CONTACT:  Tom Whaley                            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 287                                                09 APR 2008



SAMOHI Symphony Orchestra returns from a Central European Tour!


The Samohi Symphony Orchestra have returned from a memorable Spring Tour of Salzburg, Vienna, Brno and Prague.  The district’s musicians were warmly received by Austrian and Czech audiences at each of their four performances.  In Austria, they were guests at closed rehearsals of the world renowned Berlin Philharmonic and Conductor Simon Rattle, and the Vienna Symphony at the Musikverein.  In Prague, the students were guests of the Prague Symphony, where they were personally coached by their Concertmaster for the district’s string section, First Clarinet for the woodwinds section, and First Horn for the brass section. 


The students’ first concert took place in Vienna at the Orangerie at Schonbrunn Palace, where Mozart and Haydn performed, and where SMMUSD students were introduced to the audience by the US Cultural Attaché to Austria.  Throughout the concert, snow was softly falling, and afterwards, our musicians let off a little steam with a snowball fight!  Brno was the site of the second concert, after a workshop with Brno Conservatory students, where SMMUSD students performed with the Brno students in a joint concert to a full house.  In Prague, the Samohi Chamber Orchestra performed beautifully at the Czech Museum of Music, and their final concert was held at the Rudolfinum in Prague, considered one of the most beautiful concert venues in Europe.  At this concert, the Samohi Symphony Orchestra presented a plaque commemorating the Czech composer Dvorak's stay in the United States, which will be placed in the Czech Museum of Music. 


When the students were not rehearsing or performing, they managed to take in many sights, including tours of Schonbrunn Palace, the Muzikverein, St. Florian Abbey, the Kast Caves, Terezin, Konopiste Palace, and walking tours of the old city in Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague.  The evenings were filled with opera (Carmen, Magic Flute), Chamber music, Black Light Theater, visits to an art museum, or strolling through the city.  District students and chaperones celebrated their last night with a dinner cruise on the Muldau.  Although the group encountered quite a bit of snow, it contributed to the sense of adventure.


This Symphony tour is a successful culmination of commitment and tremendous effort by SMMUSD Orchestra teachers, student musicians and their families, the community, and the support of school administration and district. Thank you to Samohi Principal Dr. Pedroza for his leadership and guidance from the inception of this tour; to Tom Whaley, District Fine Arts Coordinator, for his full participation and enthusiastic support; to Chief Academic Officer Dr. Sally Chou for joining this tour and encouraging the educational opportunities for our students; to the amazing Orchestra faculty, Ms. Joni Swenson and Mr. Jason Aiello and guest conductor, Mr. Vince Gomez, and Catherine Baxter for her support throughout the process; and to the Santa Monica City Council.


Thanks also to the very dedicated volunteer tour committee members and tireless chaperones who worked so hard to make this tour possible: Teri Zakzook, Amy and Tim Van Pelt, Claire and David Miller, Philip Himberg, Wendy McGinty, Alex Novakovich, Roland and Marni Wieshofer, Bruce Allen, Jim Ballantine, Mark and Jackie Bartelt, Lena Bassé, Izak and Sharon Ben-Meir, Winnie Chiu, Eileen Escarce, Jane Glaser, Susan Henry, Jeanne Ladner, Jenny Sun, Norm Swenson, Russell Tareo, Zach Van Pelt, Susan Jain, Pat Eastman, Michael Weiss, Ron and Sue Garber, Jeff Lawrence, Joanne Hwang, Renee Kalmar, Gail Boyle, Jane Munoz, Richard and Lace Bencivengo, Eve Gordon, Suzanne Barron  and many others, whose commitment, dedication, and spirit of collaboration made the trip such a success.






1651 16TH Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

ph: 310.450.8338; fax: 310.581.1138