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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

Night at the Museum! It’s Trivia Night with a Musical Twist, when Pacific Symphony’s Quirky Endeavor “Music Mixology” Returns to Play Games and Tunes at the Bowers Museum

Orange County, Calif. — August 24, 2016

Music Mixology

Evening of Fun Celebrates Bowers’ “Ancient Arts of China: A 5,000-Year Legacy” Exhibit

Interrupting the usual quiet of a museum to achieve the casual, relaxed and energetic atmosphere of a local bar, Pacific Symphony’s “Music Mixology” returns, making its next stop at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana on Sept. 1. While in the past, Music Mixology has popped up in local bars and eateries, for its fourth appearance, Symphony musicians set up in the Bowers’ Huang Sculpture Garden for another installment of frivolity, music and art trivia, signature cocktails and entertaining acoustic arrangements of popular and classical tunes. Part bar trivia, part interactive concert, the evening includes a special Chinese-inspired twist to accompany the Bowers’ “Ancient Arts of China: A 5,000-Year Legacy” exhibit, which will be open for viewing. Responsible for this musical mayhem are Symphony musicians and co-hosts Bridget Dolkas (principal second violin) and Ben Smolen (principal flute); plus, Jessica Pearlman Fields (principal oboe), Alice Wrate (violin), Meredith Crawford (viola) and Kevin Plunkett (cello).

Sponsored by The James Irvine Foundation, this unique spin on trivia night takes place Thursday, Sept. 1, from 5-8 p.m. in coordination with Bowers Museum’s “Thirsty Thursday” program. Tickets include themed hors d’oeuvres, and drinks are available for purchase. Participants must be 18 or older. Tickets are: $20 for museum members, $30 general, $10 for students and Santa Ana residents (must show ID at the door), and $10 for Pacific Symphony fans (use promo code: PACIFIC). Purchase online at; in person at the museum; or call (714) 567-3677. For more information, call the Symphony at (714) 755-5799 or visit

“Music Mixology is a casual and engaging way to enjoy many different kinds of music, and pick up a little music trivia at the same time!” says Dolkas. “We’ve found a great partnership in the Bowers Museum’s ‘Thirsty Thursday’ event. People can walk around the museum and check out the stunning exhibits, or stay in the Mixology vibe and help choose what pieces are played next in the show. The adventurous people who come to our event are co-curators in how the night progresses. The Mixology musicians are always thrilled to bring a fun and interesting selection of music to audiences in a casual and intimate setting. The energy is always buzzing at these events!”

Throughout the evening, the co-hosts lead the audience in music-inspired trivia questions, and the winner of each round chooses what the ensemble plays next. Selections include favorite rock and pop songs, classical pieces, movie themes, folk tunes and more. The group has prepared acoustic interpretations of each, rehearsing dozens of songs for the night.

“The essence of Music Mixology is that every event is unique,” explains Smolen. “Each night features different trivia questions and, based on the winners, different music. New audiences will get the opportunity to create their own musical programs for the very first time, and returning audience members will be surprised by the new pieces and questions that we’re creating specifically for this event with Bowers.”

Past creative categories have included “Dead Dudes with Wigs,” “What a Shredder!” “Lights, Camera, Action” and “Rock n’ Roll Fantasy”—and as a special addition for this evening, there will be a category of Chinese-inspired music. Based on their selections, audience members are treated to surprises and bonus prizes. Since the choices are up to the audience, no two Mixology concerts are the same.

 “We’ll be reworking a number of our normal pieces and categories to complement the Chinese elements from the Bowers exhibit and sculpture garden,” Smolen continues. “Chinese culture has influenced everything from Tchaikovsky to modern pop music, and that will be reflected in the musical choices we offer during Music Mixology.”

Making its way to popular dining locales across Orange County, Music Mixology met with great success when it premiered at Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market a year ago last April. The following January, the Mixology musicians returned to a packed room at the Boathouse Collective in Costa Mesa. And last March 17, the musicians stirred up a little musical chaos at the Anaheim Packing House for St. Patrick’s Day.

“As with our last event, where we infused the evening with Irish classics, we will be weaving Chinese references into our musical selections,” says Dolkas. “People might not be able to hum the haunting cello theme from ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ off the top of their heads, but the tune, composed by Chinese composer Tan Dun, is so beautiful it will leave people spellbound!”

Whether it’s in a bar or a museum, Music Mixology has always been first and foremost an entertaining way to engage audiences and allow them to have autonomy over their concert experience. Smolen remarks: “We still plan to have the same competitive trivia aspect of the concert along with the curated menu of options available for audiences to choose from. We hope to make meaningful connections between the music and the Bowers Museum exhibits, while also retaining the same sense of spontaneity and fun that has made our original concept so popular.”