Arts Devo

Saying goodbye to Pat Kopp, a Chico arts giant

Pat Kopp

Pat Kopp

Rest in peace Pat Kopp, one of the most important figures in the history of Chico arts, died Monday, April 4, after a lengthy battle with an undisclosed illness. He was 76. According to a Chico State campus announcement, Kopp came to town for a job as a lighting designer and stage manager at the university in 1964 and went on to work in many capacities on campus until his retirement in 2001.

Probably the most notable accomplishment of his tenure—especially when viewed through the lens of Chico today—was his development of Chico Performances. As founding director of University Public Events in 1981, Kopp spearheaded the creation and implementation of what’s arguably Chico’s most valuable cultural resource, and since 1982, Chico Performances has enriched our city with more world-class talent—everything from Philip Glass and Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Bill Maher and Willie Nelson, plus giants in modern dance, the most popular Broadway musicals, greats of West African music and hundreds more—than we would’ve had any right to expect in our isolated Nor Cal outpost.


That legacy is on top of his work as theater director, having been at the helm of more than 45 plays and musicals, and his work in co-founding and nurturing the university’s summer Court Theatre program. Kopp was given the Mayor’s Award for Achievement in the Arts by the Chico Arts Commission in 1997, and in 1999 he received the Western Arts Alliance’s Jerry Willis Award for his work as a leader in the arts. After retiring from Chico State, Kopp served as the executive director of the Paradise Performing Arts Center, produced plays at Butte College and was a board member for the Turner Print Museum.

Kopp is survived by, among others, his wife of 50 years, well-known local artist Jerril Dean Kopp.

As of press time, no memorial services had been announced, although a message on the Chico Performances Facebook page said, “a celebration of life, in the form of an Irish wake, will be announced at a future date.”

Arythamaticulas! A sweet addition has been made to the Rocker-T show at Lost on Main this Saturday, April 9. Joining the Brooklyn reggae singer/DJ on stage will be L.A. rapper Aceyalone. The ridiculously vocally dexterous MC is one of most well-regarded underground hip-hop artists ever, having gotten his start with the fast-paced lyrical acrobats of the seminal Freestyle Fellowship, and he’s going to be in downtown Chico! (Maybe he’ll stop by downstairs and lend a few bars to the Chico Breaks the Record effort?) It’s a packed bill that also features local promoter/DJ AZ.Redsmoke (with Johnny Dutro) and a host of “special appearances” by, in addition to Aceyalone, MCs Himp C and Hap Hathaway (of The Resonators), plus DJs JahSun, Arlee and Dub Heezy. Doors at 9 p.m. Tickets only $7.