town.

Leisurely Ogling:
Besides being Second Saturday, April 9th is also Slow Art Day. This is a day dedicated to taking your time and really relishing works of art. The Crocker will be hosting their own Slow Art Day viewing group to look over the museum’s collection. After immersing myself in the fine arts, I’ll mosey on over to Ten22 to enjoy the culinary arts, savoring each bite of their succulent pulled pork sandwich.

Photo courtesy of Ten22

Photo courtesy of Ten22.

Flower Power:
Wildflowers are popping up all over our region, but did you know you can see them indoors? My next stop will take me to the Artist’s Collaborative Gallery to check out Jason Branz’s Spring Wildflower exhibit. This showing has loads of wildflower photography and blown glass bowls styled after spring’s greatest treasures. After “frolicking” in the flowers, I’ll be stopping by Fat City Bar and Café for an Old Sacramento favorite, a slice of banana cream pie.

Photo courtesy of Jason Branz

Photo courtesy of Jason Branz.

The Crossroads:
Geometry was one of my worst subjects in school, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate its use. The Shimo Center for the Arts is hosting the mathematical sculptures of Chuck Owens in their Intersections exhibit. These seriously cool pieces are not only imaginative but smart at the same time. Exercising my brain works up my appetite so I’ll be heading to nearby Taqueria Maya for some sopes and cactus juice.

Photo courtesy of Chuck Owens

Photo courtesy of Chuck Owens.

Creepy Critters:
I’ll be ending my huge day with a stop at the monstrous Fauna Anomaly 2016. This annual exhibit hosted at the Fe Gallery features some wild creature creations. If you’re a fan of mangy mutants, crazy colossuses, and freaky fiends, then you can’t miss out on this exhibit. After my day-long expedition, I’ll definitely have worked up a thirst, so I’ll be making my last pit stop at the Hoppy Brewing Company for a quick refuel.

Photo courtesy of John Stuart Berger

Photo courtesy of John Stuart Berger

Rev Back Up:
My final stop for the night will be at the season’s first THIS Midtown block party! Inside the Framework space this month, THIS celebrates independent spirit and features performances by Figgy, MyKill, and DeeJay Adam Jay.

After a long day traveling around town, I’ll take my slab of charcuterie from Block Butcher Bar to the patio for a great view of the folks dancing in the street!

Photo courtesy of THIS

Photo courtesy of THIS

Looking for more 2nd Saturday fun? Check out our 2nd Saturday section on Sacramento365.com!

Whether you follow my map or make your own plans, you can’t go wrong this 2nd Saturday. Whatever you plan to do, make sure to get social with us by using the hashtag #Sacramento365.

***This blog was written by Sacramento365.com’s Content Specialist, Dylan Fisher.

Sports365: Saying Goodbye to Sleep Train Arena


April will be a bittersweet month as Sacramento says farewell to Sleep Train Arena. But while our city bids adieu to the concrete landmark, we have much to celebrate as the Sacramento Republic FC kicks off a new season and the Sacramento River Cats step up to the plate.

Sunny weather means the return of outdoor sports. Catch some Vitamin D with me and check out what I’m most looking forward to this month!

Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Kings

Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Kings

Sacramento Kings vs Oklahoma City Thunder (4/9) at Sleep Train Arena:
Whether you knew it as Sleep Train Arena, Arco Arena, or the Power Balance Pavilion,  the home of the Kings is full of memories. From Peja’s threes to Boogie’s jams, this will be the last chance for Kings fans to relive their favorite moments in the team’s home for the past 28 years. Next year, the crown will be passed to downtown’s Golden 1 Center.

I’ll be there in my lucky shirt and noshing on my lucky meal — chicken tenders and jalapenos. I’ve been attending Kings games since I was seven years old and barely understood the rules of the game; while I have a better idea of what’s going on now, I still feel awestruck every time I enter the Arena’s gates.

Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Kings

Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Kings

One of my favorite Sleep Train traditions is getting there early and watching the arena come to life. After grabbing my snacks and seat, I relish in watching players warm up, hearing the buzz of fellow fans, and seeing the once empty building fill up with thousands of cheerful faces. The hairs on the back literally rise up. By tip-off, I feel like I’ve taken an adrenaline shot directly to the heart.

I know that feeling will be amplified this Saturday when the home squad takes on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Along with an exciting game, you can expect a few (by a few, I mean a few dozen) former Kings to be in attendance; giving you a chance to cheer on both the current squad and your all-time favorite Kings.

Make sure to jump on this chance to see the Kings hold court at Sleep Train this one last time. For more information about the final Sleep Train Arena game, click here.

Take it outside:
Get out of the house and head outside for some fun in the sun! Here are other events that will have you moving this month.

Sacramento Zoo
April 17
Cruise around Land Park like an animal at this fun run. Be sure to stop by the Zoo after for free admission (for runners only) and a post-race party.

Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Zoo

Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Zoo

Pro Rugby: Sacramento vs San Francisco
Bonney Field
April 17
Rugby is one sport I’ve never had a chance to get into. Luckily for me, Sacramento now has its own rugby squad!

Photo courtesy of Pro Rugby

Photo courtesy of Pro Rugby

Sacramento River Cats vs Las Vegas 51s (Greek Life Night)
Raley Field
April 21
I may not have been in a fraternity, but I can’t turn down baseball and $2 beer.

Photo courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats

Photo courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats

Republic FC vs Orange County Blues FC
Bonney Field
April 30
Watch Sacramento’s beloved soccer team take on a rival from down south.

Photo courtesy of Sacramento Republic FC

Photo courtesy of Sacramento Republic FC

Check back with Sports365 in May to see what activities I am most excited for! If you’d like to plan ahead on your own then head over to the Sports section of Sacramento365.com.

***This blog was written by Sacramento365.com’s Content Specialist, Dylan Fisher.

Get to Know April Featured Artist Gale Hart

AprilFA Profile Pic
In honor of Make it an Arts Night, this April Sacramento365.com met up with Sacramento’s Godmother of Contemporary Art, Gale Hart at her spacious 19th Street studio on the heels of her 60th birthday bash. The vegan, skateboard-loving artist has more to celebrate than just another year in this life; in January, Hart was selected to construct her public art installation for the new Golden 1 Center (yes, alongside that Jeff Koons piece).

In this eye-opening profile, we learned that defying normal is part of her modus operandi. Throughout her life, she’s always been known to push the limit. Read how far she plans on going here.

Joshua Roman: Not Your Average Cellist

This Saturday, April 9, innovative Classical Cellist, Joshua Roman, will perform with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera in Dvorák’s New World. Joshua, a TED fellow, gives us his take on new classical music and diverse collaborations.


Photo by Hayley Young.

You were the youngest principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony winning the position at 22 — wow — what was that like?
It was great — they seemed very excited to have me and, of course, I was excited to be there. The orchestra chose me through the audition process, so I didn’t feel skepticism from them regarding my level of experience, but I was definitely the youngest in the whole orchestra! I felt very much like they allowed me to step into that leadership role, and it was beautiful. I loved it. I love Seattle.

Joshua, you are one of only a handful of performers who get the designation of a TED Senior Fellow. How did you get involved with TED talks, and what type of innovation do you hope to showcase?
A friend of mine from Seattle first introduced me to TED through a TEDx event. I gave a talk and played at the Seattle event, TEDxRainier. Through that process, I learned about the fellows program, and attendees encouraged me to apply. TED is a wonderful organization for the melding of minds. Their theme of ideas is worth spreading and is very relevant, especially for those of us in classical music. It’s important to think about the role of music in a larger space, the role of the cello, and what I can do to go broader and deeper.

You are a leader in bringing change to classical music; to reinvigorate it. Why do you think classical music needs to have its envelope pushed? How did you decide that you were going to steer away from the role of the performer to a change maker?
To me, classical music isn’t about a particular repertoire or canon — that’s a byproduct, and a fantastic byproduct — I believe that classical music is a tradition of creativity and innovation. We [as musicians] absolutely have to keep that alive. I never feel like that idea ‘steers me away’ from being a performer. Innovation has to be at the center of what we do.

Do you find that classical music audiences are receptive to new works, collaborations, and innovations that you are bringing?
I find that if you create an environment where people have a chance to open up and experience something, you can go many places, and they will go with you. Sometimes, you have to put in a bit of extra effort to create an emotional entry point, but if you get that, people will come with you and explore.

Sacramento is going through a renaissance; “Be the Change” is quickly becoming the motto for 2016. How can we — as audience members, classical music enthusiasts, and people who aren’t sure they even like classical music — make a change in this genre?
With classical music, it’s important to focus on the passion. At the core of music are connections between people and people respond to passion. Sometimes this gets lost in certain aspects of tradition. If we can pull barriers down and allow the passion from the music, musicians, and audience to be the driving force while sustaining quality — who knows what can happen!

Why do you think so little contemporary classical music is performed?
There’s a lot of contemporary classical music being performed, but much of it is happening in smaller and nontraditional venues. However, there still needs to be more, and the growth that’s happening on the big stage should be encouraged. Exploration and discovery have always been the cornerstones of classical music, so there’s no reason to fear that new sounds will render great music of the past obsolete.

The argument could even be made that our best chance of establishing a connection with those around us is through sharing something created in our time, for our time.

What is your main goal when performing? What do you want your audiences to get out of your performance?
For every performance, I want to communicate what the music is saying, and get myself out of the way. I try to let the passion, emotional quality, and spiritual connection be the carrying force — and of course, it’s my interpretation of these qualities that I share, but the goal is to find whatever is intrinsic in the music and give myself to that emotion.

I want the audience to feel engaged and present, and have an experience that connects us on a fundamentally human level.

This weekend, you are playing something a bit more traditional, Dvorák’s cello concerto. Do you play with a different, perhaps modern approach, or do you find that you stick to playing it in the traditional sense? What should audiences know about this piece?
A piece like the Dvorák is so huge within repertoire that it’s impossible not to be influenced by some of the traditions that have developed around it. But what I actually do at this point is go back to the score and try to free myself from some of the performance traditions that have accumulated since the piece’s premiere. I want to try to find what I think Dvorák is trying to do and say. In a way, that’s not traditional. In my own way, I’m trying to get as close as I can to his idea of what the piece should be.

For me, it’s one of the greatest pieces ever written because it’s such a colorful musical story and there is background in Dvorák’s own life. There’s love, tragedy, and homesickness. The way these emotions play out, even in the way the musicians and musical instruments interact on stage, is extremely powerful.

Hear Joshua Roman and the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera perform Dvorák’s New World this Saturday! For ticket and time information, visit the concert’s Sacramento365.com page.

***This blog post was written by Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator Raymond James Irwin.