San Luis Obispo Symphony’s Newsletter

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June 2024

Volunteers! The Symphony Needs You!


Webster defines a volunteer as “a person who chooses freely to do or offers to do something.” We feel a Symphony volunteer is so much more! They begin as volunteers, but become our partners, family, friends, and quite often our biggest supporters as they spread the news of our mission to provide quality classical music and music education to the community. Nonprofits like the Symphony rely on volunteers to work hand in hand with staff and the board of directors to accomplish goals and support the mission.


There are volunteer opportunities coming up in the near future. Grace Seng, Music Education Manager, is looking for “Zookeepers” for the Instrument Petting Zoo. As a Zookeeper you assist with introducing children (and adults) to a menagerie of musical instruments. No experience is required, and it’s a lot of fun. Grace needs Zookeepers for the Live Oak Festival, June 14-16, and Zookeepers receive free festival passes. You don’t need to work the entire weekend. Additional help is needed with the Instrument Petting Zoo throughout the entire year at schools, libraries, county and city special events and farmers markets.

Contact Grace [email protected].


The Pops-by-the-Sea at the Avila Beach Golf Resort on August 31st will need volunteers to set up and take down, to check in and seat patrons, sell raffle tickets, run errands, and much more. This is a huge event with thousands of patrons, and it requires a legion of volunteers to ensure a successful event. We will also need Zookeepers for the Instrument Petting Zoo at the Pops. In addition, the annual Fundraising Gala, which is held each spring, needs a variety of skills and talents too numerous to mention. This event requires significant assistance in the planning stages, as well as the actual day of the event.

Contact Sarah Raines, Operations Manager, [email protected], or Grace for the Petting Zoo.


As always, a busy organization needs help in the office. Sometimes that can be as simple as stuffing or addressing envelopes, filing, running errands, or light data entry. This is particularly important after events and concerts when the workload ramps up. This work may not seem as glamorous as working events, but it is every bit as vital, and it gives you the opportunity to hang out with staff.

Contact Jenny Beddy, General Manager, [email protected].


The Board of Directors replaces departing members at the end of each term. The new term begins July 1st each year. Terms are generally for three years. The board is an integral part of the organization, and it seeks community members who wish to participate, as a volunteer, at a significant level with a significant time commitment.

Contact Stefan Podell, incoming Board President, [email protected].


We hope that you will join our Symphony family and choose to volunteer at whatever level and task appeals to you. We also wish to express our appreciation to our current, and past volunteers, and to thank you for all you have done for our community. We could not have done it without you!

For additional information or to fill out the volunteer application,

It’s Time to Party! Symphony Parties With a Purpose!

There is a long tradition of community members throwing parties to support the Symphony. The Parties With a Purpose are completely donor sponsored, with all costs incurred by the hosts, and all proceeds going directly to the Symphony. This is a great way to support the symphony, while having a great time.

Bastille Day, July 14, is hosted by longtime Symphony supporter Cindy Marie Absey, and Shannon Smith, in Cindy Marie’s lovely San Luis Obispo home. The theme is French, of course, so spend a charming afternoon celebrating France’s National Holiday. Cindy Marie will serve a French style picnic fair, with cocktails and beverages. Enjoy live music by accordionist Michael Gutin and the Symphony’s own violinist, Paul Severtson.



Painting Party with Robert Burridge, July 18, hosted by Bob and Kate, is an opportunity to become the artist you’ve longed to be. Learn to paint (acrylic paints) Bob’s signature paintings – Pears, Pineapples, and Chili Peppers. Beginners to advanced are welcome, and Bob will supply the materials, snacks, and wine.




A Feast for the Senses: Taste, Sound, and Wonder, September 22, hosted by Fred and Rochelle Friedman, and India D’Avignon and Ignati Vakalis, is an evening of sensory experiences. Indulge in tapas, live music, and mind-bending card magic at the home of Fred and Rochelle.




Any, or all, of these fabulous parties can be purchased online at fundraiser.suport/vienna. We are grateful to the amazing generosity of our hosts, and thankful for our guests who signed up for the parties! Party on! (If you would like more detailed information about any of these events, use this link to send an email to Paul Severtson)

The Metronome: Use it, or throw it out the window?

A follow up

 Last month we published a tongue in cheek article that was based exclusively on comments from Symphony musicians regarding their feelings about, and their use of, the metronome. Readers were enthusiastic about what the musicians had to say. Unfortunately, many of the readers’ comments, like the musicians, we are unable to print in a family publication. However, we do appreciate all our readers’ comments.

As a follow-up, there was an interesting article in the April 22nd The New Yorker magazine entitled What Is Noise? Unpleasant sounds are a matter of perception-and control, by Alex Ross. Mr. Ross wrote “In college, I hosted a widely unheard radio show on which I broadcast things like Ligeti’s “Poeme Symphonique” – a piece for a hundred metronomes. When someone called in to report that the station’s signal had gone down, I protested that we were, in fact, listening to music.” Indeed, unpleasant sounds are a matter of perception.

If you missed the article on the metronome you can read below:  The Metronome_ Use it, or throw it out the window_

Music Education Notes 

5/20 Concert Video Clip

Congratulations to all the students who participated in our finale concert on May 20 at the Cuesta Performing Arts Center. We welcomed 18 new students as part of our Spring Celebration program where local music students are invited by their teacher to participate in the youth symphony concert for free. We honored our 11 graduating seniors who are headed out to bright futures around the country.

Marshall Lin performed the 1st movement from the Bohme Trumpet Concerto with the Concert Orchestra as a result of winning the YS Concerto Competition in December.

5/20 Concert Program

Summer Experience

SLO Symphony is thrilled to partner with San Luis Coastal Unified again this summer to bring 3 classes of beginning strings to students participating in the Summer Experience program at SLO High School and Morro Bay High School. The symphony provides the instruments, curriculum materials, and instructors to bring violin and cello to 58 students this summer!

Coming Up


Saturday, August 31, 2024 ~ Avila Beach Golf Resort

Our 2024 POPS Concert, Movie Magic, takes a journey through the last fifty years of famous movie scores and themes. From Richard Rodgers Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, West Side Story, Magnificent Seven to the Adventures of Robin Hood, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Nigel Hess’ Ladies in Lavender, there is something for everyone! Join us on Labor Day Weekend for a beautiful day of music and fun by the beach!


Get your tickets HERE.

High Notes Humor