Fan request brings Sierra Foothill Musicians to Clovis

Barbara Ulman and Philip Youngholm perform a piano piece written for four hands during the Sierra Foothills Musicians concert at Memorial United Methodist Church in Clovis, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

On Aug. 26, the Sierra Foothill Musicians and fans from all over the community gathered at the Memorial United Methodist Church in Clovis where audience members enjoyed a variety of works from famous composers such as Scarlatti, Schubert, and Barbara Ulman to name a few.

The free, hour-long live chamber music concert was performed by six talented local musicians that was jointly sponsored by the Sierra Foothill Composers’ Co-Operative and Vision Academy of the Arts.

“These people really want to perform for you. They want to share their craft and their craft is so life-affirming,” said Bernadette Planting, the group’s publicist. “I particularly liked how [soprano] Tiffanie [Trujillo] spoke and talked about each groups of songs before to tell what she was doing because not all of them were in English.”

Trujillo, 22, graduated from Fresno State last May where she sang the trophy role in “Carmen.” She also won a scholarship after studying voice in Italy and will plan to study singing in Germany this upcoming summer. On Sunday, Trujillo sang a set of German songs by Schumann and Schubert. Concluding the set was “Apres un Reve” by Gabriel Fauré which was performed as a duo with her colleague Kelvin Diaz Inoa who played the cello to the same song.

“What stood out to me was seeing the outstanding performance of my colleagues,” Trujillo said, “My good friend and colleague, Kelvin and I had been brainstorming a lot about how we could serve to enrich the musical climate of the area, so seeing that come to fruition and having our collaboration supported by the community meant a lot.”

Ulman, a composer and musician, organized the group and said it has been a team effort and everyone was involved with some part or another.

“Our hope is to keep providing music for the public. We play just for fun and we love to do it,” Ulman said. “Many people don’t realize how fun it is to go to a chamber music concert. [Since] the musicians are right there, you can see who is playing what and you can tell what sound comes out of which instrument so it is a very personal kind of concert.”

For some, like Planting, the group’s music has had a personal impact.

“As an audience member you are promising to listen and open up your heart to whatever it is they are providing,” Planting said. “When I was in a broken place, Barbara Ulman’s compositions spoke to me and I used them as therapy. I felt like it gave me permission to cry – it just connected things inside of me that I just couldn’t find a place to weave back together.”

Last June, Sierra Foothill Musicians initially performed a concert in Oakhurst and captivated the attention of local community member and choir singer Fran Shellenberger. She was so intrigued that she then arranged it to be performed at her Clovis church.

The Sierra Foothill Composers have two future shows planned. It will be arranged so that the first concert will open in Oakhurst with the second taking place in Fresno.