This week our community lost a prominent artist whose life and prodigious creative energies were devoted to the theater.
This is not a theater column but I am a theater writer. So I would like to remember John Rousseau, who was one of the finest and most gifted theater professionals this region has known.
He died suddenly at his Monterey home, apparently in his sleep, Sunday evening, age 64.
His loss will be felt deeply by his friends and colleagues, as well as individuals and organizations in the community to whom he gave generously of his time, knowledge and skills.
He will certainly be missed as well by audiences who have, for over 40 years, enjoyed the fruits of his exceptional skills as an actor, director, writer, designer, technical director and producer.
He is survived by his wife, the well-known actress and teacher MaryAnne Schaupp-Rousseau.
Rousseau possessed a quiet but vast competence that made his projects and focuses run smoothly delivering consistent creative flair on stage and as a director-designer-builder.
Though surely he appreciated applause for his accomplishments, he did not actively seek it, preferring to devote his time and talents to the artistic tasks and challenges before him.
In this regard, he cultivated a strong behind-the-scenes professionalism even though he appeared brilliantly in many acting roles over the years.
For nearly three decades he served as technical director of Carmel's Pacific
He was one of the "four musketeers" who built the theater, the other three being PacRep's executive director and founder Stephen Moorer, business manager Julie Hughett and literary manager Dan Gotch.
The four of them worked as the core team, in a truly remarkable collaboration, that grew the theater into a thriving semi-professional company with an impressive theater complex.
Rousseau was, and is, the heart of PacRep and will remain so long after his death. He left a powerful legacy — that will continue in the creative work of his colleagues — of integrity, steadfastness, commitment to excellence, and generosity to the community.
You may not know this man or his work, but if you love art, goodness and the creative process, you may want to say an inner "thank you" for what he has given us.
It's showtime for the Carmel Bach Festival. This week the musicians arrive from around this country and the world. Back-to-back rehearsals begin. And public pre-festival events take place.
Most of these public offerings are free of charge. All of them provide excellent showcases for the music-making of this world-class 75-year old summer event.
The formal opening night performance happens later this month, on Saturday, July 14, when music director and conductor Paul Goodwin leads the ensemble in the first performance this summer of J.S. Bach's masterwork "Mass in B Minor."
Two weeks of concerts, lectures, master classes and special events follow culminating in "The Best of the Fest" concert on July 28.
Festival dramaturge David Gordon, oversees the free prefestival events: the open rehearsals with maestro Goodwin, the Adams Vocal Master Class open sessions and the Young Musicians Showcase.
The one prefestival ticketed event "Bach to Beethoven" takes place Wed. July 11 at 5 p.m. at the Church in the Forest in Pebble Beach.
Last year the open rehearsals with Goodwin attracted such huge crowds members of the Bach Festival staff were stunned. The new conductor was a smash hit with audiences before opening night.
"These open rehearsals are a gold mine for both the festival and the community, " said Gordon. "We believe they build audiences by letting people inside to see what our processes are behind the scenes. Last year we had these record-breaking crowds, I think, because Paul Goodwin was new and because he plays to the audience in an amazing way. He brings the audience into the actual rehearsal experience. We were blown away by it last year!"
This week Goodwin leads three of these onstage working sessions, beginning Saturday at 2:30 p.m. with the orchestra, chorale and chorus rehearsing the "Mass in B Minor."
Attendees are invited to gather in the Sunset Center foyer 30 minutes beforehand for an introductory talk by Gordon.
Monday at 10 a.m., Goodwin will be rehearsing Brahms Symphony No. 2 with the orchestra, and July 10 the open session will feature the orchestra and chorale in Handel's "Alexander's Feast." A final open orchestral rehearsal takes place Wednesday, July 18, at 10 a.m.
This Sunday at 4 p.m. at Sunset, Gordon emcees the Young Musicians Showcase. This is a fun and amazing show of young talent. I was impressed last year with the high quality of these young players and their stage presence.
The popular Adams master classes begin Monday at noon at the Church of the Wayfarer in Carmel and continue at this time Thursdays and Mondays through the end of the festival.
The ticketed showcase concert of the Adams fellows takes place July 28 at 1:30 p.m. at Sunset Theatre.
Tickets for Wednesday's "Bach to Beethoven" chamber concert with virtuoso harpsichordist Yuko Tanaka and violinist Emlyn Ngai are still available.
For more information call the Carmel Bach Festival at 624-1521 or visit the web at www.bachfestival.org.
For more by Barbara Rose Shuler visit her new website at www.barbarasbest.com.GO!