Symphony’s 57th season begins Oct. 11

DOWNEY – The Downey Symphony launches its 57th season on Oct. 11, with a celebration of the 200th anniversary of “The Star Spangled Banner.” “Hearing our national anthem played with the dignity and power of a full orchestra is a stirring experience,” board member Lorine Parks commented.  The audience will be invited to sing along, including the rarely heard additional stanzas of Francis Scott Key’s poem.

The Orchestra is also celebrating Music Director Sharon Lavery’s 7th season.  “You can tell that the musicians love playing for Sharon,” said Nick Frankel, chair of the Board.  He added, “This is truly her orchestra, and her personal warmth and musical skill benefit Downey and its surrounding communities.” Her pre-concert talks at 7:15 pm are an audience favorite.

The October 11 concert will feature Anthony Moreno, a big hit last season, returning to sing Mozart arias in costume.  The concert concludes with Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, one of the greatest and most popular pieces in the entire musical literature.

The winter concert, “Harp and Soul,” on January 24, features the Orchestra’s string section.  The world premiere of USC composer Bryan Kostor’s “Five Variations on Loss and Isolation,” will share the program with pieces by Copland and Mahler.  Renowned harpist Alison Bjokedal will perform Debussy’s “Sacred and Profane Dances,” and the evening will conclude with Tchaikovsky’s ravishing “Serenade for Strings.”

The Downey Symphony sponsors a Young Artist Competition, and this year’s winner, the brilliant violinist Hao Zhou, will perform Saint-Saens’ Violin Concerto No. 3, at the final concert on April 11.  Brahm’s Symphony No. 1 will bring the concert to a rousing close.  The evening also includes the annual baton auction, where an audience member wins the opportunity to conduct the orchestra.  Last year’s winner, Jess Zakira, will start the concert with a piece he gets to consult with Music Director Lavery in choosing.

As usual, each concert of the season includes an exhibit of beautiful artworks by local artists in the lobby.  The work can be viewed before and after the concert and at intermission, and most pieces are available for purchase.

In addition to the public concerts, the Symphony offers a free concert to all 3rd and 5th grade students in Downey.   The Music in the Schools program also sends a quintet of musicians to elementary schools to educate students about fine music and perform for them.  The Orchestra also offers an annual free concert in Furman Park in August.

The Downey Symphony is the city’s oldest and most prestigious arts organization and has enjoyed support from the citizens and city of Downey for more than half a century.  It continues its mission of bringing the most beautiful music in the world to Downey, providing exciting, sophisticated, and enjoyable evenings.  More than 80% of the Symphony’s budget comes from donations from individuals, businesses, foundations, and the City.  Donations are tax deductible.

All performances are in the Downey Civic Theatre, with ample free parking. Season tickets, which assure patrons the same seats at all three concerts, are $95 or $85; student subscriptions are only $25.

Season and single concert tickets are now on sale at the Theatre Box Office, 8435 Firestone Blvd., open Tuesday through Friday, 11-5; or call (562) 861-8211.

For full information about the symphony and its concerts or to purchase tickets on line, visit; and like us on Facebook at DowneySymphony.



Published: Sept. 4, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 21