By Mark Keller, Downey Symphonic Society
DOWNEY – The Downey Symphonic Society, once again in collaboration with the Downey Arts Coalition, will celebrate Downey’s 60th anniversary at the opening concert of the 57th season of the Downey Symphony Orchestra at the Downey Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 22.
The orchestra, under the direction of Sharon Lavery, will pay tribute to Downey’s important role in space exploration with a concert entitled “The Stars Align” by performing Gustav Holst’s The Planets featuring a soprano choir from Chorale Bel Canto of Whittier.
Also on the program is the world premiere of the Downey Celebration Suite composed by longtime Downey resident Lars Clutterham. The performance is supported in part by a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
While the music is the heart of the evening, the concert will be enhanced with art and poetry as well as other festivities. In partnership with the Downey Arts Coalition, an exhibit of work by local artists entitled “Cosmic” will be on view in the Downey Theatre lobby and gallery.
Once again, the art exhibit “Cosmic” has been coordinated by Pat Gil, a member of the Board of Directors of the Downey Symphonic Society and also the vice president of the Downey Arts Coalition. She has been assited by Andrew Hernandez, curator for this exhibit.
Always excited and enthusiastic when talking about the Downey Symphony Orchestra and/or the art exhibits, Pat explains, “I am so pleased to have such a wide variety of artists participating in our art exhibition; each one of their pieces is so incredible and remarkable they truly demonstrate the idea for the theme.
“We have a total of 32 artists in our show, with 57 art pieces on display. Among these artists we have several returning, and more that are showing for the first time with the Downey Arts Coalition.
“Among our returning artists we have Carolina Estrada Del-Toro and her husband Jorge Del-Toro. Carolina exhibits two new digital photographs called ‘Collision Course’ and ‘Succumbing to Gravity.’ Both are pieces that appear to display events that often occur within the cosmos that are never really seen by people in their entire lives, but in reality they are photos of something very organic found on earth, we will leave it up to you to guess what it is.
“As with all of her photos they are astonishing and breathtaking. Jorge adorns the gallery with another one of his amazing ceramic sculptures called Rediscover Mission. This sculpture is a “two-piece” depicting a rocket flying through space towards the Earth. The front is glazed, so that when positioned properly it catches the light, giving it a beautiful shine. The back is made to appear as a meteor that has crashed to Earth.
“Another of our veteran artists is Christopher Landeros with his pieces The Wanderer, Lost in Space, and Reaper of Charon. These are two oil and resin paintings on wooden canvas, and a foam sculpture, that give an expressionist view of the cosmos. They are dark and frightening, yet we are still drawn to them. These pieces display the idea of being in outer space, alone, and ultimately succumbing to the darkness of it all.
“Jennifer Jones again exhibits with two new mixed-media collages called Cosmic I and Cosmic II. As with her works in the past, her collages are captivating with the use of different objects brought together to create art pieces that takes viewers out of their world in into someplace beyond.”
“Also returning is Polaris Castillo with five charcoal drawings on display called Milky Way, Laika, Infinity, Asteroid Belt, and With You ‘Til The End. These drawings take a very interesting look at the universe that is astounding and plays with the idea of the cosmos itself such as that it is endless. Bill Rademaker is also a very talented artist returning with us. His piece is a very colorful and interesting graphic design representing possible life on other planets.”
Pat Gil continues, “Along with our many returning artists, there are a variety of new artists that are displaying their work with us. The first of these new artists to the Downey Arts Coalition is Trinity Gomez, an artist from Whittier, who has shown in numerous shows in California and is only 14 years old.
“Her acrylic painting Unleashed is a piece that gives light to some of the old theories that often surround space and the objects engulfing it, including our own moon. The painting is a fascinating piece that demonstrates the creativity that this young girl has and is only exemplified by her use of the paints and brushstrokes to create a captivating work of art.
“Lawrence Movera is digital artist from Santa Fe Springs also exhibiting with DAC for the first time with pieces called Bowl Sign July 2016 and It Waits Patiently For Man. His digital pieces are very unique and captivating in their own way. For instance, one appears very sci-fi reminiscent to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey while the other is more a retrospective of the 1950’s and 60’s which, in turn, can allude back to the early days of Downey when it was home to the aerospace facilities that led to space flight.
“Another new artist with DAC is Aia White-Podue, from Long Beach, displaying acrylic on wood paintings with titles such as Wormhole, Butterfly Nebula, and Veil Nebula. Aia’s paintings are all part of a series that she started after viewing pictures on the internet from the Hubble Telescope while adding her own flare that makes them more alluring.
“We also welcome Nancy Huitzil, one of three student artists from California State University Dominguez Hills, who are not only showing with DAC for the first time, but are also participating in their first art exhibition as well. Celestial Shifts are six acrylic paintings on wood panel, cut into triangles, put together to make one whole piece. The piece, as a whole, is meant to represent a cosmic change that happens within the universe; each of the triangles appearing differently than the one before.
“Another new artist participating is Hugo Hidalgo, a very talented person we have been inviting for a while to participate. We are very excited to finally have him exhibit his wonderful piece Die Rakete Junge – The Rocket Boy.”
“Another new artist showing with us is Ocean McIntyre. She had many wonderful pieces that were perfect for the exhibit; we had a very hard time narrowing them down to just four amazing works, Lift Off Of The Falcon 9, Orbital Auroral Eclipse, Keeping Looking Up, and Night Launch of Space Shuttle Columbia STS-35, December 2, 1990.”
I must mention, while viewing the “Cosmic” art exhibit earlier in the month to prepare for this writing, that this writer was instantly captivated by Lindsay Yost’s Neptune while walking up the stairs from the theatre lobby to the gallery.
Lindsay, a crowd favorite, is a local Downey mosaic artist who is very supportive of the Downey Symphony Orchestra and always participates in the art exhibits. Her mixed-media art, a very fun “retro” and vibrantly colored work that includes pieces of broken “Sweet Ceramics” made in Italy, depicts an alien girl in a bikini top that couldn’t help but catch my eye. This beautiful work of art looks great when viewed up close, but looks even better when viewed at a distance.
Other artists include Alejandra Garcia, Amanda Boehm-Garcia, Britney Burnet, Chris Paolilli, Daniel Galindo, David De Santis, Denise Moritz, Derek Prado, Giselle Ruiz, Irina Karkov, Joanne Chase-Matillo, Joelle Cooperrider, Julie Mendoza, Kristan Haitz, Liliana Ortega, Nancy Gunther, Parker Winans, Rudy Torres, and Sang Eui Kim.
October 22 is the date of the “Cosmic” art exhibit and “The Planets Align” Downey Symphony Orchestra concert taking place at the Downey Theatre. The lobby doors open at 6:30 p.m.
A lecture about the music being performed and an interview with composer Lars Clutterham will be given from the stage by Music Director/Conductor Sharon Lavery at 7:15 p.m. The concert begins at 8 p.m. There will be a special champagne reception on the theatre patio after the concert. The concert will be performed without an intermission.
This concert is the first of three of the 2016–17 season. Season tickets are still available at the Downey Theatre Box Office open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and one hour before the concert.
You may order tickets by phone at (562) 861-8211 or online at downeysymphony.org.