A Gathering of Spirit in Sonora to Celebrate 150 Years of Yosemite

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Presented by YExplore Yosemite Adventures and Cole Video. Partnering with the City of Sonora, Tuolumne County Arts Alliance, and Hive-Arts.org


Yosemite 150th Anniversary Event

I hope everyone in Sonora is as excited about this unique event as I am. We are one of only a very few Yosemite area locations that gets this incredible opportunity. So, it is our goal to make the town shine on January 11th. - BZ Smith

Join YExplore Yosemite Adventures and Cole Video on January 11, 2014 in a celebration of arts in Historic Downtown Sonora. The Gold Rush era California town will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Yosemite Grant with displays of Yosemite art and musical performances to commemorate the event. The festivities will be highlighted by an exclusive screening of the latest film by Ken Burns, “Yosemite: A Gathering of Spirit” at the town’s most cherished landmark, the Sonora Opera Hall. Ken Burns is widely recognized as a master filmmaker with award winning documentaries about The National Parks, The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, and the Brooklyn Bridge among many others. This event was made possible by the generous contributions of the Yosemite Conservancy, the only philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to supporting Yosemite National Park.

A live Opera Hall performance portraying John Muir by Lee Stetson, an actor who stars in Burns’ masterful “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”, will also accentuate an evening filled with Yosemite “spirit” during Sonora’s 2nd Saturday Art Night. Stetson has been recognized as the voice of John Muir for many years in performances that have left audiences amazed and wondering if they had just met the old Scot himself.

Musicians will play original and period musical pieces in many of the local shops that line Washington Street whose windows and walls will be adorned with magnificent paintings and photographs representing the crown jewel of California, Yosemite National Park.

John DeGrazio is one of the event’s organizers and owns YExplore, a Yosemite tour company impacted by the recent Rim Fire and government shutdown. He declares “This event is a characterization of the spirit of Yosemite and the great people who continue to build our community here in Sonora. Rather than lament our losses, we prefer to move forward and show the world what a cultural outlet our little town has become.” Graced with scenic beauty in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Sonora is quickly becoming recognized as an area engulfed in the arts. The Tuolumne County Arts Alliance works closely with many local artists who are given the opportunities to express themselves during these special nights and groups like The Greater Good, a local collaborative of artists, insure those expressions are creative and current. BZ Smith is the owner of Hive-arts.org and is a leading visionary for 2nd Saturday Art Night. BZ shares “I hope everyone in Sonora is as excited about this unique event as I am. We are one of only a very few Yosemite area locations that gets this incredible opportunity. So, it is our goal to make the town shine on January 11th.”

Screenings of “Yosemite: A Gathering of Spirit” will be on the hour at 5, 6, and 7 pm on January 11th at the Opera Hall located at 250 South Washington St. in Sonora and will be free to the public. Stetson will perform at 8 pm. Shops will remain open throughout the evening and will be showing the works of many highly talented local artists. Visitors are also encouraged to share in the culinary experiences offered by several of the town’s restaurants.

The mission of YExplore is to encourage travelers of all ages to get outside and make a connection with nature and wilderness through educational outdoor adventures that inspire personal growth while developing a deeper understanding of conservation and stewardship. The Mission of the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance is to promote the arts and arts education in Tuolumne County, thereby enriching the lives of residents and visitors. As a professional artist, BZ Smith of Hive-Arts focuses on the art of storytelling and promoting arts events. Cole Video is using technology to create innovative​ video marketing and social media services.

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John P. DeGrazio

Catherine DeGrazio
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