Play, Lady, Play—For 55 years, the Sacramento Community Concert Association, which supports itself entirely on subscriptions, has been bringing big-name musicians to Sacramento—names like Mantovani, the Helsinki Chorus, the Boston Pops, the Ballet Russe, Richard Tucker and the Cologne Men’s Chorus (which, I imagine, smelled just great). “We’ve been making a lot of people happy for a long time, but we’re also the best-kept secret in town,” says Dorothy Alden, who runs the show(s) with, she is quick to point out, “the help of about 70 volunteers and especially Sam Kamilos and Peggy Petty,” who chair the music selection and subscription committees, respectively. Alden started out with the association as a volunteer in 1969 and served as its president for three years before becoming its paid exec in 1999. Over a cup of green tea at the 15th and H streets Starbucks, she says the current season of five concerts “is one of our best ever. But that’s hard to say because, frankly, I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad season.” The average crowd size for one of the concerts, all held at the Sacramento Community Center Theater downtown, is 2,000. The average age is probably between Alden’s and mine. (She’s in her post-mid-70s; I’m in my pre-late-50s.) Alden says she’s had four main passions in her life: “Music, my kids, books and baseball.” She’s an ardent River Cats fan and an unrepentant Chicago Cubs fan who first got hooked on the game “as a 2-year-old, when I climbed into my uncle’s lap and we’d listen to the games on the radio.” If you’re in the market for Mercedes music at Yugo prices (about $17 a concert, but you need to subscribe), you might want to visit the group’s website: saccca.org. You can catch the Masters of Harmony on Sept. 27; upcoming concerts include the Romeros Quartet, a classical-guitar group, on Oct. 29, and Spanish Brass, a globe-trotting quintet, on Jan. 22. Footnote: Some years ago, Alden’s and husband Don’s daughter, Nancy Acheson, studied music at Chico State but when she graduated, took a job as a police dispatcher. “Her dad told her she was pretty successful,” Alden says with a wink, “because two weeks after she got a music degree, she was on the air.”
Tour de Hoarse—When I met Diane Tempest, she was a travel agent with one of those wonderfully distinctively crackly voices that sound like they were made to sing the blues in smoky nightclubs. Then she left the travel business and opened a midtown art gallery/florist shop, Blooming Art, as well as a gallery in San Francisco. Now she’s combined both of her passions and signed on as an executive tour director with Davisville Travel, which has a program that specializes in cultural excursions. The best part is that she’s still connected to her Sacramento gallery, now called Galleria Tempest, in the same space as Blooming Art, which is managed by her sound-alike daughter, Dawn.
Narrative Hook—One of my favorite couples, along with gin and vermouth, is Rick Weidner, president of Weidner Architectural Signage, and Melinda Gotelli, an advertising exec for a national high-tech magazine. The two recently went fly-fishing on the Sacramento River, just south of Redding. It was Gotelli’s maiden voyage, but a memorable one: She managed to hook and land a 23-inch steelhead trout. “Men—OK, I—have fished for years and never landed a steelhead this size,” Rick mock-pouts. The clincher: After her victory, Gotelli said to her partner of two-plus years, “OK, you bought me the fishing license. When are you going to buy me the other kind?”