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Chloe and I send you our warmest holiday wishes! Although these holidays will be unlike any other that we've experienced, we hope you each find your way to feeling the holiday spirit! On top of the warm welcome you've shown us as we have settled in Santa Rosa, we were both deeply touched by the many congratulatory messages we received after our wedding last month. We have much to be grateful for in these challenging times, not the least of which is the wonderful community where we now live and the continued vitality of our orchestra.

Thank you for continuing to spread the good news of our virtual season! I hope you enjoyed our concert in November. It was such a thrill to showcase some of the incredible talent in our orchestra and a big shout out to Adelle-Akiko Kearns, Jay Zhong and Michelle Maruyama for their brilliant performances!

In December, we'll conclude our mini-Beethoven festival with the monumental Eroica (Heroic) Symphony. One of the joys of doing the first three Beethoven symphonies this fall has been taking the journey to this moment and really getting to appreciate the compositional and philosophical leap forward that occurred in this third symphony.

"Heroic" is not only a word for a Beethoven symphony—it's appropriate for what we accomplished this fall in launching our season. Our musicians have truly given everything of themselves creatively, artistically and emotionally on stage, even without the hope of hearing applause. Our staff have taken on so many extra roles with intense dedication, despite the obstacles of working from home and having to reimagine all our artistic and education programs. Our board, donors, and sponsors have been a rock in this uncertain time, supporting us even when there was no certainty that performances would resume. And every single one of you reading this are a part of this heroic effort. With all the online activities vying for your attention, you chose to dedicate some of your time to us. You welcomed us into your homes. You let us do what we do best—bring you music. 

This is why, together, I know we can accomplish anything and overcome the obstacles that are still to come.

Wishing you safe, healthy, happy and beautiful holidays!
Sincerely yours,
SRS @ Home for the Holidays: Celebrate the holidays and Beethoven's 250th Birthday!
SRSYO Virtual Concert: Holiday music spanning centuries
The Institute keeps young musicians challenged and busy
Music For Our Schools: Adjusting to distance learning realities
Meet Our Musicians: Carla Wilson, Principal Bassoon
Remember Your Symphony on Dec. 1 - Giving Tuesday 
Sing-Along Messiah and Happy Hour with Dan Earl

SRS @ Home for the Holidays

Celebrate the holidays & Beethoven's 250th Birthday!

The holidays just aren't complete without a holiday concert. Join us for this holiday program featuring Beethoven's Third Symphony and Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 was a game-changer, not just for the composer's career, but for classical music in general. Beethoven dared to introduce new, nontraditional elements, which were unappreciated by the critics of the day. After this long, unique symphony, the up-and-coming composer was branded a revolutionary.
December's concert begins with Source Code by Jessie Montgomery, a living composer from New York, who also dares to break with convention, offering something new and thought-provoking. The Washington Post describes her works as "turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life." An African-American, whose own 39th birthday is days before the concert, Montgomery writes of the piece, "The first sketches of Source Code began as transcriptions of various sources from African American artists prominent during the peak of the Civil Rights era in the United States." She describes her one-movement dirge-like work as centering on a new "melody based on syntax derived from black spirituals." 
Vivaldi's Concerto for Violin, Two Oboes, Two Horns and Continuo provides an excellent showpiece for pairs of orchestra members to "talk" to one another and is a vibrant example of Vivaldi's recipe for an engaging concerto. 
Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves, arranged by Ralph Greaves, pairs Vaughan Williams' version of the timeless, ubiquitous English tune with the composer's Lovely Joan. Vaughan Williams wove Greensleeves into the music for Shakespeare's play, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," and composed the Lovely Joan for "Sir John in Love," his own opera, based on the same plot. The pairing embodies Merry Old England.
Learn More


SRS Youth Orchestra in Concert

Holiday music spanning centuries

The Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra wraps up its fall season with a third virtual concert on Tuesday, December 22 at 7:00 pm on the Santa Rosa Symphony YouTube channel

It is a rare treat for the young musicians to perform seasonal music! They hope you feel their excitement and holiday joy. The program features many favorite pieces arranged for woodwind quintet, brass quintet, string ensembles and flute choir. From the Pastorale of Corelli’s Christmas Concerto to Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride (complete with the percussion whip and the trumpet’s horse whinney) with dances from the Nutcracker in between, this is a concert that is sure to help your holiday feel complete.

Meanwhile, please visit the SRS YouTube Channel AND the SRS Youth Orchestra's YouTube Channel and click on subscribe to get reminders for upcoming content. 
Santa Rosa Symphony YouTube Channel

Institute keeps young musicians challenged and busy

We are delighted that our beginning level string program, String Orchestra Workshop, will continue to meet at least through December at Children’s Museum of Sonoma County! To keep the children warm and dry, rehearsals are held under a tent or indoors. On Saturday mornings, 20 children, observing strict safety protocols and health guidelines, learn to play violin, viola, cello or bass. Institute staff members are very grateful to the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County for helping the Institute introduce the next generation of musicians and concertgoers to the joy of music.
Santa Rosa violin maker Andrew Carruthers has begun work on The Redwood Violin, with a projected completion date in time for a March 2021 performance by Young People’s Chamber Orchestra. Two young composers, both members of Santa Rosa Symphony youth ensembles, have begun work on compositions for this instrument, made with locally sourced material. 
Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra presents the final of three Virtual Concerts on December 22 at 7 pm (see article above). 
Members of Debut Youth Orchestra and Aspirante Youth Orchestra are hard at work preparing recordings for their Virtual Concert in January.
Simply Strings Integrated Roseland Program has been so successful that it has been extended for another eight weeks. Every Friday, three Simply Strings faculty members, Robert Bowman, Alex Volonts and Darina Drapkin, bring virtual music appreciation lessons to 197 third-graders in the Roseland School District. 

Music For Our Schools

Adjusting to distance learning realities 

The Santa Rosa Symphony Institute for Music Education has a suite of programs which reach out to area schools. These Music For Our Schools programs supplement the wonderful work the music teachers are doing in Sonoma County schools. In this time of distance learning, these programs have had to make some adjustments in order to fill the changing needs of the schools.

The Elementary School Listening Program has been easily adapted to fit the new reality. The daily listening scripts and clips are being sent to the schools electronically. The scripts are translated into Spanish and a monthly integrated arts curriculum module has been included which the teachers make available to students. Demand for this program has increased this school year.
The IGNITE program offerings have experienced a major shift this season. In the face-to-face paradigm, professional development sessions were offered to classroom teachers, so they could teach recorder to their students. Now, Education Outreach Manager Jane Shelly sends recorder lesson videos, along with the Institute's IGNITE guide, to the teachers for distribution to their students. The goal of the IGNITE program is to prepare the students to perform a specific song to be played at the virtual Free Concerts For Youth in April.
In addition to the six It’s Elementary partner schools, this season these video lessons are also used at the Kashia Reservation School in Stewarts Point, the Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts and all 500 fourth-graders in the Santa Rosa City Schools District.

Small ensembles of the Santa Rosa Symphony usually provide assemblies at the six It’s Elementary partner schools.  This season, the assemblies, held via Zoom, will be a mix of the individual ensemble members introducing their instruments live and pre-recorded pieces of the whole ensemble, thus maintaining a level of interactivity between the musicians and students.

In this time of distance learning and shelter-in-place, Music For Our Schools is providing much needed arts education to the schools and teachers who are working so hard to nurture their students during this stressful time. For more information, email Jane Shelly.

Meet Our Musicians

Carla Wilson

Principal Bassoon

Carla Wilson has performed with the Santa Rosa Symphony for a total of 21 years, taking a break to raise her kids after her first season, 31 years ago. Carla is also Principal Bassoon for the Marin, Berkeley and California symphonies and a frequent sub for the San Francisco Symphony. Her professional highlights include performing as a substitute with the San Francisco Symphony for the Queen of England and performing a demanding contemporary bassoon concerto with the Berkeley Symphony. Of the Santa Rosa Symphony, she says, “Making the transition to playing in our new hall, and now with our new conductor has been very exciting. Santa Rosa Symphony is a class act, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”
Carla switched from tenor sax to bassoon at her middle school band teacher’s request, and she went on to study bassoon performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

When it comes to favorites for listening, Carla has many. She’s crazy about Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances and all his piano concertos. “I swoon for Mahler and can’t listen to the last movement of Beethoven 6 without feeling joy or to the second movement of Barber’s Violin Concerto without crying.”
When not making music, Carla enjoys cooking, working in her vegetable garden and learning about medicinal and culinary herbs. She’s also studying the science and history of Kundalini Yoga.

Remember your Symphony on Dec. 1 - Giving Tuesday

In a year like no other, with challenges most of us never imagined, your Symphony continues to perform quality orchestral music, providing joy when it's most needed. Your gift to the Santa Rosa Symphony on Giving Tuesday, Dec 1, will help the Symphony reach people throughout our community and beyond with FREE virtual concerts. The Symphony appreciates your support now and always.  
Donate to the Symphony


Sing-Along Messiah and Happy Hour with Dan Earl

Santa Rosa Symphony League member anticipation grows for a month of celebration in December. The League welcomes Dan Earl on December 9 at 4 pm to its Zoom Happy Hour. Please join in for a retrospective session with choral icon Dan Earl as he discusses his storied career in Sonoma County. 
The 40th annual Sing-Along Messiah, which supports the SRS Institute for Music Education, will be streamed on YouTube on December 20 at 3 pm. See Dan over the years in highlights from past events and watch him virtually direct the finale with nearly 100 voices for the thrilling Hallelujah Chorus. The Sing-Along Messiah will remain on the League’s YouTube channel, so you can view it later as needed. 
Your presence is encouraged at both events. Email League President Liz Bippart for a Zoom invitation for to the League Happy Hour and to receive emails with more information about Sing-Along Messiah.  
Visit the Santa Rosa Symphony League for more information
Santa Rosa Symphony    
50 Santa Rosa Ave, Suite 410, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Patron Services  54-MUSIC (707) 546-8742  
Contact staff, via phone message or email M-F 9 am - 5 pm

Programs, pricing, dates and artists subject to change.
Photos of Francesco and youth musician by Susan and Neil Silverman Photography. 
Photo of Carla Wilson by Art Garcia. 

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