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The Cello in the Trees

Trails & Vistas brings live art to Donner Summit for its tenth anniversary
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Art Hikes Info: Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 7 to 8, groups leave every 15 minutes, $30/adults, $10/children, Pacific Crest Trail on Donner Summit,

10th Anniversary Concert Info: Saturday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m., $20/advance, $30/door, 50 percent discount for art hike attendees, Truckee Amphitheatre,

Imagine hiking on a trail, the sounds of life have vanished. It’s only you and your nomadic tribe of fellow hikers and the sounds of nature. You come upon a ravine and hear the sweet sound of a cello echoing around you. This sound does not belong on this journey, but you embrace it as the music warms your heart.

This is the Trails and Vistas art hike, where you will experience art tucked away in nature. In the middle of trees you might chance upon a poet reciting aloud as the wind howls with his words. On the edge of a cliff you might stumble upon dancers who are doing pirouettes on the earth’s dirt. In the trees could be an artist painting the sights around her, completed works hanging from the trees. InnerRhythms dancers could be dancing on the edge of a cliff overlooking Donner Lake.

Last year, as a volunteer, I led a group on a hike. Having never been on an art hike myself, I had no idea what to expect. As the guide, I got to experience the tour the same way as the rest of my group. Every performance touched my soul.

I led my group up a steep hill of rocks to the beat of a drum coming from up above us. As we walked toward the beat, we stopped at a pond with an artist in an extravagant avant–garde costume reciting a monologue. Her words spoke to me directly.  She was reminding me to not let go of who I want to be and where I want to go.

This year is Trails and Vistas’ 10-year anniversary. To celebrate, there will be a concert at the Truckee River Regional Park at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7 featuring Native American flutist Ann Licater, a Japanese drum group from Reno, and the San Jose State Symphony Orchestra.

The most exciting part of this year’s event will be the 40-piece orchestra and the Tsurunokaie Taiko drummers playing among the trees and wildlife on the Saturday art hike.

I have a busy life balancing two toddlers and a job, but making time to volunteer at this event has become a must for me. I get to be involved in something great and exciting. As I lead my group along the hike, I am giving them each an experience that they will carry with them for years to come.

Artists this year include Angelika, who chants in ancient Sanskrit, and Ian Ethan Case, who plays the double neck guitar and the African Kalimba.

Whether you buy tickets and enjoy your hike as a guest, or you wish to volunteer, this is a performance you won’t want to miss.

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February 14, 2019