San Luis Obispo Symphony’s Newsletter

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June 2023


SLO Chamber Expo

The Symphony participated in the SLO Chamber Expo at the Madonna Inn Expo Center on May 17, 2023. The theme of this years expo was magic and our booth had a Harry Potter theme. It was such a pleasure to connect with other non-profits and businesses in our community. Thank you to Covelop for sponsoring our booth at the event! 

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Parties With A Purpose 

Parties With a Purpose (PWP) are a fun way for hosts and guests to support the program fundraising goals of the Symphony. To host a parties with a purpose please email [email protected].

An Evening with the President and the Maestro 

The hosts, Board President Jim Walker and Maestro Andrew Sewell, began the evening with craft cocktails, hors-d’oeuvres, and a recital with May concert saxophone soloist Anthony Yi and Symphony English Horn musician Heidi Butterfield Yi. This sophisticated evening continued with fine dining, candlelight, scrumptious wine, and abundant laughter. Chefs Kathryn Walker and Jim Walker created A Grand Tour, an international nine course culinary experience with wine pairings for six fortunate and thrilled guests.

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Cinco De Mayo

Guests celebrated Cinco de Mayo at the home of long time Symphony supporter and former board president Cindy Marie Absey. Fiesta hostess Cindy Marie served a delicious Mexican themed buffet accompanied by Mexican adult beverages with neighbor Shannon Smith tending bar. Guitarist Vince Como provided an evening of exceptional music for the enjoyment of the twenty-four guests.

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The Ultimate PAC Tour Behind the Curtain

Clif Swanson, former Symphony Music Director, Bass Player, and member of the PAC design Team, and Jane Swanson former Symphony French Horn player, hosted a one of a kind backstage tour of the Performing Arts Center. 

Clif said “It was great to be able to share with 16 Symphony supporters who had been at the PAC many times but did not understand how sophisticated it is . . . one member of the group commented that she would never see the PAC the same way and it added greatly to her appreciation of the various kind of events it handles so effortlessly.”

Highlights included Symphony board member Stefan Podell trying out the various sounds on the Forbes pipe organ, and touring the Green Room dedicated to silent movie star and former North County resident Colleen Moore.

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Orchestra Notes 

Musician Sponsorships

The SLO Symphony’s musicians are talented members of our community. A great way to show your appreciation for their hard work and to honor their accomplishments is to become a musician sponsor. Every month this summer we are going to highlight different musician’s who you can sponsor! Visit our website to view our sponsorship guide and find page 9 to learn more! If you are interested in becoming a sponsor please email [email protected].

Jayden Perez

My name is Jayden Perez and I am currently in my third year at Cal Poly, studying music with an emphasis in playing the viola. I started playing viola in the public school system in Visalia, California when I was ten and realized I wanted to pursue music when I was encouraged to take lessons by my orchestra teacher in High School. I have been blessed by the countless opportunities that Cal Poly’s music program has provided me, leading to playing with the SLO Symphony and other local orchestras. They have all provided the opportunity for me to really grow and be surrounded by wonderful musicians! 

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Nancy Smee
Nancy Smee proves that if you want a long and fulfilling life in music, you should start off with good teachers. Nancy has been blessed with two very important teachers in San Luis Obispo that kept her going musically all her life. But some native talent on the instrument doesn’t hurt either.
Her family moved their grocery business to South SLO County when Nancy was in junior high, and she graduated from Arroyo Grande High School. She played in the county honor band all four years of high school.
In the late 1960s Premier Music Company played an important role in bringing music in San Luis Obispo County. This large music store purveyed instruments and sheet music for every instrument in the days before online shopping. The owner, Gerry Caylor, took an interest in Nancy and, though a clarinet player, started coaching her before school during her senior year when she won the Alice Nelson Award.
After a hiatus of about ten years, Nancy joined the Cuesta Wind Ensemble, the predecessor to the San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra, at its beginning in the early 1990s, becoming its principal flutist and a featured soloist.
Nancy began to work with the county’s flute legend and SLO Symphony’s principal flutist, Alice McGonigal. It was through Alice and other members of the symphony that Nancy found playing opportunities.
Over the past two decades, Nancy has had the good fortune to play with many orchestras – PCPA, Opera SLO, Orchestra Novo, Symphony of the Vines, Santa Maria Philharmonic, SLO Master Chorale, and eventually the SLO Symphony – in the area.  Due to her love of the instrument, she has become known as a specialist on the piccolo, thoroughly appreciating the challenges and joy of playing it for these fine orchestras.
Besides music, Nancy has a varied sphere of interests.  Besides being deeply involved with her seven grandchildren, she enjoys racquetball, pickleball, directing children’s dramas, video editing and adventurous activities, such as ziplining, diving, skiing and hiking, including glaciers.
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Music Education Notes 

Youth Symphony Season Finale
The SLO Youth Symphony celebrated the end of its 2022-23 Season with the Finale Concert on Sunday, May 21 at the PAC with over 500 audience members!
We welcomed 11 new Spring Celebration students who are trying out the Youth Symphony for the first time, celebrated 15 graduating seniors and introduced our conducting staff for the 2023-24 Season:
  • Christopher Woodruff, Concert Orchestra
  • Tanya Streder, Academy Strings
  • Al Streder, Symphonic Winds
  • Grace Seng, Preparatory Strings
Program highlights included a joint performance of “The Avengers” from the Preparatory Strings, Academy Strings, and Spring Celebration, a joint performance of Beethoven “Turkish March” by the Symphonic Winds, Academy Strings, and Spring Celebration, and Beethoven Symphony 1, 3rd and 4th movements by the Concert Orchestra.
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High Notes Humor

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