Mistress of the Mix: Unveiling The Cascade Theatre’s 2014-15 Season!

Have I ever told you the story of how I got here? No? Refresh your drink, settle in, and I’ll tell you how I became acquainted with Redding and became the Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. And stick around, because I’m going to unleash the Cascade’s 10th Anniversary Season on you. It’s kind of a big deal.

You probably already know that I started out at Jefferson Public Radio as a teenage volunteer. Worked there through college, and then moved to Alaska where I continued working in public radio for years before opening a restaurant, driving a school bus, leading tours, acting as the town’s only video producer and wedding DJ, and then I became a mom. But I missed radio. And on the very day I sold my bistro, on a lark I looked on the world wide web to see if there were any radio jobs out there I might be interested in, and it eventually led me back to JPR.

Long story short, there was an open position. I applied. Didn’t think I had a chance. I got a phone interview. Then another interview in person. It took 8 months, but finally I was hired. But not for the job I applied for. And not in the city (or even the state) I thought I was headed to.

When I got the initial phone call letting me know that I’d landed a phone interview, the person who called me said he didn’t work at the Ashland studios of JPR. He was stationed in Redding, where he was holding down the fort at JPR’s Northern California studios. JPR has a studio in California? Whaaaat? He said he coordinated all of JPR’s activities in the state. He rode herd over a few volunteers, was responsible for marketing and fundraising efforts, and hosted a daily radio program. And oh…by the way…he was helping JPR revitalize downtown Redding because the station had bought an old art deco movie theatre, and was restoring it, with the grand hopes of operating a great performance hall that would bring people and business downtown, hoping to create something beautiful and amazing in Redding.

“I want your job.”

I actually said that out loud to him. I told him his job sounded fascinating. He was doing radio and so much more. He was doing something that I wanted to be a part of. And lucky me, they eventually decided to tap him for the position I’d originally applied for, so they gave him a big fat raise, moved him to Ashland and brought me to Redding to serve as the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio. A dozen years later, I’m so happy that things turned out the way they did.

I started twelve years ago this month. The first two years were full of some of the most amazing fundraising I have ever been involved with. Redding was so generous. Thousands of people gave to support our efforts, believing in what was possible. After raising more millions than you can count on one hand, the theatre was finally finished in 2004. It re-opened in the same week of August that the theatre had originally opened the first time around, back in 1935. Opening weekend was the first time I got up on the Cascade Theatre stage and addressed a crowd. I won’t go into the politics of how I was able to finagle my way onto the stage, but I felt like I’d just staged a coupe. And all I wanted to do was to tell Redding to give itself a hand for bringing this beautiful building back to life.

Tell you what, though. I wasn’t prepared for standing under a hot spotlight in front of 1000 people and addressing the crowd. I’d never gotten up on a stage before. All my speeches had been made all alone in a radio studio in front of one, lonely microphone. I was not ready for my first moment on the Cascade Theatre stage on opening day. I had rehearsed, I had notes written on my hand in sharpie, but then I walked out onto that stage in my pink dress, I was a deer in headlights for a moment. I pretended that I wasn’t panicking, that I wasn’t sweating balls, that my throat wasn’t closing, that I couldn’t catch my breath, but I was legitimately and honestly terrified.

Then the audience changed everything. People clapped. They were nice. They laughed when I tried to say something funny. Wish I could remember what that was. Maybe that was the time I pulled a ringing cellphone out of my bra. Well, whatever it was, I was still nervous, but finally calmed down, shook the nerves out of my voice and got down to business welcoming the crowd to a sold out showing of The Wizard of Oz. When I asked the audience to give themselves a round of applause, the theatre roared with the sound of clapping, and I knew I was in the right place, doing the right thing. And from that moment on, I’ve been completely at home as the Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre.

So here we are. 2014. Ten years down the road, and the Cascade is celebrating a decade of bringing amazing performances to Shasta County. I’ve been dropping a few hints around town and on stage here and there over the past few weeks, but finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for is here. The unveiling of the 2014-15 Cascade Theatre Performance Series!  Remember, Cascade members get first crack at tickets starting May 30th, and the general public can buy tickets on June 17th. Memberships start at $50 with all kinds of perks besides early ticket purchase. You can get a membership here or by calling 530-243-8877.

You’ll see some great artists return to the theatre, like Los Lonely Boys, Ziggy Marley, Jake Shimabukuro, Brian Regan, Natalie MacMaster and Garrison Keillor, along with some artists we’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing at the Cascade before, like Jimmy Cliff, Matisyahu, Kansas, The Temptations and Ian Anderson with the Best of Jethro Tull. My short list of must-see shows this season includes Jimmy Cliff, Matisyahu, Ziggy Marley and Sarah Jarosz & The Milk Carton Kids.We’ll have a great 10th Birthday Party the first week of August, culminating with a sing-a-long version of the first film I served as Mistress of Ceremonies for. I’ll try not to panic this time.

Introducing the entire Cacade Theatre 2014-15 Season (and today’s playlist):

  • July 12          Los Lonely Boys – How Far Is Heaven
  • July 18          Arrival: The Music of Abba – Take A Chance
  • July 26          Kidz Bop – Party Rock Anthem
  • Aug 01          Jimmy Cliff – Reggae Music
  • Aug 03          Joe Diffie – Pickup Man
  • Aug 05          Creedence Clearwater Revisited
  • Aug 08          Wizard of Oz Sing-A-Long
  • Aug 20          Amos Lee – Sweet Pea
  • Aug 21          Brian Regan – Golf
  • Aug 25          Matisyahu – One Day
  • Aug 29          Dustin Lynch – Wild In Your Smile
  • Sept 09          National Acrobats of China
  • Sept 13          Chris Botti – Contigo En La Distancia
  • Sept 15          Ian Anderson: Best of Jethro Tull – Aqualung
  • Sept 19          Kansas  – Carry On Wayward Son
  • Sept 27          Manhattan Short Film Festival
  • Oct  05          SF Opera: Rigoletto
  • Oct  07          Dark Star Orchestra – Truckin’
  • Oct  16          Celtic Tenors – Danny Boy
  • Oct  23          Lee Ann Womack – I Hope You Dance
  • Oct  24          The Temptations  – Papa Was A Rolling Stone
  • Oct  26          Jake Shimabukuro – Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Nov 02          SF Opera: Attila
  • Nov 07          Ziggy Marley – Justice
  • Nov 12          Asleep At The Wheel – You’re My Sugar
  • Nov 14          Sarah Jarosz & The Milk Carton Kids – Build Me Up From Bones & Snake Eyes
  • Nov 28-30     Cascade Christmas
  • Dec  04          Garrison Keillor – Coffee Jingle
  • Dec  05-07     Cascade Christmas
  • Dec  19          Tomaseen Foley’s A Celtic Christmas
  • Jan   04           SF Opera: Mefistofele
  • Jan   29           Eric Johnson & Mike Stern – Cliffs of Dover & Mood Swings
  • Feb  06           Shaolin Warriors
  • Feb  11           Tommy Emmanuel – Beatles Medley
  • Mar  07           Duane Hampton Presents: Piano Artists In Concert
  • Mar  18           Cirque Mechanics
  • Mar  22           SF Opera: Capuleti
  • Apr  04           Buddy Guy – I Go Crazy
  • Apr  17-26      Peter Pan, The Musical
  • Apr  29           Natalie MacMaster – In My Hands
Today’s streaming playlist also comes directly from the list of season performances, in chronological order.  Just click on the play arrow in the embedded playlist below the list, or go directly to the Grooveshark Playlist. One small mea culpa for sharing music of the actual supergroups Abba & CCR, but be rest assured that the groups reviving their hits are dedicated to being true to the original as possible. Kind of like Dark Star Orchestra, the band that brings back Grateful Dead concerts back alive, song for song, riff by riff.

Valerie Ing-Miller has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for nine years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She’s the mother of a teenage daughter and a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier, and can’t imagine life without them or music. Valerie wakes up with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.

Valerie Ing
Valerie Ing has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for 14 years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She and her husband are parents to a couple of college students and a pair of West Highland Terriers, and Valerie can’t imagine life without them or music. The Mistress of the Mix wakes up every day with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
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17 Responses

  1. Avatar James says:

    I remember your cell phone bit and that awesome day! The Cascade really is a treasure for Redding and I am sure it is so great for the audience to have a familiar face and smile such as yours up there each time they come. Keep it up!

  2. Avatar Ginny says:

    Please remind us each month who is coming. Maybe as a P.S. to your writings.

    Thanks! ;o)

  3. WOWZA!!! What a line up!!!!

  4. Avatar Sue says:

    Love this column! It’s hard to picture you anything other than perfectly at home in front of a gazillion people. And what a lineup…I can’t wait. I know the whole community benefits so much from the vision and the efforts of JPR spearheading the restoration of the Cascade. Not to mention what it’s done for downtown. Everyone wins.

  5. Avatar James H says:

    This looks like an amazing lineup, especially with the group Arrival making an appearance. I have been an ABBA fan since I was in elementary school

    • Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

      A few days ago I was trying to test the waters and get some feedback from a few friends by dropping a couple of hints about the new season, and they seemed totally unimpressed until I mentioned Arrival! Then she said, “Oh, I am SO THERE!”

  6. Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

    By the way, Jeff Darling and I have a bet about which season show is going to sell out first. He thinks it’ll be Ian Anderson with the best of Jethro Tull. I say it’s gonna be Matisyahu. He is truly amazing! (….and he spent some of his formative, teenage years in Bend, Oregon, which is a plus for me).

  7. Avatar Kim H says:

    Great story about how our thoughts become reality (so choose your thoughts carefully). and, public speaking isn’t so bad when you’re talking about something you believe in, great story. I remember 10 years ago attending the Cascade opening events, the West Coast Live taping w/Mark OConnor, listening to Calatrava speak, it was crazy that we had the Sundial opening and Cascade opening so close to each other. Now we get to celebrate the 10-yr anniversary of both! and…nice line-up. It might get a son or two to visit 😉

  8. Avatar Shona says:

    Valerie, I remember when you first came to Redding. Was it really that long ago? My boyfriend Greg (now my husband) and I were crossing the bridge on the River Trail below Keswick, and we met you and your husband doing the same. After some brief introductions, you asked what the music scene here was like, and I distinctly remember mentioning to you there was not enough Reggae. You have brought a lot of great music to our area over the years, and we have enjoyed it all, but this season I feel like it’s all for us!!! What a lineup! Thanks, and keep up the great work! I’m with you, Matisyahu will sell out.

  9. Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

    Yes, you bet I remember that! That was a dozen years and one former husband ago! I have always loved Reggae, and have always lobbied to bring Reggae to the Cascade and anything we’re involved with for Viva Downtown (MarketFest, Market Street Faire…). Thanks for the acknowledgement, and hope to see you at Jimmy Cliff, Matisyahu and Ziggy!

  10. Avatar Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    This article is truly a celebration of a dream come true. Thank you for telling the story.
    I have to confess that I was skeptical about the success of the Cascade. I so underestimated the number of true music and performing arts lovers in Redding and the generosity of those people. Attending a performance or concert at the Cascade is always a thrill.
    I loved your story of your “stage nerves”. One time I called a DJ on a local radio station to contribute to a conversation, and my throat closed up and I could hardly talk! I was not on a stage. I was not in front of the microphone but the thought that my voice was going out on the air put me in panic mode. I was rather surprised! I mention this because it gives me greater respect for people like you, Valerie, who makes what you do look so effortless for your listeners.

  11. Avatar dean ing says:

    Val, you rarely stage a coupe: you, my love, stage SUVs! Actually I’d like to see you stage a convertible, if that pun doesn’t sail over like a Frisbee — think about it — but I suspect you were thinking of a coup. As in the French word for a political blow/strike/insurrection. Anyhow, it was funny & deserved being seen as a conundrum. (Original definition of ‘conundrum’ is a riddle, the answer to which is a pun.) Love,

    • Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

      Thanks Dad….I got it!!! I made a spelling error. You know I always write my columns at about midnight Thursday, so am always in dire need of a copy editor!

  12. Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

    An update for those of you just reading the list of great talent for the upcoming season: Sarah Jarosz & The Milk Carton Kids have cancelled their performance date at the Cascade Theatre. It was due to some communication issues between the artist & management, so no health issues or anything. Hopefully we can book them again at a later date. But if it makes you feel any better, the Cascade Theatre booking team is already working hard to bring some other BIG NAME talent to the Cascade in the next season that didn’t make it into the catalog. Members still get first crack at tickets.

  13. AJacoby AJacoby says:

    WHAT A TREASURE …. Yes, BOTH you AND the Cascade!