Yosemite is focus of Sonora’s Art Night

Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

The city of Sonora will help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant on Saturday with displays of Yosemite art, musical performances and other activities throughout the downtown area.

Festivities will be highlighted by exclusive screenings of the latest Ken Burns documentary, "Yosemite: A Gathering of Spirit" and a performance by nationally renowned John Muir actor Lee Stetson, both taking place at the Sonora Opera Hall.

This event was made possible by the Yosemite Conservancy, a philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to supporting Yosemite National Park.

Free screenings of "Yosemite: A Gathering of Spirit" will begin at 5, 6, and 7 p.m. at the Opera Hall at 250 S. Washington St.

Tickets are required for the Stetson performance at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, available at Mountain Bookshop, or $10 at the door.

Ken Burns is widely recognized as a master filmmaker with Emmy Award-winning documentaries about the national parks, Civil War, baseball, jazz, and Brooklyn Bridge, among many others.

Stetson has been recognized as the voice of John Muir for many years. A resident of Mariposa County, Stetson has performed various works on the life of John Muir throughout the United States, Europe and Japan.

He has performed in several TV shows, such as "Hawaii Five-O," starred in an early Sierra Repertory Theatre play, has appeared in movies, and was featured in the Burns documentary film about the national parks.

Introducing Stetson's show will be Sonora's Black Irish Band, which will perform band member Patrick Karnahan's original songs of Yosemite and Muir.

The Opera Hall performances are part of the monthly "Second Saturday Art Night" activities in downtown Sonora.

Dozens of musicians will play original and period music in many of the local shops that line Washington Street. Art galleries, shops and restaurants will be filled with paintings and photographs representing Yosemite National Park.

John DeGrazio, of Sonora, owner of YExplore, a Yosemite tour company impacted by the recent Rim Fire and government shutdown, is one of the night's organizers.

"This event is an embodiment of the spirit of Yosemite and the people who continue to build our community here in Sonora," he said. "Rather than lament our losses, we prefer to move forward and show the world what a cultural outlet our little town has become."

Proceeds from the Opera Hall activities will benefit the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance and Second Saturday Art Night..

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The Union Democrat
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