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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Marketing & Communications
(714) 876-2380

Free summer entertainment in the great outdoors! Pacific Symphony brings “The Sound of Music” and more to Mission Viejo and Irvine for “Symphony in the Cities”

Orange County, Calif. — July 07, 2015

“Symphony in the Cities” is not only the perfect way to end a lazy summer day, but it’s also Pacific Symphony’s way of saying thanks to the community by throwing a big party with music for its Orange County neighbors! Each summer, thousands gather with their loved ones to enjoy listening to the orchestra in a relaxed outdoor setting. This season, in addition to patriotic fare and classical pieces, Music Director Carl St.Clair has invited five singers to pay tribute to the famous von Trapps by performing memorable songs from one of the most beloved musicals of all time, “The Sound of Music.” Members of the audience also have a special opportunity to decide which of three well-known excerpts they would like to hear: Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music),” or Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Families are encouraged to bring picnics, blankets and chairs and arrive early for the Symphony’s Musical Playground and city festivities.

“There is no greater joy than bringing music into the community and building the blocks for tomorrow’s musicians and artists. Performing at ‘Symphony in the Cities’ is a treat for all of us.” says Maestro St.Clair. “This year, I’m especially looking forward to welcoming a group of talented singers from Chapman University and California State University, Fullerton, who will join us in performing music from “The Sound of Music,” which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.”

This year’s free “Symphony in the Cities” concerts take place on Saturday, July 18, in Mission Viejo at “The Village Green” at Oso Viejo Community Park (24932 Veterans Way,

Mission Viejo) and Sunday, July 19, in Irvine at Mike Ward Community Park Woodbridge (20 Lake Road, Irvine). In addition to the concert, which starts at 7 p.m., the City of Mission Viejo hosts its “Prelude in the Park” at 4 p.m. with a festive carnival theme. The Symphony’s Musical Playground—which features hands-on activities including instrument-making, a drum circle, an instrument petting zoo and a chance to meet the musicians—begins at 4 p.m. in Mission Viejo and 5:30 p.m. in Irvine.

As a special part of the Musical Playground, Symphony violinist MarlaJoy Weisshaar, one of four recipients of The James Irvine Foundation-funded “Musician Innovation Grant,” showcases her project, “Synesthesia.” Synesthesia, or the activation of one sense while another is being engaged (such as seeing colors while hearing music) is something Weisshaar experiences in her own life.

“Numbers, days of the week and months of the year are specific colors for me, as are some timbres of specific musical instruments and musical keys,” Weisshaar explains. “The fascinating thing about synesthesia is that it’s unique to every individual who has it. And even if a person doesn't have it, they can still consciously fuse two or more of their senses together to bring about a more meaningful experience. It can also add another dimension to one’s experience in art or daily living.”

Weisshaar is fascinated by synesthesia and the different ways the brain perceives its surroundings. She hopes to use this concept to help enhance how people hear and engage with music. The activity she has planned involves a seven-piece ensemble made up of the highest and lowest registers in each orchestral family: for the woodwinds, a flute and bassoon; for the brass family, a trumpet and trombone; and for the strings, a violin and cello. Participants listen to each musician perform and react to what they hear by choosing shapes and colors that correspond. By the end, they will walk away with an original “composition” in the art form that reflects how they interpreted the music. “Symphony in the Cities” attendees are encouraged to visit the Musical Playground with their children and enjoy this special program.

Children and their parents won’t want to miss the perennially popular conducting clinic led by the maestro himself. Those who participate in the clinic are invited to join St.Clair on stage during the concert to help him conduct John Philip Sousa’s “Hands Across the Sea.”

Winning five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Music, the classic film “The Sound of Music,” starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, is known for its many memorable songs. Of these, the Symphony performs “The Sound of Music,” “Edelweiss,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” Vocals are provided by Soprano Joslyn Sarshad (Maria Rainer), Soprano Tiffani Santiago (The Mother Abbess), Baritone James Lesu’i (Captain Georg von Trapp), Tenor Chris Maze (Rolf Gruber) and Soprano Juliet Kidwell (Liesl von Trapp). Before the audience choice, the orchestra performs Glinka’s Overture to “Russlan and Ludmilla” and the Armed Forces Salute. For a finale, St.Clair leads the audience in a sing along to “America the Beautiful,” and ends the concert with Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

“Pacific Symphony is grateful to the cities of Mission Viejo and Irvine, who have provided extra support and ensured that Symphony in the Cities remains a part of their communities this year,” says John Forsyte, president of Pacific Symphony. “Because of them, we are able to offer high-quality music in great outdoor settings to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to hear this great music and orchestra.”