Preparations underway for symphony’s 2014-15 season

DOWNEY – September 2014 is not only the current “kick-off” time for every football program across the land, it is also the “start-up” time for fundraising events in preparation for the Downey Symphony Orchestra’s 2014 - 2015 season of concerts in the Downey Theatre. The ongoing fundraising activities to benefit the Downey Symphony Orchestra (DSO) are organized under the direction of the Board of Directors of the Downey Symphonic Society (DSS) or the Downey Symphony Guild (DSG).

Saturday, Sept. 6, you may have seen members of the board of the DSS on Downey Avenue at the local farmers market under a blue pop-up tent distributing information on the DSO’s upcoming concert season and all the fundraising events happening this month.

Saturday, Sept. 13, board members of the DSS and the DSG, along with Sharon Lavery, music director of the DSO, all worked together to host a flapjack fundraiser at the Applebee’s restaurant in Norwalk. Not only did these hard workers sell tickets to this event, but they served up plates of food, poured numerous cups of coffee and orange juice, and even bussed tables to keep the flow of customers happy and speedily satisfied.

Upcoming this Sunday, Sept. 21, is the major fundraising event of the month. Entitled “The Mad Hatter’s Garden Party,” this event provides a whimsical-themed afternoon with hors d’ oeuvres, spirits and spirited conversation, a fabulous dinner and unforgettable desserts, live performance from a USC instrumental group, and silent and live auctions, all to benefit the DSO and the Music in the Schools program.

Additionally, the DSG has arranged an easy way for you to help raise funds and enjoy dining out at the same time. At Café Opa in Downey, on Tuesday, Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., 20% of each sale will go to the DSG to benefit the DSO and the Music in the Schools program. Mention to your server at Café Opa that you read about it here, in The Downey Patriot.

All the hard work and fundraising from the events mentioned above ultimately are for the benefit of the Downey Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sharon Lavery. The first concert of the DSO’s 2014-15 season is on Saturday, Oct. 11, at the Downey Theatre. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The concert, entitled “Seven and Counting – A Night at the Opera” will also include an art exhibit with the theme “Lucky Number Seven” and a pre-concert lecture with Lavery at 7:15 p.m.

When asked about the meaning of the title “Seven and Counting – A Night at the Opera” and also the program, Lavery explained, “I joined the Symphony as it was celebrating its 50th anniversary. I’m excited to be starting my seventh year as music director, leading the Symphony in its 57th season. I’ve enjoyed the last six seasons and I’m counting on many more. We are opening the concert in a special way by also counting the 200th anniversary of the writing of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ by Francis Scott Key.”

In September of 1814, during the third year of the war of 1812, the British, after burning the White House and other public buildings in the nation’s capitol, sailed up the Chesapeake Bay to bombard Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor, Maryland. Onboard a British warship in the harbor, securing the release of a civilian held prisoner, was Francis Scott Key.

Unable to leave the ship because the British Fleet had begun its attack, Key endured the 25-hour bombardment. When the smoke had cleared, Key looked at the fort to discover that it had not surrendered, that “our flag was still there.”

He began writing a poem and completed it by the time he returned to shore. Initially printed as “The Defence of Fort McHenry” (Tune – ‘Anacreon in Heaven’), the title was later changed to “The Star Spangled Banner.” On March 3, 1931, it became our official national anthem.

Also on the program for the Oct. 11 concert are many Mozart opera selections featuring returning soloist Anthony Moreno, Baritone. More information about Anthony Moreno and the Mozart selections in next week’s issue of The Downey Patriot.

Concluding the concert and sticking with the 7 (seven) theme is Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92, composed by Ludwig van Beethoven between 1811 and 1812. The work premiered in Vienna with Beethoven himself conducting and it was noted at its conclusion that Beethoven remarked that it was one of his best works.

The second movement, Allegretto, was very popular and had to be encored. It is frequently performed separate from the complete symphony.

Critics and listeners have often felt stirred or inspired by the Seventh Symphony. For instance, one program-note author writes: “…the final movement zips along at an irrepressible pace that threatens to sweep the orchestra off its feet and around the theatre, caught up in the sheer joy of performing one of the most perfect symphonies ever written!”

“Seven and Counting – A Night at the Opera” on Oct. 11 is the first concert of a three-concert season. Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015’s concert, “Harp and Soul” with Alison Bjorkedal, Harp Soloist and Saturday, April 11, 2015’s concert, “Romantic Gems” with Hao Zhou, Violin Soloist round out the season.

For more information and season subscriptions for tickets to the concerts (with a savings over the single ticket price), please visit the website Tickets are also available from the Downey Theatre box office at (562) 861-8211.



Published: Sept. 18, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 23