Music story: South Valley Symphony celebrates 40 years of great music
Forever Young concert set for March 8 at Gavilan College
Published in the March 5- 18, 2014 issue of Morgan Hill Life
By Staff Report
For four decades, the South Valley Symphony has entertained its audiences with classical and modern orchestra music performances. It has premiered scores specially composed for the symphony as well as working with the region’s young people, helping them to write symphonic pieces and conduct them with a full orchestra. On March 8, the symphony will perform its family-friendly Forever Young concert at Gavilan Community College.
Morgan Hill Life asked three members of the symphony, conductor Anthony Quartuccio, board member Chris Hopwood, and symphony vice president and orchestra manager John Graham, about why the South Valley Symphony has been so successful in bringing the joy of music to the South Valley region.
The South Valley Symphony is celebrating its 40th season this year. Why has this community symphony organization been such a treasure for the region?
(Hopwood) The principle reasons for the symphony’s enduring popularity are: it’s local, it’s live, it’s affordable and has always performed a variety of music that’s fun and meaningful for all ages and tastes in music. People love to see people they know perform, especially when the musicians are young and getting a taste of their first live audience.
Your upcoming Forever Young concert has pieces perfect for introducing children to classical music. Why should families bring their kids to this special concert?
(Quartuccio) Our March 8 concert is a perfect introduction to the symphony orchestra. We’ll play music that features solo performances of all kinds of instruments, including the tuba, piccolo, cello, violin and bassoon. “The Elephant and the Fly” is a fun piece for the highest and lowest instruments of the orchestra – tuba and piccolo. Next we will perform for the first time ever in Gilroy the Vanhal Double Bassoon Concerto featuring two of the finest bassoon players in the United States. We will jazz it up with some Dave Brubeck and spice things with a jazz violin solo from our first chair violinist. For the grand finale, a 12-year-old cello virtuoso, the winner of the Navaroli Concerto Competition and a resident of Morgan Hill, will perform the Elgar Cello Concerto. Music history is being made right here in our backyard this Saturday afternoon.
Part of the South Valley Symphony’s mission is to educate young people to appreciate classical music. Why is this an important element for the symphony?
(Quartuccio) Music has the power to enable us to communicate our emotions and experiences non-verbally through sounds and rhythms. It is possible to communicate ideas and feelings with anyone in the world through music without the use of words. We in the symphony feel so strongly about the power of music in this regard that we are passionate to attract and mentor young people – and people of all ages for that matter – so that they have opportunities to participate in the process of learning, playing, and listening to great music.
If someone might be considering joining the symphony as an orchestra musician why would you encourage them to join and how can they do so?
(Graham) Our symphony is open to all qualified musicians from talented high school students to accomplished retirees depending on the current needs and openings within the orchestra. At the moment we are in need of musicians in all of our string sections, particularly first violins and violas. Anyone interested in joining the orchestra can contact me at email@example.com for more information.
Why would you encourage others to get involved on the symphony’s board of directors or help as a volunteer?
(Hopwood) Classical music was an integral part of my childhood and where I went to school music was part of the standard curriculum. My parents thought it important to afford piano lessons for me and encouraged me to sing in the church choir. They also took me to ballet and opera performances. So you might say I got off to a great start musically. Over the years other interests and activities absorbed my interest and it wasn’t until I first heard South Valley Symphony in 2008 that I realized how much classical music meant to me and how electrifying a live symphony orchestra is to listen to. When I was asked to volunteer to help with the symphony’s web site, I agreed and shortly thereafter joined the board. I don’t play an instrument now but I have other skills that are needed to ensure that the show goes on. For anyone who has an interest in live music – classical or otherwise – I can’t think of a better way to give a gift to their community than by volunteering to keep such a precious resource as this symphony flourishing. Anyone interested in knowing more should email firstname.lastname@example.org.