visalia – It’s official. The Tulare County Symphony will now be called the Sequoia Symphony Orchestra.
After a year of getting comments from the musicians, audience and community, the Tulare County Symphony Association voted to change its name at its annual meeting May 24 at the home of the symphony, the Visalia Fox Theatre.
The orchestra was begun as a small, all-volunteer community orchestra in 1960 by the Tulare Union High School band teacher, Robert Cole (who eventually became director of the prestigious UC Berkeley Cal Performances, one of the most admired performing arts centers in the world).
Fifty-seven years later, the orchestra has grown into a highly professional orchestra. Music Director Bruce Kiesling said the name should reflect the quality of the music.
Kiesling gave two main reasons for recommending the name change at the annual meeting. First, the new name reflects the heightened level of artistic excellence. Today’s orchestra is a professional, paid organization that draws musicians from outside Tulare County.
Second, the words “Tulare County” make the orchestra sound like a government entity. When the orchestra applies for much-needed grants, the new name reflects a more professional image of regional importance. Five or six California orchestras have changed their name, getting rid of the word “county.”
Kiesling has also said that many soloists choose not to list the Tulare County Symphony on their resume because it sounds like an amateur orchestra.
“We did a lot of research with the Symphony League and founders of the orchestra to make sure we would not offend. There was overwhelming support,” Kiesling said.
Season tickets for the 2017-18 season are now on sale. Patrons who renew their tickets by June 1 can choose to keep or change their seats and also receive a “bring a friend” coupon. e season features orchestra works about some of the great characters in history.
“We wanted a program of works that would attract everyone’s attention” said Kiesling. We started with a lot of heroes – Romeo and Juliet, Don Juan, Prince Igor. When we added “The Planets,” named after Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, we thought why not call it ‘Gods and Heroes’.”
There have been a few repertoire changes since the season brochure was printed. The major change is that the final concert has been moved to L.J. Williams Theatre on a Sunday afternoon. This is because there will be a 100-voice choir singing Beethoven’s 9th, and L.J. has more space on stage and dressing rooms behind the scenes.
Other changes include pianist Jeffrey Biegel playing Grieg’s “Piano Concerto in A minor” in October and violinist Adam Millstein playing Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade melancolique and Valse-scherzo” in November.
Tickets can be ordered over the phone or in the office, 559-732-8600, 208 W. Main St., Suite D, in Visalia.