Solano Symphony opens 27th season with ‘changing of the guard’

By From page B3 | October 25, 2013

FAIRFIELD —When Ray Schoch, then president of Solano Community Symphony, decided to run for State Assembly, he hand-picked his replacement for the board presidency.

The person he and the board chose was then-board member Debbie Hayward, who held the reins of president of the Solano Community Symphony for the past 16 years. As of this season, the score has changed.

Enter Mary Anne Jordan, the new president of the symphony’s 27th season.

Before the symphony’s season opener at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre, Jordan expressed words of gratitude for her newly appointed position.

“It is both an honor and privilege to be a part of this symphony,” she said.

Hayward accepted an engraved crystal vase commemorating her long tenure, and a floral bouquet. She, too, had many heartfelt remarks of appreciation for the loyal audiences and her friends among the musicians.

There seemed to be some growing pains among the new guard as there were not  enough programs for the entire audience during the performance. Despite minor glitches, the show was a resounding success.

What has not changed at the Solano Symphony is the Maestro Semyon Lohss, who has held the position of music director and conductor for more than 20 years.

Approximately 170 people attended the performance.

A work titled “Capriccio Italien,” Opus 45 by Tchaikovsky was the first selection of the afternoon. This stellar piece featured lilting, often haunting violins, fabulous trumpet renditions, mixed with magnificent sounds of the bassoon and French horns.

Lohss, in elegantly traditional tuxedo tails, conducted the offering with superior aplomb.

During intermission, two audience members commented on the Tchaikovsky offering. Cassandra Baumert, a pre-nursing student at Pacific Union College, was reviewing the performance for a college music survey class.

“This is my very first symphony,” she said. “I really like how live symphony allows you to use your imagination, and paints a picture with the sound of the music.”

Her friend, college student Robin Daniels of Vacaville, agreed.

“Somehow I honestly thought I was being transported to Disneyland, the music was so soothing to me,” she said.

Sadly, the traditional page describing the “language of music,” so important for the education of symphony newcomers such as Baumert and Daniels, was missing from this season’s program.

In the second portion of the performance, Solano Symphony offered Rachmaninoff’s work titled “Symphony No. 2 in E Minor” Opus 27, which includes four movements.

The first is a long, glorious work that begins softly, and builds, followed by the last three movements of allegro molto, adagio and allegro vivace. This piece is difficult to expedite, and requires superior timing. The Solano Symphony rendered it flawlessly.

Long-absent Solano Symphony attendees returned to the symphony Sunday as well. Therese Wagner was with her husband, a retired Solano Community College German professor.

Originally from Germany, the Wagners said that they “listen to classical music all day long, but there is nothing like live symphony. Perhaps we shall start attending again,” she said.

John and Eleanor Wilson also had a comment.

“Our daughter Bonnie has played violin in this symphony for over 15 years, we love to come to hear the live performance in full orchestra,”Eleanor Wilson said.

One might notice a slight change in the name of this symphony. It has morphed from Solano Community Symphony to Solano Symphony. They also now have an office address in Vacaville.

“I will finally be able to give them all of the programs and records I have been safe guarding for over 20 years,” Hayward said.

The first of this year’s Solano Symphony season was dedicated in memory of Dave Froelich, the beloved Solano County musician who died in April.

“He did more than teach us music,” said Solano music legend Dalt Williams. “It was sort of a philosophy of life we gained through both his humor and actual examples.”

The next performance by the Solano Symphony is Dec. 7 at the Solano Community College Theatre. It will feature Kristy Juliano and the Solano Coral Society, along with selections from the ever popular holiday favorite, “The Nutcracker,” by Tchaikovsky.

Everything promises to be in place for a wonderful upcoming season.

Paula McConnell is a free-lance writer living in Vallejo.

Paula McConnell


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