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Philharmonic performs its first concert

Posted: February 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.

It’s been about three years in the making, but on Sunday the sweet sounds of music signaled the beginning of public performances for the Santa Clarita Philharmonic.

“It’s awesome that we get to bring such great music to such a great valley,” said orchestra percussionist Troy King. “This is Awesome Town and this is an awesome orchestra.”

At its inaugural concert, the community-based volunteer symphony orchestra presented an afternoon of uplifting classical music to more than a hundred music lovers at Valencia High School.

“Its been a long journey,” said orchestra President Mark Elfont. “It’s been about three years since we started, with a lot of fits and stops and starts, but we finally made it.”

The orchestra kicked off its program with a celebrated version of Jean Sibelius’ “Finlandia.” Other selections performed included George Frideric Handel’s “Water Music,” a work by Anton Dvorak entitled “Romance” and Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 1.”

“This is a totally volunteer group,” Elfont told the audience. “It’s your community people. Everybody volunteers to participate. Nobody gets paid. But we do have expenses.”

With an annual operating budget of $10,000, the orchestra is currently running at a $3,000 deficit, he said.

But neither a small audience or a lack of funds stopped the orchestra from bringing a clean professional elegance to Santa Clarita during its first concert, with the help of its music director Jeffrey Gilbert and Concertmaster Matthias Rykert.

Inserted into its program was a tiny envelope addressed to the Santa Clarita Philharmonic with an attached note explaining: “Symphony orchestras have been suffering artistically, socially and economically for decades.”

The group’s goal is three-fold, according the program: first, bring an “artistic, musical and social experience,” second, provide an outlet for musicians and lastly, cultivate talent.
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