The South Coast Symphony bills itself as "the unstuffy symphony." Which isn't to say that its pro musicians have any disrespect for the classical tradition?any given season likely will be rich with mammoth orchestral works and famous operas. But the group has broad tastes, and accordingly partners with a wide range of musicians to put on evenings of Broadway show tunes, renditions of classic-rock albums, and film-score performances. Many of the concerts are designed to be welcoming to a wide audience, including kids or adults who have never listened to anything besides CDs of funny sound effects.
For the Pacific Symphony, it's not just about the music. Although the grand orchestra, one of the largest formed in the United States in the last 40 years, produces more than 100 concerts every year, they do it with a goal of engaging the community and edifying the human spirit. Under the direction of Carl St. Clair, the platoon of virtuosos fills its repertoire with classic orchestral masterworks while nurturing the talents of new composers at their annual American Composers Festival. The symphony also expands its community outreach through all-ages music-education programs that have scored honors from the National Endowment of the Arts and the League of American Orchestras.
Celebrating its 80th birthday in 2014, the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra has entertained generations of audiences with seasons that thrive on contrast. Each year includes six classical concerts and five Pops! musical dinner picnic events in the newly-renovated Long Beach Arena. The Symphony also serves the community with free music education that has reached over 24,000 youth at schools, libraries, hospitals, and community centers. In addition, the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra was the first major regional orchestra to appoint a woman as its Music Director, in 1989, and further gained international stature with its most recent Maestro who brought original compositions, world premieres, and celebrated international soloists to the Symphony?s repertoire.
Founded on a mission to forge local educational partnerships and provide community enrichment through music, the non-profit Corona Symphony Orchestra treats Circle City ears to everything from choral classics and opera, to film scores, pops, and original pieces. Viva Italia! is a tribute to Italy's finest classical compositions not featured in Lady and the Tramp. Conducted under the watchful hand of symphony maestro Marco A. Mejia, eardrums will be enamored by Pietro Mascagni's "Intermezzo" from Cavalleria Rusticana, Felix Mendelssohn's fourth symphony Italian, and guest bassoonist Jason Artz's solo in Concerto for Bassoon, by Nino Rota. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, so deal holders need only bring their Groupons to the will call 15 minutes before show time to enjoy a diverse sampling of Italy's sweetest symphonic sounds.
Tearing into a perfectly charred, sauce-covered rack of ribs satisfies the stomach, and the knowledge that you made them yourself feeds the soul. Students can do just that in classes held by the nonprofit organization California BBQ Association, which shares all of its proceeds with children’s charities throughout the state. The course catalogue includes beginner and advanced classes led by pit masters such as Ric Gilbert, an inductee to the association’s hall of fame, and Harry Soo, a contestant from the first season of TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters. Fees cover the equipment and food needed to prepare dishes, freeing students from having to stop at a barbecue-sauce river and fill up some water bottles on their way to class.