As the slower summer season unfolds, it can be important to seek out the often hidden cultural gems available in the central San Joaquin Valley.
One of them is the annual Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy, popularly known as FOOSA, which is in full swing this week at Fresno State.
Now in its fourth year, the festival brings together a star music faculty and talented young musicians from around the world.
A public concert this weekend is my top arts pick for the week.
The event: FOOSA faculty members offer a free chamber concert for the public Saturday that will feature such works as the Johannes Brahms Piano Quartet No. 3 and the Hidas Trio for trumpet, horn and trombone. The festival is a collaboration between the Youth Orchestras of Fresno and Fresno State.
The draw: This is a chance to hear top-notch musical talent. The FOOSA faculty includes musicians representing the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Puerto Rico Symphony and a host of other professional orchestras.
Notable names include Bruce Bransby, (formerly principal bass of the Los Angeles Philharmonic), Edmund Cord, (formerly principal trumpet of the Israel Philharmonic) and Luis Fred (trombonist with the Chicago Symphony).
Road trip: The FOOSA ensembles, conducted by festival director Thomas Loewenheim, will perform 8 p.m. June 24 at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. You can reserve free tickets online at www.foosamusic.org.
Mark your calendar: The culmination of the festival is a concert 4 p.m. June 26 at the Fresno State Concert Hall featuring the FOOSA Philharmonic, the winner of the FOOSA concerto competition and younger musicians from the FOOSA Half-Day Program.
Details: The faculty chamber concert is 8 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Fresno State Concert Hall. www.foosamusic.org.
Trouble in Sanger
The event: Blossom Trail Players opens its second season with Meredith Wilson’s classic “The Music Man.”
The draw: Sanger’s community theater scene is bustling with the founding of the new company, which is promoting itself as “theater in bloom.” Here’s your chance to support a growing institution.
This year’s production of “The Music Man” follows last year’s “Fiddler on the Roof,” which featured a cast of more than 40. It is directed by Dan Husak.
Details: The show opens 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 17, and continues through June 25, at Sanger High School, 1045 Bethel Ave., Sanger. Tickets are $12, $10 students and seniors. www.blossomtrailplayers.com/tickets.