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Posted: Friday, January 14, 2000

Good art is a blend of technique and soul, and by all accounts the Vista Trio has plenty of both. We'll find out Saturday night.

We've all heard technically proficient singers and musicians showing off their virtuosity. For me, it's just not that interesting. It's not enough.

Most of us have also seen plenty of earnest artists indulging in their soulfulness. It's like heartfelt teen angst. You can appreciate the honesty, but it's not entertaining for very long.

There's no doubt the three players in the Vista Trio are virtuosos. Cellist Andrew Cook and pianist Shari Raynor are Peabody Conservatory grads and have been professional players for 20 years, recording, performing and teaching. They've been friends and collaborators throughout the past two decades, and formed the trio six years ago to complement their other musical endeavors.

Violinist Aimee Kreston recently returned to America after serving for five years as the concertmaster of the Orchestre de Paris. All three musicians live in Los Angeles and record for the motion picture industry.

Percussionist Mark Young of Fairbanks heard the group perform last week and was mightily impressed, especially with their phrasing and the pianist's ability to subtly shift the timing.

``They play the spaces between and behind the notes,'' he said. ``You guys are in for a real treat.''

The Vista Trio plays at 8 p.m. Saturday at Northern Light United Church.

Buddy Tabor and Jillian Clark perform at 7 tonight at the Myriad Cafe. Clark is new to town and this will be a chance to hear some fresh music. Tabor is a well-established Juneau songwriter, guitarist and singer. He's released three CDs of his songs, and has some new songs worked up for the show. I always enjoy his performances. He generally puts together a pretty good band as well.

Clark will probably play the first set and Tabor the second.

``How I Learned To Drive'' is back for just two shows this weekend, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium. Perseverance Theatre is taking the show on the road for a dozen performances in Anchorage and Fairbanks later this month.

The play deals with a complex sexual and emotional relationship between an older man and his teen-age niece, and is recommended for mature audiences.

Ed Christian and Marta Lastufka are compelling performers and well cast in the roles of Uncle Peck and Li'l Bit. Peter DuBois is directing. My sense is that this version will be as good or better than the ``Drive'' we saw two years ago.

I recommend sitting close to the stage.

The Great Outdoors can provide some entertainment this weekend as well. Tonight outdoor enthusiasts can vicariously enjoy Lynn Schooler's raft trip down the Rio San Cristobol in the Bolivian Andes.

He's offering the presentation from 7:30 to 9 p.m. tonight at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, part of the Friday Fireside Chat program series. It's a good story.

``Stories in the Snow'' is a four-hour tracking workshop, taught Saturday by naturalist Steve Merli of the Discovery Foundation. It begins with a slide show, followed by several hours outside, tracking and storytelling.

I was following a set of otter tracks in the snow Wednesday. He crossed paths with mice and dogs, other otters, and checked out spots where ravens had landed in the snow. The tracks really do tell stories.

Merli kicks the class off at 9 a.m. at the Mendenhall River school library. The cost is $25, and there's still room if you want to show up.



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