By Sophia Bennett

The Richard E. Wildish Community Theater opened in 2006 with the goal of providing a high-quality performance space in downtown Springfield. With 283 seats, state-of-the-art sound and light equipment, and near-perfect acoustics, Wildish is living up to its promise of bringing new arts and entertainment options to Lane County residents.

Rather than developing its own performance company, Wildish has four resident companies. These organizations have found their artistic home in Springfield and give many of their performances on the theater’s stage.

One such group is Swing Shift Jazz Orchestra, a Eugene-based company that draws jazz musicians from all over the Willamette Valley. On February 19, they’re planning a “For Locals Only” concert featuring the Lane Jazz Ensemble and music from Eugene/Springfield area arrangers and performers. An April 17 concert will feature Ken Peplowski, a well-known jazz clarinetist and saxophone player, and Portland-based Claire D at Wildish. Another Portland musician, trombonist Dave Glenn, will join the orchestra for a May 20 show.

The Riverside Chamber Symphony, a 30-person orchestra made up of non-professional musicians, will play two concerts there this spring. A St. Patrick’s Day concert on March 17 will feature a Bach concerto for oboe d’amore with soloists Jackie LaRue and Brennen Guillory. The group will also play Schubert’s Symphony No. 6 in C Major, Irish songs, and Brahms’ dance music.

Riverside’s May 26 show will include a double concerto by Italian composer Domenico Cimarosa (featuring soloists Sarah Campbell and Mindi Calabrese on flute), a Verdi overture, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8.

On April 18, Chamber Music Amici will play a concert featuring Semmy Stahlhammer, violinist and concertmaster of the Royal Opera of Sweden, and his wife, cellist Isabel Blommé. Chamber Music Amici was founded in 2009 and has a mission of performing high-quality, affordable concerts for people of all ages.

Stahlhammer and Blommé are coming to Eugene on a week-long residency program that will also include master classes on violin performance and chamber music at the University of Oregon, and several visits to local schools. The concert will open with a Mozart quartet. That piece will be followed by Tchaikovsky’s String Sextet Souvenir de Florence and klezmer music, the traditional secular tunes of Ashkenazi and Hasidic Jews.

Rose Children’s Theatre is presenting It’s a Grand Night for Singing – A Tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein on April 29 and 30 and May 1, 6, 7, and 8. Children involved in the theater company will perform songs from the popular writers of American musical scores.

The venue also hosts concerts by non-resident performance groups. Charter school Academy of Arts and Academics (A3) hosts many of its performances at Wildish. Local chamber music group MarshAnne Chamber Players will give a concert there on May 22. Once a month the Wildish Theater shows a movie as part of their SpringFilm festival. There is typically a short discussion about the film afterward.

Dan Egan, manager of the Wildish Theater, suggests reviewing the online calendar to keep up with upcoming events. The theater will host several fun activities this summer including a Shakespeare camp, an acapella singing camp, and dance camps. The theater can also be rented for events such as corporate meetings.

630 Main St. | 541/868-0689 |