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So much has happened since I last wrote to you! First off, my heart goes out to all affected by the Glass fire. Even in the center of Santa Rosa, it was a nerve-wracking experience and my parents were among the many forced to evacuate. Yet, even in the chaos, we continued to plan for the orchestra's return to the Green Music Center for the first time in seven months. After two days of missed rehearsals due to smoke, it finally happened. We made music again. I'm still digesting all the feelings that came with that, but it was certainly a few days that I will always remember. 
And then we shared it with all of you! Thank you all so much for joining us and making our first virtual concert such a success with people joining together across our community and the world. There's no better feeling for a musician than knowing that you brought joy to people's lives with your work. You brought that feeling back to me and my colleagues again. Thank you. 
This is just the beginning. With this first goal achieved, we are dedicated to continuing to bring you great music all season long. Up next is our November concert, featuring several of our own musicians as soloists. You can read all about it in a beautiful program book that we have created, complete with detailed program notes. You can view it online or even print a copy to follow along with our concerts this fall.
Thank you all for believing with us through these past long months! It's good to be back!

Sincerely yours,
Francesco conducts Beethoven's Second Symphony
Season opener thrilled and inspired
Meet Our Musicians: Associate Concertmaster Jay Zhong
Youthful Vitality in Action in the Institute Ensembles
The benefits of a 2020-2021 Symphony Subscription
League hears from Jane Shelly and gets social
Francesco at Home

Francesco conducts Beethoven's Second Symphony 

The rich programming of the November 15 SRS @ Home concert spans centuries and offers works that range from a Beethoven Symphony to The Entertainer, made popular in the movie "The Sting." The concert also includes Bruch's Canzone for Cello and Orchestra featuring SRS principal cellist Adelle-Akiko Kearns. The Symphony's own Jay Zhong and Michelle Maruyama step into the spotlight for Chen Yi's Romance and Dance for Two Violins and Orchestra and audiences will once again be treated to a work by critically acclaimed composer Gabriela Lena Frank. 

Sunday, November 15, at 3 pm on YouTube
Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor
Adelle-Akiko Kearns, cello
Jay Zhong, violin
Michelle Maruyama, violin
GABRIELA LENA FRANK: "Coqueteos" from Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout
CHEN YI: Romance and Dance for Two Violins and String Orchestra
JOPLIN: The Entertainer and Maple Leaf Rag [arr. Schuller]
BRUCH: Canzone for Cello and Orchestra
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 2 
Program book, program notes, ways to watch and more
Rehearsal for Oct 11 concert by Kate Matwychuk

Season opener thrilled and inspired

The Symphony's first SRS @ Home Virtual Concert on Oct 11 garnered a rave review from music critic Steve Osborn, and elicited praise and donations from around the globe. Here's a small sampling of the things people were saying about the concert.

Praise from the Musicians: 
I’m a part of many orchestras, institutions, etc., and I have to say, I could not have been much more darn proud to have been any part of this. Watching the pre-concert talk and concert today gave me honest hope and inspiration, two things where I know I’m not alone in saying those wells have been running rather dry!   

Thanks for your vision and perseverance to get this done!  It was really moving and inspiring to see our orchestra shot with mostly high end cameras!  The total package, Francesco , the speeches, and the diverse program was really enjoyable. SRS has once again led the way for other Regional Orchestras. Thank you for your stewardship in this extremely trying time!!

Praise from our patrons:
Wow! What a delightful afternoon! I actually was unexpectedly emotional as I viewed the hall and the musicians. I realized how much I have missed the concerts. Thank you all for the time, work and starts and stops that went into this endeavor. I am forever grateful for the Santa Rosa Symphony.

Brilliant! Magnificent, delightful and totally rewarding in every way.

The repertoire is wonderful and Francesco did a brilliant job at programming and featuring all the different sections. The filming is beautifully done. It feels intimate and personal, but it also feels majestic. I love that you have musicians introduce each piece. 

Great selection of music, and the sound quality was also off the charts great.

Such a wonderful experience.  I can't imagine what this must have taken to produce. Thank you, thank you. It felt so intimate with all the close ups and at last being able to see Francesco without binoculars! A lot of tears. First to see the empty hall and everyone gagged behind masks. Then the dedicated presence of all the musicians. Then the timeless quality of classical music, which for me transcends limitations. A tribute to the human spirit. And tears of joy and gratitude for this. Got through a lot of Kleenex.

We loved the concert. [We watched] in a socially distant, face-masked group of five on our patio …..  spectacular! Bravo Francesco! Bravo SRS

I am having trouble coming up with words to express my absolute refreshing joy I felt on Sunday: I was taken away in the music, the sounds, the visuals (including the Hall, the musicians, the director). Thank you to all who worked to bring me—and others!—this fabulous gift.

A viewer who watched on a TV in Germany: 
Having in the program music from the greatand also in Germany famous composerGeorge Walker, the energetic Gabriela Lena Frank as well as Gabrieli, Strauss and Beethoven and the fact, that everyone wore a mask, although the orchestra was reduced, has shown a USA we love and trust: openminded, diverse, democratic, reasonable and a great cultural nation. ... I never listened to a Beethoven Symphony with reduced orchestra, but it worked very well and I enjoyed the perfect tempi Maestro Lecce-Chong chose. ... CONGRATULATIONS. 

From an Executive Director of an Arts Nonprofit: 
Just a note to say congratulations to you and the entire Santa Rosa Symphony team on yesterday’s virtual concert!  It was a lovely and inspiring performance.

Meet our Musicians

Jay Zhong
Associate Concertmaster

Playing the violin is truly in Jay Zhong's blood, coming as he does from concertmaster parents. At 13, Jay came to the states from China on a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied violin under Raphael Bronstein, a famous teacher of that generation, as one of his last private students. He also performs with the Monterey and Fresno symphonies, is concertmaster for the Mendocino Music Festival and teaches violin on faculty at SSU.

Jay attended the world premiere of Chen Yi’s Romance and Dance. Jay’s parents are friends with Chen Yi’s brother, a concertmaster for one of the leading ensembles in China. Jay provided insights and background to us into the work, which will be shared later.

One of Jay’s most rewarding moments with the Symphony was playing Mahler Symphony No. 1 as acting concertmaster at the first subscription concert in the Green Music Center. “Every time I play with the Symphony is a thrill.” Jay recently just released "Paganini 24 Caprices."


Youthful Vitality in Action in the Institute Ensembles

String Orchestra Workshop, the Institute's beginning-level string program, meets weekly at The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County. Institute staff is delighted to partner with this wonderful organization, and grateful to be able to hold rehearsals, observing all safety and health protocols, in its outdoor space. Nineteen children, ages 6-10, are learning to play violin, viola, cello or bass from two experienced instructors, Ivy Zenobi and Karen Zimmerman. “Ms. Ivy,” a violinist and violist whose ensemble, Bellarosa String Quartet, is in demand throughout the Bay Area, teaches beginning and continuing violin and viola players in String Orchestra Workshop, while “Ms. Karen,” a bassist with Santa Rosa Symphony, teaches the beginning ensemble class.
Some of the young musicians are returning, but for several of the children, this is their first experience ever with a musical instrument. Both the children and their parents have expressed great appreciation for the opportunity to meet in person. The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County is familiar to them, and they are comfortable learning in its spacious outdoor areas, among the redwood trees. 
This partnership is born from compatible missions: The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County inspires curiosity and creativity through joyful, transformative experiences while the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Ensembles’ vision is to offer young musicians an exceptional educational experience. Both organizations strive to serve the children of Sonoma County by providing opportunities for growth in nurturing, inspiring, safe environments.
Young People’s Chamber Orchestra, the advanced-level, conductor-less string ensemble, meets in person indoors at the Saturday Afternoon Club, also following strict health and safety protocols. The 14 members rehearsing on site and 2 joining remotely are aged 13-17. The group’s plans for the season include a recording session in the fall. The guest artist for the spring concert will be none other than SRS Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong! In addition, Young People’s Chamber Orchestra is also working closely with the League on an exciting project called the Redwood Violin. The brainchild of Santa Rosa violin maker Andrew Carruthers, the project involves the creation of a violin from locally sourced materials. A composition written by an alumna of YPCO (as part of the Institute's First Opus project) will be performed on the finished instrument by a member of the ensemble at their spring concert. 
Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra presents the second of three Virtual Concerts on November 24 at 7 pm on the SRS Education YouTube Channel. The concert features chamber music performed by several ensembles made up of orchestra members. 
Debut Youth Orchestra and Aspirante Youth Orchestra will complete their Virtual Concert recordings to be presented in January.

How you can help Institute students

The Institute for Music Education is in the middle of its fundraising/friend-raising event, Practice-a-Thon. Until November 24, ensemble members obtain sponsors to pledge money for every hour the musicians practice their instruments. 
To sponsor a musician for Practice-a-Thon, or to learn how you can help support the Redwood Violin project, email Director of Education Wendy Cilman

The benefits of a 2020-2021 Symphony Subscription

It's not too late to subscribe. Subscribe today and you will receive the exclusive access link to see the Oct 11 performance again until November 8 and the exclusive link to the special Oct 18 presentation with Olga Kern. 

1. Only Subscribers will have the opportunity to re-watch the virtual concerts, whenever they want, for up to 30 days after the Live Stream dates.

2. Only Subscribers will receive exclusive access to guest artist recitals and concert conversations with Francesco on YouTube.

Sunday, October 18 at 3 pm: Solo recital by Van Cliburn gold medal winning pianist Olga Kern Sunday, November 22 at 3 pm: Solo recital by renowned violinist Elina Vähälä
Sunday, December 27 at 3 pm: Solo recital by SRS principal violist Elizabeth Prior

3. Only Subscribers will receive an exclusive access link to view the 2012 historic Orchestral Opening concert of the Green Music Center on the Symphony’s YouTube Channel. This celebratory extravaganza featured Bruno Ferrandis and Corrick Brown conducting, plus Jeffrey Kahane performing on piano. The palpable excitement will move you to your feet. Relive that momentous event, or view it for the very first time. 

League hears from Jane Shelly and gets social

SRS Outreach and Youth Orchestra Manager Jane Shelly spoke on October 14 as the League's guest speaker for a Zoom Happy Hour gathering of League members. Jane brings her vast musical background to benefit the SRS Institute for Music Education’s many fine programs. One highlight of Jane’s presentation was her inventive adaptation for teaching elementary school children to play the recorder. With the pandemic’s challenges, schools are asking for music programs to augment their online curriculum.

Santa Rosa Symphony League says hello to Instagram! Over 800 million people primarily use their mobile devices to access social media. Being a visual platform, Instagram is also very personal. League member Linda Varrow leads the way to provide informative, interesting and entertaining content and reach other like-minded people who share similar interests. 

Take a moment to find Santa Rosa Symphony League on your Instagram account to view, follow and like the League! 

Francesco at Home

Francesco continues to keep in touch virtually weekly via his Thursday Night Live. You can join him live, contributing comments and reactions, every Thursday at 7 pm on his Facebook page. You can also find these after the fact on his YouTube channel
Santa Rosa Symphony    
50 Santa Rosa Ave, Suite 410, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

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Programs, pricing, dates and artists subject to change.
Photos of Francesco (embedded in graphics) and youth ensemble by Susan and Neil Silverman Photography. Rehearsal photo by Kate Matwychuk.

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