CONTACT:  Tom Whaley (Visual & Performing Arts)    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 338                                                  17 MAR 2009


SMMUSD’s 60th ANNUAL ‘STAIRWAY OF THE STARS’                  


On March 26th and 27th, 2009, at 7:30 pm, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District will present the 60th Annual Stairway of the Stars at the Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica. This event remains one of the most popular annual events in the city, as it spotlights the talents of the district's music students, teachers, and music curriculum.


This year, twenty-six bands, orchestras, and choirs will dazzle the audience at the Stairway of the Stars concert. The guest conductor will be Dr. Tony Mazzaferro, who was born and raised in San Francisco and is completing his eleventh year as Principal Conductor of the Claremont Winds.  Dr. Mazzaferro received his Bachelor of Music degree from San Francisco State University and, during his undergraduate years, served as the Principle Tubist in the Symphonic Band and Symphony Orchestra.  In addition, he was the Assistant Conductor for both the Symphonic and Concert Bands.  After graduating with honors in 1978, Dr. Mazzaferro attended Northwestern University, where he earned a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting, studying under John P. Paynter.  In 1986, he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Arizona State University, where he was a graduate assistant for the Music Education Department and the Concert Band. While at Arizona State, Dr. Mazzaferro studied with Richard Strange, Daniel Perantoni, Ronald LoPresti and Barrie Wells.  Dr. Mazzaferro is currently the Director of Bands at Fullerton College.


In addition to his academic assignments, Dr. Mazzaferro conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Community Band, and instructs Applied Euphonium and Tuba.  Prior to his appointment at Fullerton College, Dr. Mazzaferro taught for the Mt. Diablo and Palo Alto Unified School Districts.  His guest conducting appearances have included Honor Bands and Orchestras throughout the Western United States, Canada, and New Zealand, including the Alberta, Canada All-Provincial Honor Band in 2000, the California All-State Honor Band in 1994, 2001, and 2007 and the Northern California High School Honor Band in 2007.  He has adjudicated music festivals in Arizona, California, Hawaii, North Dakota, Texas, Australia, Singapore, and Canada.  Dr. Mazzaferro has also worked with concert bands and orchestras from the United States, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, and China.  On his principal instrument, tuba, he has performed with numerous bands and orchestras throughout California.  This includes the Diablo Symphony, Peninsula Symphony, Symphony of the Mountain, Berkeley Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, Santa Ana Symphony, and the Crystal Cathedral “Hour of Power” Orchestra.


The 2009 Stairway Honor Award Recipient will be the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation. The Education Foundation continues to be a vital partner, supporting numerous programs in the SMMUSD that help all students reach their greatest potential in music and all the arts, in addition to the other disciplines of education. Through its For The Arts endowment, the Ed Foundation provides annual funding for Dance instruction at the middle and high schools in Santa Monica and Malibu, as well as support for Drama at our three high schools. Proceeds from their outstanding annual For The Arts benefit concert that features professional musicians performing with SMMUSD students, fund important programs like DreamWinds and DreamStrings, a Guitar and World Drumming class at Olympic High School, the choral accompanists for the new elementary choral program and recorders for all 3rd graders in the new district-wide 3rd grade general music program.  


This year, the ensembles that will perform at Stairway of the Stars are the All-District Elementary Honor Orchestra, Choir, and Band; High School Jazz Ensemble; as well as the Middle and High School orchestras, choirs, and bands. Some of the musical selections will include: “Pineapple Poll,” “He’ll Make a Way,” and “CruisinFor a Bluesin”.

Ticket sales to the general public begin on Tuesday, March 24th.  Tickets cost $12.00 each and can be purchased at the Professional Development and Learning Center (PDLC) at 2802 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, or call 310-399-5865, ext. 538.






1651 16TH Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

ph: 310.450.8338; fax: 310.581.1138