San Luis Obispo Symphony’s Newsletter

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January 2023


New Years Eve 

Our New Years Eve concert at the PAC was such a major success! Bravo to Maestro Sewell, all of our wonderful musicians, and to our guest artists Jeans ‘N Classics. Way to bring the house down!

This concert was sponsored by Mary and Thomas Tanner and Jim and Melinda Avila. The Symphony’s season is sponsored by KSBYKCBXThe New Times and SunEstero Bay News, and Dr. Klaus Gottlieb, Wealth Care Lawyer.

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Gala Du Moulin Rouge

Join us for a fundraiser on Saturday, February 11, 2023 at the Embassy Suites SLO for dinner, wine, and musical performances by members of the SLO Symphony, the Youth Symphony, and the Typsy Gypsies. We will raise funds for the Symphony’s 2023-2024 season with both a silent and live auction and parties with a purpose. Tickets are available for $175 and you can purchase them on our website at or by phone at 805-356-1438. Tables seat 10. We will have some pretty great auction items ranging from hotel stays to wine tastings and exclusive parties!

Thank you to our Gala sponsor Bank of the Sierra, to our emcee Genelle Padilla of KSBY, and to our wine sponsor Daou Vineyards.

If you are interested in becoming an event sponsor please email [email protected].


Music Education Notes

Youth Symphony Concerto Competition 

On December 10, four students from the SLO Youth Symphony Concert Orchestra participated in the Concerto Competition held at Pam Dassenko’s home in SLO.

Colin Foster (cello) Elegie, op. 24 by Gabriel Faure

Karen Clark (oboe) Oboe Concerto BWV 1059R, 1st mvt by J.S. Bach

Erin Chae (flute) “A Night Piece” by Arthur Foote

Miles Kennedy (violin) Romanza Andaluza by Pablo de Sarasate

Pam Dassenko, Michael Johnson, and Clif Swanson served as our adjudicator panel. All three judges are current or former members of the SLO Symphony, Board of Directors, and Youth Symphony parents. Susan Davies supported all four students with her sensitive and musical accompaniment.

The judges selected Erin Chae to perform “A Night Piece” with the Concert Orchestra at our Spring Concert. Congratulations to Erin and all of our wonderful students for presenting such polished and beautiful performances on Saturday. Please come hear Erin and all of our Youth Symphony ensembles perform on March 20 (Monday) at the Clark Center at 6:30 PM and tickets will be available for purchase through the Clark Center’s box office!


Youth Symphony Holiday Concert 

The SLO Youth Symphony presented a holiday concert on December 19 in Mission Plaza. We were very lucky to have relatively warm weather and NO wind!
Preparatory Strings conducted by Emily Lanzone performed “Chanukah Chanukah”, “Dreidel Song”, “Frosty the Snowman”, and “Jingle Bell Rock”.  Prep and Academy conducted by Grace Seng combined to perform “Candy Cane Christmas”, then Academy Strings performed “Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Themes from the Nutcracker”. Symphonic Winds conducted by Al Streder performed “Jingle Bell Fantasy” and “Christmas Music for Winds”, and the Concert Orchestra performed “Carol of the Bells” and “Christmas Collage”.
After the large ensembles finished, several smaller chamber groups performed works ranging from “Chorus” from Judas Maccabaeus by Handel to the 1st movement of Haydn String Quartet, Op. 76 No. 3.
All of our Youth Symphony students spent 5 weeks in chamber music groups to learn how to make music without a conductor and working together with a smaller group to find the beat and stay together. 

A very special thank you to our guest coaches who came in to help teach our students during our chamber music sessions: Carol Kersten, Nancy Nagano, Jessica Hoffman, Valerie Berg-Johansen, Tanya Streder, and Andrew Sewell! 

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Coming Full Circle 

SLO Youth Symphony alumna Kaesha Freyaldenhoven is currently studying law at UC Berkeley. She recently contacted the SLO Symphony office to share exciting news that she and her boyfriend Campion Fellin held an arts fundraiser for her birthday. Campion created three art pieces and sold them online to raise money for the arts, and Kaesha chose the SLO Youth Symphony as the beneficiary. Kaesha shared fond memories of making music with her friends, bonding over tours, rehearsals and concerts and how her music education played a big role in shaping the person she is today.  
As Campion describes the project, “The art was made entirely with code, which means the exact placement, color, and amount of leaves in each piece was completely random. We sold 4 copies of flowers, 7 copies of ferns, and 57 copies of chaos. This added up to a total donation of $3,639!”

Thank you to Kaesha and Campion for your support of music education in such a creative and beautiful way.

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Orchestra notes

Cello On Fire

The San Luis Obispo Symphony’s third concert of the 2022-2023 season will be held on Saturday, February 04, 2023, at 7:30PM, Cello On Fire.Tickets are available through the Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo Box office at or by calling 805-756-4849.

A free “No Ties Allowed” open dress rehearsal suitable for all ages of attendees will take place at the Performing Arts Center at 11AM the day of the concert. No ties allowed rehearsals are sponsored by Paul Severtson, Ann Shaw and Charles Baccadoro, Nancy Weber and Roger Vogler, and Dianne and Michael Draze. Immediately following our No Ties Allowed dress rehearsal, featured soloist Amit Peled will be reading his book “ A Cello Named Pablo.” Children of all ages are invited to attend this fun and interactive presentation!

Cello on Fire features the artistry of Amit Peled, performing Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No.1. NZ composer Douglas Lilburn studied under Ralph Vaughan Williams in the late 1930s,at the Royal College in London. We feature works by both composers, Fantasia on Greensleeves and Lilburn’s Symphony No.2. Brahms’ Haydn Variations opens the program and will be familiar to many. This concert is sponsored by Cricket Handler and Jerry Boots and Peggy Lance Little in Honor of Luba Staller.

Ticket holders are invited to attend a pre-concert Symphonic Foray talk, which begins at 6:30 PM, with Music Director Andrew Sewell and a special guest. This is sponsored in loving memory of Michael Fitzgerald. Following the Symphonic Foray talk our Youth Symphony group Preparatory Strings, conducted by Emily Lanzone, will play a mini concert in the lobby! 


High Note Humor


The 2022-23 season is sponsored in part by: Wealth Care Lawyer Klaus Gottlieb, John and Rebecca Baer, The Foulke Correa Foundation, FPAC Clifton Swanson Community Access to the PAC Fund, Chevron, The Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County, City of San Luis Obispo, California MENTOR, Harold J. Miossi Charitable Trust, Harvey’s Honey Huts, Susan Polk Insurance

Concert Sponsors: Pat & Ben McAdams, Jim & Beverly Smith, Minke WinklerPrins, Jeff & Melodee Brady, Cricket Handler & Jerry Boots , Peggy Lance Little in Honor of Luba Staller, Len Jarrott, Martha Michalojko Kettelkamp & Richard Andrews, Mary & Tom Tanner, & Melinda Avila

Media Sponsors: KCBX Public Radio, Estero Bay News, & KSBY

Symphonic Forays Sponsors: Paul Severtson, Fred & Rochelle Friedman, Jim Walker, Jill LeMieux, Sandi Sigurdson, & David Slade –  In loving memory of  Michael  Fitzgerald

No-Ties Allowed Sponsors: Paul Severtson, Ann Shaw, Nancy Weber & Roger Vogler, Pamela Dassenko & Thomas Miller, & Dianne & Michael Draze