For Downey Symphony, it’s all about No. 7

DOWNEY – “Why is the number seven considered lucky?” is a tough question to answer definitively. Simple, just “Google” it! Well, in this day and age an internet search engine provides many answers to a single question; but which answer is the “correct” one? The number seven (7) plays a part in almost every aspect of our daily lives. Numerous references to the number 7 are found throughout history – in religions, cultures and ancient civilizations. The number seven is most often associated with good luck. Mathematicians will say that the number seven is considered lucky since it is comprised of both the number three and four, which makes it the perfect number. The numbers three and four symbolize the triangle and the square, which are also perfect figures.

It is believed that the importance of the number seven began in ancient times. During that time, before the invention of the telescope, there were only seven visible planets in the night sky – the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. They were interpreted as gods or deities who influenced and controlled every aspect of the ancient civilizations.

References to the number seven appear many times in the Old Testament of the Bible. One example is that God created the world in six days and the seventh day was the Sabbath or day of rest. In Jewish tradition the deceased are mourned for seven days, which is known as sitting shiva (shiva literally means seven). As for the Christian Bible (New Testament), examples of the number seven are abundant: seven seals in Revelations; seven sacraments; seven stars; seven deadly sins; seven last plagues; and seven heavenly virtues.

To gamblers the number seven is lucky. Three sevens make a blackjack, as they add up to 21. Three sevens also make a big payout on a slot machine. When rolling two standard six-sided dice, seven has a 6 in 36 (or 1/6) probability of being rolled (1-6, 6-1, 2-5, 5-2, 3-4, or 4-3), the greatest of any number. The opposite sides on a single die add up to seven. As a matter of record, July 7, 2007, the casinos were at maximum capacity as hopefuls tried to beat the odds on a date considered to be very lucky, 07/07/07.

The number seven has been, and still is, universal. More examples: seven wonders of the world, seven seas and seven continents, seven hills of Rome, seven notes in a musical scale, the seventh inning stretch at a baseball game, seven colors in the rainbow, seven spots on a common ladybug (always a good-luck symbol), seven days of the week, the seven-year itch and Snow White’s seven dwarfs. Also, it is believed that the seventh child of a seventh child will be psychically gifted.

“There are so many things you can do with it!” was Pat Gil’s (she is co-curating with E.J. Ball, both Downey Symphony Board members) first response when asked about the “Lucky Number Seven” theme of the upcoming art exhibit. In partnership with the Downey Arts Coalition, the upcoming concert of the Downey Symphony Orchestra will be held at the Downey Theatre on Saturday, October 11.

“Once the title of the Symphony concert – “Seven and Counting” – was announced, the theme of the art exhibit just naturally fell into place. I am so excited and pleased to have so many new and returning artists who want to support our Downey Symphony Orchestra by exhibiting their art! They all are wild about the theme; it gives them so many possibilities to create a work of art that says what “Lucky Number Seven” means to them.”

Returning artist Karen Yee was born into an artistic environment and has always expressed her creativity in different forms. Her foray into the fine arts world came after a cataclysmic event dealing with and surviving cancer in 2003. This was the impetus that propelled her to explore her long-held desire to paint. Her still life painting, “7 Species,” is taken from the Old Testament of the Bible, Deuteronomy 8 verse 8, and depicts the land of Israel.

“Karen is very supportive of the Downey Symphony Orchestra; she has fallen in love with it,” Pat said. “Her work of art fits the theme perfectly. I am very excited to have her back. Also returning is Alejandra “Rocio” Carrollo who has been working with the Downey Arts Coalition for a very long time. She is doing two pieces; one very colorful, inspired by ‘7 seeds’ and she is also very excited to participate.”

“We have new artists joining us too,” Pat continued. “At our concert in the park in August I met a man, James H. Nielsen, who works with leather and he is creating a piece that will hang on the wall. Leather is a different medium that you wouldn’t normally think of in an art exhibit. I am very happy he will be with us. Another new artist who will be with us is Charles E. Pickens. He submitted a very lovely piece “My Unique 7” that shows a family of seven people holding hands. He told me that they are lucky to him!”

Now, this “Lucky Number Seven” art exhibit is just the appetizer of an abundant and delicious meal with many more courses to follow. That being the case, the doors of the lobby of the Downey Theatre will open at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 11, allowing ticket holders to the 8 p.m. Downey Symphony Orchestra concert enough time to see the artwork and meet the artists. At 7:15 p.m., as always, there will be a pre-concert lecture from the stage with Sharon Lavery, music director of the orchestra. She will discuss the musical works on the evening’s program.

The main course, or event, of the evening is the actual concert that begins at 8 p.m. Entitled “Seven and Counting – A Night at the Opera,” the concert is the first of three of the 2014-15 season and marks the beginning of the 7th season with Sharon Lavery as music director.

“I began with this orchestra seven seasons ago, as it was celebrating its 50th Anniversary,” said Lavery. “I am excited to be starting our 57th season in Downey and I am counting on many more.”

The concert will feature a piece honoring the 200th anniversary of the writing of “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key. Returning USC opera department student Anthony Moreno, Baritone soloist, will sing arias from three Mozart operas. Concluding the concert will be Beethoven’s thrilling Symphony No. 7.

There are a limited number of tickets still available for this exciting evening of art and music. The Downey Theatre Box Office, (562) 861-8211, is open Tuesday – Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and at 6 p.m. on the night of the concert. Tickets and information can be obtained online at or at

There is free parking around the Downey Theatre, 8435 Firestone Blvd., in the Downey Civic Center parking lots.



Published: Oct. 2, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 25