Check it out
What: Sundays at I-House
When: 7-9 p.m. Sundays, April 6 and 27 and May 4 and 25
Where: International House, 10 College Park, Davis
Admission: Free, with a $5-$15 donation suggested
Info: facebook.com/SundaysAtIHouse or 916-541-8980.
International House, Davis, has been promoting international understanding since 1981.
According to internationalhousedavis.org, the mission of I-House is to “foster respect and appreciation for all cultures and encourage a global community for cross-cultural exchange.” I-House provides programs and services for international visitors, students, academic instructors, businesses and community members.
One such program is the annual concert series, Sundays at I-House. The third season, now underway, continues on the first and last Sundays of April and May. Each concert begins with an open mic, followed by a featured performer. Shows are from 7 to 9 p.m. at 10 College Park. Admission is by donation, with $5 to $15 suggested. For more information, visit facebook.com/SundaysAtIHouse or call 916-541-8980.
Open-mic hour is from 7 to 8 p.m., with sign-ups at 6:45 p.m. All community members are welcome and encouraged to share their particular talent, whether it be music, poetry or other performance art. I-House is open to any type of performance that is family-appropriate. Hot and cold beverages and a variety of volunteer-made desserts and snacks are available for about $1 each.
This season boasts an exiting variety of eclectic, multicultural bands: This Sunday features the Whole Earth Family Jam, May 11 is Nada Brahma Music Ensemble with seven-string guitarist Matthew Grasso, and May 25 is Bonanza King, Clarence Van Hook and JW and the Midnight Jazz Trio. (Programs for April 27 and May 4 are to be announced.)
“It’s my pleasure to host this successful and popular event,” James Williams told the Enterprise.
“It has proven to be the place many people like to start their week; with diverse, gentle entertainment, in a great living room atmosphere we’ve created for their enjoyment.”
Williams came to I-House as a volunteer four years ago.
“Shortly after my first volunteer event, the annual traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I presented the idea of a cross-cultural open mic,” he said. “I wanted to encourage the sharing of songs, music and spoken word by people from other countries who rarely get a chance to perform.”
Williams also produces other stand-alone events throughout the year.
“Most of them utilize International House as a home base,” he said. “And all of them further the cause of celebrating the huge multicultural diversity presence in the Davis community.”
Williams looks forward to each show, but he’s especially excited for the season finale on May 25.
“As in years previous, it’s an all-star evening,” he said. “This year we will welcome one of my favorite country bands, Bonanza King, fronted by singer Kari King.”
The show also features Clarence Van Hook, a longtime local performer and living legend.
“He will delight us with his homespun tales, soulful guitar, gospel, blues and R&B tunes,” Williams said.
Rounding out the evening is Williams himself, performing a set of jazz standards along with The Midnight Jazz Trio. The trio is led by Robert Blake, a current I-House board member, who Williams credits as “one of the original ‘godfathers’ who helped to get this series started.”
The Sunday concert series is just one form of multicultural entertainment that I-House provides.
“I-House offers the Davis community many opportunities to enjoy rich cross-cultural exchanges,” Williams said, “through language and cooking classes, foreign movie nights and other entertainments, as well as its annual International Festival.”
Sundays at I-House is a nice change of pace for a concert; rather than push your way through a crowded, noisy bar, you can relax in a comfy, living room-like space and enjoy the show. Come out, donate to a great cause and get an evening of quality, multicultural entertainment in return.