The List: From Otto Lee to Creative Fresno, some promising picks for the weekend

Welcome to The List, a curated offering of promising events for the weekend. Why stay home with Netflix when there’s a whole world of local stuff to enjoy and support?

1. A new spin on beloved hymns

Sometimes it takes a new musical arrangement to make you appreciate a familiar song you know and love. That’ll be the case with the next installment of Fresno Pacific University’s Pacific Artist Series. The Otto Lee Sextet will perform jazz arrangements of well known hymns.

Lee (pictured above) is a saxophonist, educator and composer who believes that “being a musician is just as important as being a role model.” He has a fascinating and inspiring life story.

From his Facebook page:

Becoming a father at the age of 19, he had to quickly decide if a career in music would be a practical way to support his family. Although many family friends attempted to dissuade him, he decided to follow his passion and continue with his musical endeavors to demonstrate to his daughter that it is possible to follow your dreams and be successful in a world that is monetarily driven.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Instrumental Jazz Performance at California State University Fresno, In 2017, Lee completed his D.M.A. in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

He maintains a private studio and is a working freelance musician throughout the Central Valley and Bay Area, having performed with notable musicians, including Rufus Reid, Art Lande, Ernie Watts and Oscar Hernandez.


It sounds like a lively and inspirational afternoon.

If you go: 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, McDonald Hall Atrium, Fresno Pacific University, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno. Tickets are $15 general, $10 seniors, $5 FPU community.

Members of Soli Deo Gloria perform Saturday, Jan. 26.

2. Go for baroque

Here’s another great music option:

Soli Deo Gloria (pictured above) will be the featured choral ensemble at the Central California Baroque Festival.

The day includes a morning of recitals for various instruments and a 1 p.m. keynote lecture by organist Kimberley Marshall, a professor at Arizona State University.

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The Soli Deo Gloria performance begins at 4 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Music Teachers’ Association of California (Fresno County Branch).

If you go: Saturday, Jan. 26, University Presbyterian Church, 1776 E. Roberts Ave., Fresno. Tickets are free.

Creative Fresno

3. Creative radio

There’s a new radio game in town. Creative Fresno, that inspiring group always thinking of new ways to live up to its name, is unveiling plans for a major new cultural offering: a new radio station at 93.3 FM.

The group has received FCC approval, and what comes next is some fundraising. Creative Fresno is throwing a big party, where it will launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund several key pieces of equipment “for us to get broadcasting all things local: music, podcast, DJ sets, radio shows, radio theater, etc.” The event is a chance for you to be one of the first supporters of the station and get to know what the station will be about, organizers say.

The party includes live music, live podcasting, an open mic hosted by Fulton Street Coffee, a photo booth, a “Record Your Bumper for the Radio” activity, food and more.

If you go: 5-11 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company, 745 Fulton St., Fresno. Tickets are free.

4. Faculty recital

The Fresno State music department’s annual recital is a great opportunity to see talented faculty members and students playing together. (What great experience for those students!)

This year’s event will present a string chamber orchestra comprised of faculty members as principal players alongside selected students and alumni that will perform side by side. The concert will include Beethoven’s Quarteto Serioso, Elgar’s String Serenade, Nielsen’s Little Suite, and Hugo Wolf’s Italian Serenade.

It’s all for a good cause: The concert, which is sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities, is the music department’s annual gala, and all proceeds will go to the musical scholarship fund.

If you go: 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, Fresno State Concert Hall. Tickets are $20 general, $15 seniors, $10 students.


5. ‘RENT’-crazy

These are heady days, indeed, for Fresno-area “RENT” fans. Not only is the 20th anniversary tour making a stop at the Saroyan Theatre on Feb. 6-7 as part of the Broadway in Fresno series, but the Fox network is offering one of its popular live Broadway-musical telecasts of the title. ‘RENT’ fans can compare and contrast.

Details: 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, KMPH Channel 26 and streaming. 

Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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