On a recent flight to Africa, I overheard a group of physicians discussing the work they would do upon arrival; how, and where, and with what, and with whom, they would set up camp to serve, however briefly and incompletely, urgent medical needs of the nomadic Maasai villagers of Tanzania.
They were excited and eager to get started immediately upon arrival, anxious about their Land Cruisers and communications and anticipating learning from each other and from their previous experiences.
It was a fascinating listen until my Bose noise-canceling headphones and blessed sleep cut them out.
I have always admired those who have talents to share and who, in sharing that talent, help others. It’s a grand thing. I wish I could do it.
For that reason I am particularly delighted in this column to pay homage to the performers who make the Citizens Who Care winter concert possible. This year’s concert is called ” ‘s Wonderful; the Great Lyrics of Ira Gershwin” and, of course, is full of the wonderful songs from that extraordinary part of the American songbook.
The concert is at the Veterans’ Memorial Theater, 203 E. 14th St., at 7 p.m. Saturday with a repeat performance at a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $30, and worth every penny if I may say so; advance tickets are available at www.citizenswhocare.us or by calling (530) 758-3704 or alternatively at the door.
This concert is a very special one: It is the 20th anniversary of the event. Over all those years, the concert has been a mainstay of funding for Citizens Who Care, probably raising, cumulatively, something well in excess of half a million dollars net to assure the continuance of CWC’s services to the frail elderly of Yolo County and their caregivers.
All of this year’s performers, writers and producers have been with the program since the earliest days and so, with special appreciation, here is a tip-of-the-top-hat-and-twitch-of-the-tails and many thanks to (in alphabetical order) Joe Alkire, Bob Bowen, Gwyneth Bruch, Martha Dickman, Lenore Heinson, Stephen Peithman, Lenore Sebastian and Peter Shack, with musical accompaniment by LuAnn Higgs and Tim Nakayama.
All of these generous people have long and stellar careers in the musical and theater scene in this region and beyond; they bring the richness of that experience and their talent to the Vets’ stage along with their love of the music and of performance.
It is appropriate that the concert is always close to St. Valentine’s Day because the music is all about love and that is the atmosphere in the auditorium.
There is not much call in fundraising circles for the talents of brewers! There are some exceptions. I know my colleague on campus Professor Charles Bamforth is deeply involved in giving talks about beer and beer-tastings to help raise the money necessary for Davis High School Drama Scotland 2012 (that is the website on Facebook that I hope you will look at) to attend the exciting Fringe Festival in Edinburgh this summer. This festival is the largest arts festival in the world and a quite extraordinary happening.
I recently read Stephen Fry’s autobiography. As a Cambridge student he was at the Fringe (interestingly, with Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie); their careers and that of many others have been launched there. Anyone may register to perform at the Fringe as long as they can find a site willing to host their performance.
The DHS drama group will present Tartuffe in Edinburgh and is working very hard at raising the rather intimidating sum of money necessary to attend. As far as I can make out, they are about halfway toward the $148,000 needed and a big push will be a necessary to reach that target by the festival registration deadline in April.
Incidentally, there is some overlap between the CWC concert and the DHS Fringe adventure: Bruch is the head of the DHS drama department and a singer at the CWC concert.
The DHS fundraiser takes me back to the high school days of my offspring. We orchestra parents raised some $40,000 to send the DHS orchestra of 1982, under the direction of the legendary Richard Brunelle and featuring Robert Lewis on cello, to Vienna for a music festival.
That turned out to be a wonderful experience for those young musicians and, equally, I’m sure being part of the Fringe will be a wonderful experience for today’s DHS actors. Beer tastings, home-brew contests, chili cook-offs and auctions involving beer were central to our success all those years ago — so who says beer and performing arts don’t go together!
These days, I do beer-tastings and chili cook-offs to raise funds for the preschool my grandsons attend in Virginia and I help with the CWC Davis Beerfest in the summer.
But, by and large, physicians who can heal and performers who can entertain have a good deal more to offer to charitable activities than we who merely brew. I wish it were different.
— Reach Michael Lewis at [email protected] Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com