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Issue 87 | September 2017

On July 30, a diverse and enthusiastic crowd of nearly 4,000 enjoyed the Symphony’s fourth annual free community concert, even singing along and dancing on the lawn and in the aisles to the ever popular Mariachi Sol De México de José Hernández. Also in July, the Symphony’s Board welcomed five new members. Propelled by the excitement of another successful Summer Music Academy, the Music Education department held auditions for its four youth ensembles and prepared for its very full, 2017-2018 season and for the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra’s third international tour. The “tall” orchestra will meet, rehearse and perform with the first of five Music Director Candidates in October, for the opening weekend concerts October 7, 8 and 9. 

The Symphony looks forward to sharing another season of quality classical music with you – its 90th! We have an exciting season planned with incredible programming, Music Director Candidates, talented guest artists and beloved Bruno Ferrandis’ final concerts. Have you seen the video of the candidates yet? You can “meet” them ahead of time by going to the SRS website and watching a short film in which they each introduce themselves. And you can help pick the winning conductor by participating in our post-concert Music Director Candidate surveys!

Kayleen Asbo, PhD

Previews, concert-specific videos, Music Director Candidate interviews

Ushered back by popular demand, local musicologist and lecturer Kayleen Asbo returns with season previews, enriching videos on the first five concert sets, and interviews with the Music Director Candidates. Kayleen lectures for the San Francisco Opera as well and offers a series of classes entitled Musical Mondays, in which she presents the evolution of Classical Music, tying in with the Symphony’s Classical season. Kayleen brings insights from her rich background as a pianist, composer and cultural historian.
Mark your calendars for the Santa Rosa Symphony season previews with Kayleen to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the season’s rich programming on October 3 and 4. The October 3 talk will be held at Church of the Incarnation, 550 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa. Kayleen repeats the talk on October 4 at Petaluma Historical Library and Museum, 20 4th St, Petaluma. Contact Patron service at (707) 546-8742 or reserve your tickets online for this free lecture.
One hour prior to each of the performances in the first five concert sets, Kayleen will interview each Music Director Candidate. There will also be an opportunity for Q & A with the Candidate. These Concert Conversations are general seating and free to Classical Series concert ticket holders.
In addition, get sneak previews on the Santa Rosa Symphony website in September, with videos featuring Kayleen, about each of the SRS Classical Series concerts.

Single tickets now on sale

Single Tickets are now on sale for the Classical Series, Family Series and Youth Orchestra concerts. Classical series tickets start at $29. Don’t forget that with every paid adult ticket, you may request one free youth (7-17) ticket (not available online). Family series tickets are still $17 for adults and $12 for children.


Candidate search – input encouraged!

Following the first five concert sets, patrons will receive an email with a link to a survey to provide feedback on their experience, which will inform the Music Director Selection committee as they make that final decision between the five highly-qualified, extremely talented candidates. Please take the time to let the Symphony know your impressions.

Bruno on tour

Wondering what Bruno’s been up to? Our Music Director, Bruno Ferrandis, conducted the Ostrava Days Festival in Czechoslovakia this summer and will conduct Verdi’s Rigoletto for Opera of Tours in France in October. We look forward to his return for the final two concert sets in the Spring.

Music Education department

Summer successes and a spectacular new season

Another wonderfully successful Summer Music Academy taught all aspects of music to 187 children for three weeks, July 10-28.

New and very popular this year, were courses for our least and most experienced musicians: Kinder Violin and Theater/Film Ensemble. The students showcased their newfound skills during the last two days of the session. The final concert on July 28 featured students from Performance Academy classes – Jazz, String ensembles, and Theater/Film Ensemble.

Parents told us:
“Quality instruction made fun! My son breaks out into different rhythms and wants to play his guitar all the time now and has been teaching his little sister how to tune the guitar…it’s become second nature.”
“She honestly seemed to love everything about it, except that it ended after three weeks.”
“Learning music with new and existing friends was like learning a new way to ‘play’ with others.”
The Education Department looks forward to a jam-packed season with music by and for young people throughout Sonoma County and the world! Our Primarily Classical series, in which SRS ensembles play in 27 elementary schools launches and Simply Strings, our El Sistema-inspired social action program, enters its fifth season at Sheppard Elementary School, with 100 young string musicians. We are especially excited about the Showcase Concert on March 10, when all SRS Youth Ensembles will play a piece commissioned for the entire group by SRS Principal Trumpet player Douglas Morton, and the SRS Youth Orchestra’s third international tour.
Other season highlights include: a SRSYO Retreat, two Preparatory Orchestra (PO) Repertory Orchestra (RO) concerts, two Young People’s Chamber Orchestra concerts at a historic, artsy venue in Petaluma, three SRSYO concerts, including the “Bon Voyage” concert in June; PO performs with the Napa Valley Youth Symphony in Napa and RO performs in Gualala. See our Education and Community page for more information and dates.

Going on its third international tour…

Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra

China Tour 2015, photo credit Rosalie Abbott

In June 2018, the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra (SRSYO), named the 2013 Youth Orchestra of the Year, embarks on a life-changing journey to the birthplace of Classical music. SRSYO will perform three exhilarating concerts during their 10-day tour of Grosse Saal, Mozarteum in Salzburg; Rabenstein, a community just outside of Vienna, and Pest Vigado Hall in Budapest. On this, their third international tour, Rebecca Roudman and the Dirty Cello Band joins them on stage. Rebecca, who is also a SRS cellist, offers a masterclass in conjunction with the November 2017 concert set. SRSYO previously toured in New York, Germany and the Czech Republic in 2009 and to China in 2015. The 55 young musicians will also enjoy culturally-enriching excursions in the cities of their engagements.

Simply Strings enjoys new and continued support

President Brian Reed (left), Sue Bisbee, and Past President Rita Alonso of Rotary Club of Santa Rosa East present a $1,000 grant to Santa Rosa Symphony Director of Development Ben Taylor. Photo credit: Rotary Club of Santa Rosa East
The Symphony gratefully accepted a $15,000 grant from Community Foundation Sonoma County in support of its after-school instrument training and social development program, Simply Strings. Community Foundation Sonoma County has supported Simply Strings and its mission to change underserved youth’s lives through arts-inspired confidence and achievement since the program’s pilot year in 2013.
We also welcomed a new supporter—Rotary Club of Santa Rosa East. Joining Simply Strings in its goal of creating positive social change through music, the Rotarians of Santa Rosa East granted $1,000 to purchase a doublebass for use by an underserved young musician in the program.
In light of the tremendous response from school staff, parents and the community, the Symphony’s Board of Directors recently announced its commitment to permanently sustain Simply Strings at Sheppard Accelerated Elementary School in Roseland, while the program has extended its own commitment to each of its students to seven years (from the current 5-year program), serving them from grades two through eight.
Thanks to the support of community leaders like Community Foundation Sonoma County and Rotary Club of Santa Rosa East, Simply Strings now offers viola, cello and bass classes, in addition to violin instruction. Simply Strings student Camila Oregon praises the program:
“This is why I am at Simply Strings. It is to play a viola so that they’re not left out. It is so they are equal — viola, violin, bass and cello — all the same even if they’re big or small. They all have their own unique way. A lot of people say, ‘You play an instrument?’ A lot of people think that it is really cool. Not everyone gets a chance to play an instrument, and they really want to. That is why I respect Simply Strings and that is what everyone should do. Every instrument is important. If you play one, you should not ever give up because you will regret it!”

Take me to the Symphony!

The Santa Rosa Symphony provides bus service to Sunday Symphony concerts. No more worrying about driving at night or in inclement weather, or finding a good parking space. And it’s especially convenient for those living in or near Oakmont, Spring Lake Village or central Santa Rosa.
Tickets begin at $11 per ride. This affordable service will get you to the Green Music Center on time for the pre-concert talks, which you are sure to enjoy, especially this year, with Kayleen Asbo introducing you to the Music Director Candidates in the first five concert sets. Tickets may be purchased by calling Patron Services at (707) 546-874 2 (not available online).

Bus Schedule:

Oakmont Bus – Berger Center Parking Lot, 310 White Oak Drive (at Oakmont Drive), Santa Rosa
Arrives Oakmont: 1 pm
Departs Oakmont 1:20 pm
Arrives GMC 1:45 pm
Spring Lake Village Bus - Spring Lake Village roundabout, 5555 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa
With stop at Santa Rosa Park & Ride, Hwy 12 and Brookwood Ave. (Hwy 12 overpass, between Vets Building and Fairgrounds)
Arrives SLV 12:30 pm
Departs SLV 12:50 pm
Arrives SRP&R 1:05
Departs SRP&R 1:20
Arrives GMC 1:45 pm

Subscribers have more rewards than ever before

The Santa Rosa Symphony has increased the benefits for Full Series Subscribers! Now, 7-Concert Series Subscribers may purchase additional single tickets at a15% discount all season long, request two complimentary tickets to one SRS Youth Orchestra concert at Weill Hall and have ticket fees waived for any additional single tickets they may purchase. The complete list of benefits can be found on the SRS website, where you can also find a complete description of the many packages, each suited to different needs and schedules. You can even thumb through the season brochure. If you’re not already a subscriber, call Patron Services at (707) 546-8742, Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm (after 10:30 on Wednesdays), and they will happily discuss which package will work best for you.

Symphony League presents: Doug Morton and Del Sol

Deerfield Ranch Winery Sept 21

Doug Morton and Del Sol will make it a jazzy Thursday in the wine country when they return to Deerfield Ranch Winery in Kenwood on September 21. The Santa Rosa Symphony League event starts at 6 pm with award-winning wines and bountiful hors d’oeuvres. 
The acoustics of the cave are particularly well-suited to the eclectic mix of uniquely-arranged songs and jazz classics by this popular group. Joining Morton are Charity Goodin, vocalist; Rob Fordyce, bass; and Brad McKeague, drums. Proceeds from the event benefit youth music education programs of the Santa Rosa Symphony.
Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased at or by sending a check to the Santa Rosa Symphony League, 50 Santa Rosa Ave., Suite 410, Santa Rosa CA 95404.

Heck Foundation sponsors Beach Boys tribute

The Guerneville-based Heck Foundation recently awarded a $5,000 grant to underwrite the third concert of the Santa Rosa Symphony Pops Series, “Symphonic Surfin’ Safari,” featuring Papa Doo Run Run on Sunday, February 12, at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts.
Legendary Beach Boys tribute band Papa Doo Run Run had an unprecedented 15-year run as the celebrity house band at Disneyland from 1975–1990. Today they perform worldwide. They will join SRS Principal Pops Conductor Michael Berkowitz and the Santa Rosa Symphony for an afternoon of crowd-pleasing classic rock from the 60s and 70s, including its award-winning recreations of Beach Boys hits, such as California Girls, Wouldn’t It Be Nice and Fun, Fun, Fun.
For more information and tickets the Symphony Pops Series, visit

SRS welcomes new board members, chairs

The Santa Rosa Symphony installed five new members to its board of directors. They are Susan Flannery Adams of Petaluma, Corinne Antipa of Santa Rosa, Liz Martin of Santa Rosa, Robert May of Windsor and Shelby Milanez of Santa Rosa.
Jamei Haswell steps up this year as Board Chair, while Alan Seidenfeld fills her former role as Vice-chair.  Ron LaBruzzo is the new Treasurer and Linda Castiglioni continues her duties as Secretary. Jamei says, "Their strengths will enable the Symphony to continue to become even more community centered."

Susan Flannery Adams, a professional faculty member in the School of Business and Economics at SSU, discovered a love of music from her fourth-grade band teacher in Middletown, Ohio, who encouraged her to learn the oboe. An enthusiastic patron of music, Susan recognizes the importance of engaging youth in music education and appreciates those who commit to be professional educators and musicians.

Corinne Antipa is a longtime member of the Santa Rosa Symphony cello section, has an active private studio and is a freelance performer in northern California. She studied with Bonnie Hampton and then with Colin Hampton before going to college where she was drawn back to dance. Corinne, who holds degrees in dance from Mills College, spent forty years on the faculty of Santa Rosa Junior College, teaching dance technique, dance history and choreography.

Liz Martin has been a season ticket holder since 1998, the year she moved to Sonoma County. As a SRS League member Liz has helped raise money to support SRS music education programs, most recently as the Vice President Ongoing Fundraising. She is a retired realtor with Coldwell Banker. Liz and her husband, Waights Taylor, have five children and seven grandchildren, all living in the Bay Area.

Robert May is an internationally-recognized, award-winning composer of classical music. He has won numerous awards from CAPAC/ASCAP, CBC Radio and many more prestigious organizations. He is Executive Director of Fountaingrove Lodge for Oakmont Senior Living, the country’s first LGBT - Continuing Care Retirement Community. Robert is also an accomplished classical pianist, an avid fine art collector and presents entertaining talks on wine and food, and classical music.

Shelby Milanez, supervised wardrobe departments for various film and television productions in New York. Notable film and television credits include: Margin Call, Oscar-nominated Blue Valentine and BAFTA-nominated An Englishman in New York; four seasons of Starz Network’s POWER and three seasons of NBC’s Royal Pains. Shelby has degrees in Sociology and Gender Studies. She is focused on inspiring and supporting the next generation of artists within Sonoma County.

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Patron Services: (707) 546-8742