Local artists unite for community

Performers of all ages highlight county in fundraiser performance
By: Teresa O’Hanlon, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Since they’re neighbors, performing artists across South Placer County have found being friends brings new opportunities. “We’re working together to create good things and create an arts community,” said Margie Hartung, Placer County Youth Orchestra director. “I thought it would be really really fun if we all joined together for a community arts events.” Last summer local choral, dance and musical groups celebrated Youth in Arts Day at the Galleria in Roseville. Groups including Theater Alive, Take Note Troupe, Northern California Children’s Chorus and The Conservatory of Dance got a peek at the wealth of local talent and what could be if friendship became a working fellowship. “All of a sudden we got to know each other even better,” Hartung said. “At Christmas we teamed up again to put on this year’s ‘All I want For Christmas’ for Neveahs Hope, an organization for unwed pregnant women. We did this at Adventure Christian Church. It was fun because we were all working together for a common cause. We added an adult choir of community members that were probably some of the best singers in Placer County. We started to blend some of our groups together where The Sacramento Children’s Chorus, the Dance Troupe and Theater Alive’s Dana Sanders and her husband Scott sang in our choir.” Hartung said by bringing together performers of all ages, including talent from Rocklin Community Theater, McLaughlin Studios and The Music Store, groups and individuals could produce top quality art in Placer County and better serve the community. Sierra College student Wayland Whitney teaches viola and violin and helps manage the Placer County Youth Orchestra, molding a vision of education and community service. “We’ve clarified our objective and that’s the educational and charitable aspects and then we saw that there are all these other organizations that are doing the same,” Whitney said. “There’s a fantastic arts community in Placer County that sometimes seems pulled apart by organizations in Auburn and Sacramento and it seems everyone’s being forced to choose. So our goal is to just foster the arts community that’s already here. I’ve noticed everyone we’ve been working with is so professional. The students we see are so polite and hard working. It’s just really a joy to work with all of these talented groups.” Judy Britts, founder and artistic director of Northern California Children’s Chorus, said collaborating with different arts organizations and crossing boundaries is always a good thing. “We were part of the benefit concert at Adventure Christian Church,” Britts said. “It also benefited our children who got to sing with an orchestra which was just an amazing accomplishment and a wonderful experience.” Lisa Holzen, 16, of Horizon Charter School in Roseville, plays violin for the youth orchestra. “I really feel like I’ve learned a lot and come a long way,” Holzen said. “It’s been a great growth experience for me. I played for a church service at William Jessup University. I’ve actually considered taking voice lessons and doing something with the children’s choir. There are so many opportunities.” Hartung said Placer County performing artists have a wealth of parent and community support. “It was amazing to see parents, students, teachers, dancers, the people at Adventure, Neveahs Hope, singers and performers all rolling up their sleeves to create an absolutely wonderful professional quality concert for a good community cause,” Hartung said. “Moreover, the directors that I have worked with are so sweet and good natured. They were truly professional in every way. By joining together we are creating a greater awareness and we are able to do greater things.”