Sat12202014

News

Symphony to end bumpy season on high note


Town Crier File Photo
Peninsula Symphony closes out its season with a free concert in Los Altos Saturday.

Peninsula Symphony is scheduled to perform its final concert of the season 6:30-8 p.m. Saturday on the Hillview Soccer Field, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos. The free performance is part of the city’s annual Summer Concert Series.

Comprising 105 volunteer musicians, the symphony will perform a program with the theme “Way Out West,” featuring popular songs from famous Western productions like Richard Rodgers’ “Oklahoma!” and Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo.” According to organizers, the musicians will sport cowboy hats and bandannas to support the theme and create a fun, family environment. Despite their casual appearance at the laid-back event, interim Executive Director Andrea Temkin said the symphony’s repertoire is “actually one of their more challenging programs.”

The summer concert brings a harmonious close to a year that has been anything but smooth. Symphony board members discovered last fall that nearly all of the nonprofit organization’s funds had disappeared. The executive director at the time, Steve Carlton, is now in custody and charged with embezzlement, grand theft and forgery.

“It was highly questionable that we could perform even one concert,” said Alan Bien, member of the board of directors and contributing cellist. “It was only due to the dedication of so many volunteers and newly hired staff that we’ve been able to recover our season.”

Inching closer to recovery, Peninsula Symphony handled the financial setback and is more motivated than ever to continue playing together as they have for 65 years. Through a combination of dedication and support from the community, Peninsula Symphony has continued its performances. The orchestra raised enough money to play every concert in its original program, and Bien reported that the group would finish the season “in the black.”

In addition to performing its entire concert series, Peninsula Symphony has also maintained its elementary school education program, Bridges to Music.

“The concerts we have had this season seem to have been much more meaningful and fulfilling,” Bien said. “We all know how much effort it’s taken to raise the money to continue our programs.”

After Saturday’s Los Altos concert, Peninsula Symphony will begin preparing for its 66th season in the fall. Bien said he has high hopes that the group will recover financially.

All performances in the city of Los Altos’ Summer Concert Series are scheduled 6:30-8 p.m. and alternate between Hillview Soccer Field and Grant Park, 1575 Holt Ave. Upcoming performers include: California Beach Boys, June 26, Grant Park; Mustache Harbor, July 10, Hillview; The Sun Kings, July 17, Grant Park; Livewire, July 24, Hillview; The Shanks, July 31, Grant Park; and The Cheeseballs, Aug. 7, Hillview.

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