As a short winter gives way to spring blossoms and longer days, historic downtown Sonora invites people of all ages to enjoy Sonora's 44th Second Saturday Art Night, beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday at 25 downtown locations.
This Art Night boasts 20 different musical acts, featuring over 60 musicians, including a wide array of award-winning musicians.
"This is our biggest music night ever with some genuine national headliners performing in our little town," said Art Night coordinator B.Z. Smith. "We've had some big Art Nights lately, but this one tops the musical charts."
Some new discoveries include Tuolumne County Arts Alliance's showcase performance by Grammy Award-winning musician Alan Weaver Copeland and his band Now You Hazz Jazz, a musical showcase with select members of Summerville High's Jazz@8 at Stage 3 Theatre, a Heart Rock Café gospel tribute with Frank and Shirley Smart, at least three rock groups and a rich offering of indie and American roots music.
Plus, more than 100 different visual artists will be featured all over town.
Strollers can begin their walk north of Courthouse Square at the Law Office of Clint Parish at 51 N. Washington St., where a new student art gallery, mostly with works from Sonora High School's art department, is now open to the public.
"We love being a part of the community, and Art Night is a good way to join in," said Evelyn Parish. "We are enjoying the chance to feature these kids' creative works."
Just south of the park, at 4 S. Washington St., Downtown Shoes will welcome the return of Rock Slide, a rock 'n roll band from the Groveland area. Along with lively music, Downtown Shoes displays award-winning digital abstract photography by Geoff Wynne and nature photography by Brenda Gorski.
Next door at 8 S. Washington St., Funky Junk welcomes watercolor artist Pat Gray, whose paintings have a romantic natural feel with a gentle color palette. The Barefoot Beauties also will be there playing alternative country and folk music.
Across the street at the Heart Rock Café, 1 S. Washington St., gospel singers Frank and Shirley Smart, joined by Martha Patterson and Sally Wales, will present an evening of spiritual songs, just in time for the Easter season. The Heart Rock Café is a community outreach project of Christian Heights Church, and is under the direction of Pastor Daryl Sarina.
Next door It's Yo Good Yogurt, 11 S. Washington St., invites visitors to enjoy the student art gallery, which features works by youth from many local schools.
Talulah's Restaurant, at 13 S. Washington St., features the floral abstract paintings of Rebecca Spaan.
The Candy Vault, with its bright copper doors, features a colorful mural from "Charley and the Chocolate Factory," executed by nationally known muralist Judy Grossman. Upstairs at 19 W. Bradford Ave. in the Bradford Building, Studio B presents the works of six local artists in their combined studio and gallery space: Twyla Olsen, Deb Meir, Mike Kiriluk, Sherie Drake, Irene Deaver and Allison Blansit.
Joining the cadre for the evening with music is Murphy's Jig with husband and wife Doug and Cillie Murphy, playing their blend of American folk, Celtic and folk rock tunes.
At 48 S. Washington St., the Ventana Art Gallery invites Art Night strollers to view an array of art from south county artists Michael Dwaileebe, Georgia Anderson, John Moore and Kathy Tuchalski in the exhibition "How We See It: Four Artists Share Their Points of View."
During the evening, the Ventana will showcase the lyrical tunes of the a cappella singing group Sincerely.
Next door at Joan's Boutique, 52 S. Washington St., the John Roman Jackson Trio will fill the evening with original and traditional tunes. Vocalist John Roman Jackson, who now lives in Tuolumne County, is widely known in the country rock world. Adding to the trio are Bill Schneiderman on mandolin and Robert Feigen on bass.
Across the street, TradeWinds consignment shop, at 63 S. Washington St., marks Second Saturday Art Night with the shop's 10th anniversary celebration. Along with good old rock and roll by the Lava Cats, art fans can enjoy a free mini-massage with licensed massage therapist Teresa Padovan and chat with artist and musician Peg Reza, showcasing her new California Sister jewelry, made from repurposed materials with French reverse-glass painting.
The Banyan Tree, at 59 S. Washington St., will present Pam Pederson's miniature watercolors, as well as her book "Old World Bridge of Yosemite" featuring her collection of watercolor paintings and ink drawings.
Then art strollers can celebrate traditional songs by the Brothers Strong and Company, a group of four young area musicians, at Mountain Home Gifts, 83 S. Washington St. Shane and Stephen Strong will be joined by fiddler Owen Ragland and Andrew Blazzard on standup bass.
Around the corner at 1 E. Linoberg St., Cole Video hosts Sonora's debut of artworks by Sonya Ziegler from Jackson, an artist who produces diverse multi-media pieces, including expressionistic landscapes, portraits and abstract photography.
During her college years in the mid-1980s, Zeigler studied with the late Eileen Gilbert-Hill, who was active in the Bay Area art scene. "Shetaught me to see that there were all kinds of ways to render a subject," Zeigler said. "Creativity begins and ends with imagination."
Offering up music at Cole Video is Risky Biscuits.
At 115 S. Washington St., the Runway Xchange, one of Art Night's newer venues, welcomes Grover Anderson, joined by Sonora guitarist Christopher Stevens. An award-winning singer-songwriter, Anderson has just returned from his first national tour and has just released third album, "The Optimist."
Multi-media artist Gwynn Popovac brings new works to Benjamin Fig at 129 S. Washington St. Popovac moved to the area in 1984 during the peak of a stellar creative wave. Her acclaimed novel, "Wet Paint," had been just been published and her artwork was gaining recognition in prestigious galleries throughout the West.
"Gwynn is one artist not to miss," Smith said. "Her work is exquisite in detail with mysterious and powerful themes. We're very lucky to have this exceptional artist as a member of our community."
At the corner of Washington and Theall Streets, Legends Soda Fountain, Antiques and Books welcomes Calaveras County band the Rusty Rockers. "We're jazzed to have this new band with us," said Art Night volunteer Sarah Nesper. "This group just adds to the party atmosphere of the night. And we love sharing the evening with our Calaveras County neighbors."
Sonora Joe's Coffee Shoppe, 144 S. Washington St., features three Mother Lode Art Association artists: Susan Hackett, Renetta Hayes and Irene Taylor with an open house reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Hackett is accomplished in many media including, watercolors, photography, mixed media, textile painting and life drawings. Hayes creates mainly in pastel, but also enjoys oil and watercolor. Taylor spent over 40 years as a professional graphic designer, and has a passion to create art that reflects the color and feeling of her experiences.
From 5:30 to 7 p.m., folk musician and artist Michael Severin will perform on his 12-string guitar, followed by the Devil Mountain Boys and friends.
Next door, at Sharon Malone Lingerie, 146 S. Washington St., the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance welcomes Alan Weaver Copeland's band, Now You Hazz Jazz. Copeland is a true musical treasure with a career spanning nearly eight decades.
"We're very excited to host this show," said Connie Gahagan-O'Connor, the arts alliance's executive director. "Very soon we're going to have Alan teach some classes for us, a rare opportunity to study with this musical genius."
In the 1940s, Copeland was an integral part of the popular singing group the Modernaires. That opened doors for him to work with Hollywood greats like Bing and Bob Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, Red Skelton, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Henry Mancini, to name a few. Copeland also has long been a musical arranger in key demand with many stellar performers, and has made a major impact on the recording industry throughout his career.
In 1968 he won a Grammy Award for best contemporary pop performance by his choir, the Alan Copeland Singers, for his arrangement of the "Mission Impossible-Norwegian Wood" medley.
"I'd been nominated before, but that was the year I actually won," said Copeland. Tuolumne County has been his home since the late 1980s. In 2012, at age 86, Copeland released a new CD, "Latin Satin," recorded in Twain Harte with his longtime friends and colleagues Carl DePolo and John Celluci.
Now You Hazz Jazz includes guitarist Dave Friedman, drummers Bob Lehman and Josh Certo, bassist John Kikugawa and jazz vocals by Sheila Ross, daughter of the late singer Mahmu Pearl, Copeland's wife and musical collaborator of many years.
Sharon Malone also features large-scale paintings of the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite, created by natural realist artist Michael Severin.
Meanwhile under the arches at the historic Sonora Inn, 160 S. Washington St., BeDazzled Boutique's pianist and singer Randy Paré will again tickle the ivories on the store's baby grand piano in the style of rockabilly idol Jerry Lee Lewis.
Next door Lady Couture, 160 S. Washington St., welcomes a new face to Art Night when Sonora-native Tyler Emery presents an evening of traditional bluegrass music.
Across the street, another icon performs when American folksinger Sandy Shoor plays at the Occasion Station, 157 S. Washington St.
Shoor's warm singing voice recalls the great folksingers of the 1960s, many of whom Shoor performed with while living on the East Coast. Among his musical colleagues was the legendary Pete Seeger, with whom he performed for 10 years. During Art Night, window mannequins model classic vintage clothes that are works of art all their own.
At 161 S. Washington St., the Lotus Roots Herbal Apothecary offers music by Soleil, performed by sisters Hannah and Abigail Clark in Sonora's new tea and herb shop. Both Hannah and Abigail play several instruments.
Just down the block, visitors can dive into spring when the Aloft Art Gallery, 167 S. Washington St., presents its annual floral art show. Performing at the gallery will be George Haskell of Calaveras County, with guitar and vocals.
Marilyn's Boutique, 181 S. Washington St. will feature one of Sonora's Art Night favorites, Potluck, with their bluegrass tunes. "These guys all love to play music together," said Art Night committee member John Williams. "We're grateful that almost every month they are out here playing."
Stage 3 Theatre, at 208 S. Green St., will host a musical revue produced by Summerville High School-Connections Academy senior Kai Kellerman.
The 6:30 p.m. concert is the culmination of Kellerman's senior project. Joining him will be Jazz@8 alumni Cyrena Scott, Camille Berringer and Aubreana Woodworth.
Saturday's concert is already sold out, so another show has been added Sunday. All proceeds will benefit Summerville High School District's music programs.
The Europa Café, at 275 S. Washington St., tops off the night with an Art Night "After 8" event, featuring a second performance by Grover Anderson with Christopher Stevens.
"We're hoping to add in more 'After 8' events as this year progress," Smith said. "We'd like to work with those spots that want to stay open a bit later to bring in something special."
The Euopa Café also features woodblock prints and paintings by one of Tuolumne County's most revered artists, Charles F. Surendorf (1906-1979) and other artworks by living local artists including painter Diana Eppler, watercolorist Cate Culver and abstract photographer Geoff Wynne.
Sonora's Second Saturday Art Night began in September 2010.
"This is a monthly celebration of our community's rich cultural life," Smith said. "We're growing, and each month more people are reaching out to ask if they can be a part of Art Night, and we increasingly get calls about this monthly event from out of town."
Call 532-7697 or visit www. 2ndsaturdayartnight.org for more information.