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December 2013 eNotes

Issue 50
December 2013

Bernstein’s Symphony
No. 1 available on
Naxos American Classics 


Leonard Bernstein isn’t conducting, but you can still take home his “Jeremiah” Symphony after you hear it at our December 7, 8, and 9 performances. We will have a limited number of recordings of this composition performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with soloist Helen Medlyn.

$20 at the CD sales table in the concert hall lobby.

Give the Gift of Music

You still have time to order a 4-concert mini-series for the music lover on your list. There are four concert sets after Christmas... January, February, March and May. This package is easily wrapped, it never spoils, it always fits, and it rejuvenates the soul.

Packages from $76-$272 depending on seating. Call 54-MUSIC (707-546-8742).

A gift of LIVE MUSIC is not soon forgotten.

Sing-Along Messiah
December 21 at
Spreckels Performing
Arts Center

The 33rd Annual Redwood Empire Sing-Along Messiah, presented by the SRS League, takes place at Spreckels Performing Arts Center, 5409 Synder Lane in Rohnert Park on Saturday, December 21 at 7:30 p.m. The Santa Rosa Symphonic Chorus and local soloists conducted by Dan Earl give the audience a boost, but it’s up to you to sing out! $20. Click here to purchase or get your ticket at the door, space permitting. Proceeds benefit the SRS Education programs.

Join the SRS
Youth Ensembles


Mid-Season Auditions for our Youth Ensembles are scheduled for December and January. Seats are open for the following instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello, Doublebass, Bassoon, Oboe, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Tuba and Percussion. No part of the audition needs to be memorized and all auditions follow the same basic format. Please call (707) 546-7097 ext. 225 for information.

This festive season’s musical offerings emphasize the human voice, solo or in chorus. Our December 7, 8 and 9 program is no exception. Hear mezzo-soprano Christine Brandes in Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1, and the 115-voice Symphony Honor Choir in Haydn’s Mass No. 10, as well as the charming Toy Symphony described below. Holiday best wishes from the Symphony family to yours!

Local celebrities make Symphony debut December 7-9 in
The Toy Symphony 

According to Santa Rosa Symphony’s program notes writer, Stephen Ledbetter, the opening piece in our December concert set is not a “symphony” but a “divertimento,” (cassation is another term) which describes a kind of entertainment or amusement, something charming and lighthearted. The score for The Toy Symphony calls for various children's toy instruments and noisemakers. In times past, the orchestra would fill out its ranks with famous composers playing the children’s instruments. In our case, the guest musicians are local celebrities and prominent community members.

Be sure to hear the following people make their Santa Rosa Symphony debut in The Toy Symphony: Santa Rosa Mayor Scott P. Bartley; Sonoma State University Chief Financial Officer Laurence Furukawa-Schlereth; Symphony supporter and community philanthropist Sam Guerrera, SRS Board President James Hinton, and Green Music Center board of advisors member and wife of SSU President Rubin Arminana, Marne Olson.

Most frequently, Leopold Mozart has been identified as the creator of this cheerful piece. He was the father of the young genius Wolfgang, and one of the most distinguished violin teachers of the eighteenth century—as well as a recognized composer.

A Very Merry Holiday Pops Concert Sunday, December 15 at 3 p.m. 

Have you experienced the newly-renovated theater at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts? The Symphony Pops holiday show on the afternoon of December 15 is the perfect occasion to check it out!  Principal Pops Conductor Michael Berkowitz and the SRS orchestra present A Very Merry Holiday Pops at this 3 p.m. performance which features the Santa Rosa Symphonic Chorus.
Among favorites on the program are: “Carol of the Bells,” “White Christmas,” “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” as well as the deeply-moving “Ave Maria” and “O Holy Night.” Rumor has it that a sing-along Christmas medley—sure to include “Jingle Bells”—is in store. Maestro Berkowitz engages the audience with anecdotes and humor during the pre-concert talk at 2 p.m. This is a great entertainment idea for visiting relatives or a nice way to spend the Winter Solstice.
REMEMBER, tickets for the Symphony Pops concerts are available only from the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts Box Office (707) 546-3600 and at their website:
Our thanks to the Holiday Pops sponsor E. R. Sawyer Jewelers. Additional generous support from Freeman Toyota Lexus.

Springtime in Paris Raffle Winner 

Accompanied by a drum roll and harp glissandos, Music Director Bruno Ferrandis pulled the winning raffle ticket just after intermission at our November 11 concert. The winner, Peter Neville, leaped from his seat in the Choral Circle North to express his delight. Peter, who is the director of Sonoma State University’s Student Union, opted to forgo the cash prize and accept the vacation for two in the “City of Light.” Peter said, “I’m looking forward to seeing Paris through the Maestro’s eyes.”
Our gratitude goes to Nancy Berto of Flying Dutchmen Travel for her complimentary trip planning and to all those generous donors who participated. The Symphony raised $28,000 through this raffle to support music education and the core classical programs.

Simply Strings violinists immersed
in classical music

Students and families of the new Simply Strings program at Sheppard Elementary school are becoming regular attendees at Santa Rosa Symphony events. Twenty-one 2nd and 3rd grade students are not only attending a daily after-school music program, but have also attended Family Concerts, Free Concerts for Youth at Weill Hall, and a string quartet assembly offered at their school as part of the It’s Elementary program. These students are truly immersed in classical music.
For eight weeks, these young musicians have studied the fundamentals of music using their voices, their bodies, and finally their half-sized and quarter-sized violins, for two hours a day, five days a week. Daniel Kahane, a member of the Simply Strings faculty, had this to say:
In our Simply Strings “núcleo,” we are immersed each day in various facets of music:  its melodies, its rhythms, its ability to evoke emotion and even passion. We learn to play the violin and read music.  We explore expressive movement and dance.  We learn to listen from a quiet place. We are inspired together.
The first public performance on Friday, November 22, showcased the students’ dedication; their tiny, skilled hands plucked pizzicato accompaniment for their version of Haydn’s “Surprise” Symphony, deftly switching to the bow for the “surprise” finish. The concert also included an enthusiastic performance of the Mexican folksong, “El Rancho Grande,” accompanied by local folk musicians and an excited audience.
Sixteen additional weeks of instruction and a culminating performance alongside the Santa Rosa Symphony on the Weill Hall stage for an audience of their peers are still to come for these promising young musicians. For many of them, it is a dream come true.
“Maestro, I had a dream that I was playing the violin in a symphony orchestra.” (Julian, age 7)
Copyright 2013 Santa Rosa Symphony, All rights reserved.

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Programs, artists and pricing subject to change.
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Santa Rosa Symphony
Administrative Office:
50 Santa Rosa Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Administration: (707) 546-7097

Patron Services Hours: 
M-F - 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
W – 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Closed Saturdays & Sundays
Patron Services: (707) 546-8742