Chico performances present Uncle Dad’s Art Collective


Natalie Hanson

Before the performance a member of Uncle Dad’s Art Collective.

A weekend of musical events offered distinctly different, exciting journeys into two very different but unforgettable styles of music thanks to Chico’s School of the Arts.

Through SOTA, Uncle Dad’s Art Collective returned to Chico for a colorful, soul-filled tribute to Stevie Wonder at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

In previous years, the ensemble has performed in tribute to The Beatles and Queen, with unique blends of the artists’ musical styles with their own flavor. This particular tribute combined Wonder’s best-known singles with some work from even his concept albums, offering moments to shine to nearly everyone involved.

Opening with My Cherie Amour, and finishing with You are the Sunshine of My Life and Sir Duke, versatility was also spotlighted. One performer soloed, played bass, played percussion and even played electric guitar on some numbers.

Some separate artists even offered their own take on classics. Pat Hull delivered an acoustic, mellow version of the traditionally upbeat “Isn’t She Lovely.” Wonder’s catalog is generally not associated with strings, yet a cello and several violins offered a rich background to several songs. A choir even entered Laxson at one point to deliver a simple, a capella rendition.

The event was also a celebration of dance with a distinctly 1970s theme. Belly tops, fur coats, neon shades and silk blouses mixed with unitards and jumpsuits. Most numbers featured dancers adding to the theme of each song, from big band to modern style.

With all these elements, the concert invited a build of energy in celebration of soul, up to a climax that left some members of the audience dancing with joy in their seats or in the aisles. Ultimately, “Songs of Stevie Wonder” offered an electrified blend of musical styles celebrating the mingling of soul and jazz.

Natalie Hanson can be reached at [email protected] or @NatalieH_Orion on Twitter.