The Zoom performance you don’t want to miss

On the most recent episode (the ninth!) of “Fresno Famoso,” the real-time arts broadcast, we were honored with a world premiere recording by Fresno’s acclaimed The Tower Quartet.

The four musicians (Erin Adams, Lianna Elmore, Kelvin Diaz Iona and Matthew Smoke) appeared live for the interview. For their musical performance, however, they came prepared. They realized how hard it is on Zoom to make a synchronous musical performance from different locations sound good, so they decided to record their version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on four separate tracks and then have an editor (Josh Barrera) put it together in post-production. You want to listen to this one.

It’s beautiful.


A quick rundown on how the interview went:

The tech rehearsal: Absolutely, without a doubt, it was the worst tech we’ve ever had on “Fresno Famoso.” We always meet a couple of hours before broadcast with each guest for a rehearsal, sound checks and to work out any kinks. First, we couldn’t see poor Lianna’s video — but she could see us — even after she repeatedly logged out and then logged back in on the BeLive app we use.


Then Lianna switched from laptop to her phone — and she showed up sideways on the screen. Then, back to no video of her. Why, oh why, Lianna, can’t we see you?

Next, Kelvin started freezing on the screen. (And we all know that 0 degrees on the Kelvin scale is the most absolutely frozen you can get.) Meanwhile, we tried the recorded video, and there was an echo effect going on, which made the song sound like satanic elevator music. Finally, because we were running out of time and still had to tech other guests, we all agreed to meet back 15 minutes before performance in a last-ditch effort to get our act together.

The performance: It was beautiful. It went off without a hitch. Well, except that I forgot to unmute my mike after we played the video, and thereby you can watch me gush, soundless, for about 15 seconds about how wonderful it was. This was somehow appropriate, considering that I’d just made my first meme the day before starring members of Fresno’s Fools Collaborative:


The interview: Again, what a treat. These musicians are smart, funny and passionate about bringing chamber music to new audiences. We talked about how the quartet was founded, the group’s philosophy, their trip to the Dali Quartet Festival, what it’s like to be so in sync with fellow musicians, and much more.

The acknowledgements: The quartet wants to be sure to let everyone know they dedicated the video to Sandi Moore for her wonderfully generous donation to the quartet. (“TQ loves you, Sandi! Thank you!”) And, a “HUGE thank you to Josh Barrera for making the Tower Quartet video, you are a magician!”

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Other guests: The rest of the episode (which you can watch on the “Fresno Famoso” Facebook page) is great as well. Poet Joseph Rios reads a riveting poem focusing on essential workers in Los Angeles. Muralist Josh Wigger gives an update on his art and life. Visual artists Joyce Aiken and Arminee Shishmanian offer a delightful glimpse at the rock-painting project they’ve been busy with at San Joaquin Gardens. And local powerhouse arts couple Omar Nare and Jasmin La Caris give us a sneak preview of this weekend’s upcoming “No Place Like Home: Virtual Culture Fest” (9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, May 23, sponsored by Bitwise) and tell us how they got rid of their bed and replaced it with a dance floor.

You can watch the entire Tower Quartet interview on “Fresno Famoso” here:


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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