After spending time at the Cambria Center For The Arts open house, I thought of all the opportunities beautiful Cambria offers to music lovers of all levels and tastes.

Though not featured at the Open House, the Cambria Center For The Arts offers concerts and performances that feature both local and visiting artists in multiple genres.

The community was recently treated to a beautiful, personal blend of music and memoir by local singer/writer/multi-instrumentalist Mary Anne Anderson, who shared her story from childhood to today, through the musical touchstones that marked her journey. A brave, thoughtful performance. Brava, Mary Anne.


Intimate, stellar concerts are offered on occasion at Painted Sky Studios.
The Legendary Jazz Series, hosted by distinguished pianist/vibraphonist/educator Charlie Shoemake, brings top-level musicians to town to perform in the intimate setting of the Harmony Cafe. The names may not be readily known by those who don’t follow jazz, but the performances are other-worldly brilliant.

There is no shortage of performance spaces that feature local area talent, from solo singer/songwriters to duos, trios and revolving groups of like-minded artists who collaborate and support each other’s visions. Casual listeners who happen to stop by for a taste at 927 Beer can find themselves enchanted, disturbed or otherwise moved by a voice, a lyric, or a personality putting it out there for the world to experience.

Stop by the Farmer’s Market and hear live music delivered by an eclectic range of talents including a trombone quartet thematically named “Bone Appetit”.


The Cambria Community Chorale is a magnet for many older members of the community. They carry a love of song up on the risers, joyfully belting out everything from holiday standards to intricate, multi-part vocal pieces. It’s great fun to scan their faces as they sing; the serious – “I can’t make-a-mistake-ers” to the “I think I’m in the right place-rs,” to the “I can’t believe I’m having this much fun-ers.” One thing is sure – they all enjoy being part of the musical community. I see you, Midge!


The current Spring concert is a doozy, spanning everything from the classic Americana of Aaron Copeland to the pop sparkle of ABBA. There is just something indescribable about listening to fifty or more mature singers raising the roof of a church with the 70’s pop classic (and personal guilty pleasure) Dancing Queen. I mean, you just have to experience it for yourself! Luckily, there is one more performance scheduled for May 19th at the Presbyterian church on Burton Drive.

The Chain

Beyond the rehearsals and the performances, the Chorale lives their commitment to music. Every year, the Chorale, in concert with the Lions Club, provide scholarships for local students with the desire and commitment to further their music education. These awards come with the understanding that the students and their families will commit to a level of support, and that the training will be embraced and given the proper level of focus.

Each spring, the students join with their teachers in a recital, demonstrating the skills they have gained and more importantly, the true love they have for the art. From the littlest pianist to the tallest singer, performances touch a supportive community of family, friends and fellow Cambrians. Nerves and confidence sit side by side, and it doesn’t matter how many mistakes happen or how many restarts are required. Everyone is in it together.


Not enough can be said about the teachers. I can tell you with confidence that the level of effort put into each student, each piece, and each performance far exceeds whatever pay they receive. Watching the teachers work with the kids is a joy. They encourage, compliment, and correct as they journey along, note by note. They are building musicians and so much more; they are building confident and caring kids.

Education, The Musical!

Even with the financial pressures out schools face, Coast Union still goes all out for the annual high school musical. Building the musical is a great process where complete chaos turns into manageable chaos as scores of students get to put their efforts and passions on display. The performances are the end product of months of a collaborative effort from students, teachers, parents, musicians,and technical crews. The whole megillah is supported by promotional, logistical, and administrative folks who devote themselves to the endeavor.


Along the path to performance, real learning takes place. The students experience challenging situations that they will often face as they move through life. Conflict resolution, competition, repetitive practice, social skills, and teamwork all come into play. Disappointment, envy, and tears are as present as laughter, confidence, and splashy performance.

Life Lessons

They learn the differences between merit and entitlement, between wanting to shine and working to shine. They have the chance to succeed or not succeed, and the opportunity to learn how to handle both. They can learn a new skill, and realize that there is just as much creativity and satisfaction in helping to build scenery as singing in the chorus. They live real-life case studies in helping each other succeed. It is life lessons in a time and place where learning and growing are encouraged and supported. As much as the grown-ups involve themselves in the endeavor, it is, and should always be all about the kids.

There is plenty of Education in the Arts.