Predicting the future is easy when it comes to the arts. In fact, armed with the right email addresses and phone numbers, you don’t even need a crystal ball. Judging from the responses we received from area artists, directors, producers and other creative folks, all signs point to a robust year of entertainment in classical music, opera, theater and visual arts.

Classical music and more

Soon after next week’s performance by the Orloff/Walz Duo (Jan. 13), High Desert Chamber Music will present a public Master Class by Los Angeles Philharmonic Principal Concertmaster Martin Chalifour in conjunction with his Feb. 14 HDCM concert. In the fall, the nonprofit will celebrate its 10th anniversary, and founder/executive director Isabelle Senger plans to work with advisory board member Phillip Ruder, retired concertmaster for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, to put together an exciting season lineup for this milestone season.

The Cascade Winds Symphonic Band will do something new during its February concert with its inclusion of a guest soloist, oboe player Mitch Iimori, performing with the Central Oregon Community College concert band. “Mitch is one of the best oboe players that I have ever worked with, and I am thrilled to have him perform for our Central Oregon audience,” said Maestro Michael Gesme.

Gesme said the Central Oregon Symphony director will continue to recognize its 50th anniversary well into 2017. Upcoming concerts include a Symphony Spotlight Recital titled “Three Strings and Bassoon Trio,” at 2 p.m. Jan. 22 in COCC’s Wille Hall.

The next full-tilt symphony performance will be its Winter Concert, featuring guest soloist Kotaro Fukuma (piano), Feb. 11 through 13 at Bend High School.

“The capper for our season in May is the performance of a work that we had commissioned for the occasion: ‘Cascades Suite,’ by James Barnes,” Gesme said. “I’m excited for this opportunity and looking forward to hearing the piece live!”

In March, the indefatigable Gesme will conduct OperaBend’s production of “La Boheme,” featuring full orchestra. Those from Bend who want to catch the opera will need to get themselves to Redmond or Madras: Performances will be held March 10 and 11 at Ridgeview High School in Redmond and March 12 at Madras Performing Arts Center.

COCC’s Cascade Chorale will serve as the “La Boheme” chorus, and its leader, Jim Knox, will play a lead role as the musician Schaunard in the show. In May, the chorale will perform two concerts of 1960s music at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon. In June, a group of more than 40 chorale singers will participate in a tour to Austria, singing works by Mozart and Haydn in collaboration with other choirs from the U.S. and abroad.

Central Oregon Mastersingers will present “For the Love of Music” at 7:30 p.m. April 22 at Church of the Nazarene in Bend. It will mark founder Clyde Thompson’s final concert directing the choir, after which he’ll pass the baton to the Mastersingers’ assistant director, Christian Clark. More than 100 area singers have participated in the choir during the last 12 years, and all of them are being invited to join in the concert’s sure to be stirring number.

On Aug. 16 at Summit High School, the Mastersingers and the Sunriver Music Festival Orchestra will join forces for the fourth time, for a performance of Mozart’s “Requiem.” In the fall, the Mastersingers will begin anew with Clark as director.

And if you’re a fan of a cappella, you’ll be stoked to know the Bend A Cappella Festival will return to the Tower Theatre Feb. 10 through 12 with workshops, team competition and guest vocal groups such as The Bobs and Naturally 7.

Theater and comedy

It’s busy times ahead in local theater, if the early months of 2017 are any sign.

Case in point, 2nd Street Theater. Sandy Klein of Stage Right Productions, the nonprofit that runs the theater, said, “It is hard to decide which production or event I’m most excited about, but I think our theatergoers are going to see a year of some great drama, some amazing performances and a lot of variety.”

2nd Street’s 2017 season will see productions of “Disenchanted,” a musical revue about not-so-happy princesses, as well as “Evil Dead the Musical,” a bloody good play and a perennial Central Oregon favorite. June 3 will see the return of the 24/SEVEN Theater Project, in which playwrights and producers have 24 hours to write, rehearse and stage a play. 2nd Street will also stage two original plays by local playwrights in 2017.

Among the first things up at the theater: AMZ Productions’ staged reading of the classic “Clue,” taking place at 7:30 p.m. Friday. On Jan. 13, “Hand to God,” an irreverent, fast-paced comedy about a possessed sock puppet opens at 2nd Street. Note, this one is billed as not suitable for kids. (Sorry, kids! One more incentive to become a grown-up.)

Topsoil Theatrics and Mejaski Choreography are teaming for “Some Enchanted Evening,” a classic song and dance revue at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Cascades Theatre in Bend. The event is a fundraiser for their upcoming production of “Spring Awakening,” a Duncan Sheik rock musical in which 19th century teens discover teen sexuality. It opens Feb. 2 at 2nd Street Theater before heading out on a “Central Oregon mini-tour,” as Topsoil’s John Kish calls it, with stops at The Belfry in Sisters and then a return to Bend for a few dates at the Tower Theatre.

Local comedy favorite Jake Woodmansee will reprise the title role in Lurking Squirrel Productions’ “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” returning to Kelly D’s in Bend for three weekends Feb. 9 through 25. In performance Thursday through Saturday evenings, each of the Thursday performances will be all-ages shows.

Cascades Theatrical Company in Bend will present a stage adaptation of the beloved Louisa May Alcott novel “Little Women,” opening Jan. 20 and running through Feb. 4 at CTC’s Cascades Theatre. Feb. 16 through 18, CTC’s All Aspects Teen Theatre will present Jean Giraudoux’s French playwright “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” translated by Maurice Valency. March 3 through 18, CTC will present the Tom Stoppard comedy “Arcadia,” which explores the links between an English country estate’s past and present. Greed, seduction and deception are all in play in the creepy thriller “Tantalus,” running April 21 through May 6. CTC will end its season on a high note with the acclaimed musical “Rent,” which happens to be CTC’s 300th show.

Derek Sitter of Volcanic Theatre Pub has an action-packed 2017 planned. When he’s not fronting VTP’s new house band, Bad Dirt (look for them in occasional opening slots), he’ll be working on films, including a documentary on homelessness, and staging plays.

“I plan at least four very challenging theater productions at Volcanic that includes Albee’s ‘The Goat,’ and Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘The Flick,’ by Anne Baker,” he said.

Thoroughly Modern Productions has plenty planned for its 2017 season, which will include four shows, all to be performed at the Tower Theatre. First up is “Annie the Musical,” which will feature more than 50 youth actors, adults in lead and ensemble roles, and an actual dog as Sandy. It runs Jan. 27 through Feb. 4. TMP will follow that show with a one-weekend presentation of “Guys and Dolls” (June 2 through 4), followed by “Cinderella” (Aug. 17 through 20) and “Rock of Ages” (Sept. 15 through 24). In the fall, TMP and the Tower will jointly present the jukebox musical “Rock of Ages” Sept. 15 through 24 as part of the Tower Theatre Live Series, previously known as the Marquee Series.

Comedy fans will want to make note of comedian Louie Anderson, of Comedy Central’s 100 greatest stand-up comedians list, bringing his brand of comedy to the Tower on April 1.

Rhonda Ealy, the improv performer and instructor behind Triage and Reality Benders, tells GO! that she’s planning to produce a documentary about Triage, whose roots stretch back more than a decade to 2004.

“We have tons of footage from over the years, and it is more than time to do something with it,” she said.

Visual art and more

The folks behind Mockingbird Gallery have opened a new contemporary art space, Peterson/Roth Gallery, at 206 NW Wall St., Suite 1, in downtown Bend. Stop by for Friday’s Grand Opening, taking place from 5 to 9 p.m. during this month’s First Friday Gallery Walk, to see “Winter Show,” by featured artists Valerie Winterholler and Mytchell Mead, as well as works by other artists.

The High Desert Museum will exhibit “The High Desert Home Front” from Jan. 28 through Sept. 4, marking the 75th anniversary of our nation’s entry into World War II with this show of artifacts, photos, immersive scenes capturing the High Desert contribution to the war effort. “Legendary Landscapes,” an exhibit of breathtaking High Desert scenery, runs Feb. 18 through Sept. 30.

Atelier 6000 will hold its third Biennial International Artist Books Exhibition from March 3 to April 2. The theme is “Relics and Ruins.” “We expect a variety of book forms, including constructed books, altered books, and typeset books from around the world,” said Dawn Boone, executive director of A6. The Best in Show winner earns a two-week residency at PLAYA, a retreat in Summer Lake.

Stuart Breidenstein, the artist-owner of Stuart’s of Bend, is thinking big in 2017: “I’m working with the DIY Cave … who have taken over the adjoining property,” said Breidenstein, who’s relocating his business from the Old Ironworks building at 50 SE Scott Street to DIY Cave’s home at 444 SE Ninth Street.

“I will be moving there and expanding. We want to build a large maker community in that industrial area. It will be a multifaceted facility housing membership maker opportunities, maker-tech, education, retail, ‘cart-style’ dining, entertainment, large-scale sculpture and more,” he said. The so-called 9th Street Village “will be by far Bend’s largest maker community,” said Breidenstein, who aims to hold a soft opening in the spring, and a gala grand opening in early summer.

We’ve just scratched the surface of visual art happenings, but we’re running long here. Watch these pages in the months ahead for info on the return of Art in the High Desert (Aug. 25-27), the High Desert Mural Festival (Sept. 23 and 24) and many other fine art events.


BendFilm will continue its “In Case You Missed It” series at 6 p.m. Monday with a screening of “The Brand New Testament,” a hit at the 2016 BendFilm Festival. Then, on Feb. 8, BendFilm will host Samantha Grant and a screening of “Daughters of the Forest,” as a prelude to the 2017 Muse Conference, March 3 through 5 in Bend. And of course, there’s the main BendFilm Festival, happening Oct. 12-15. For tickets and more info, visit