SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

PRESS RELEASE

 

CONTACT:  Tom Whaley                                  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 70338                                   23 JAN 2014

 

 

65th Annual Stairway of the Stars Concerts

 

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District presents the 65th Annual Stairway of the Stars in the stunning Art Deco Barnum Hall on the campus of Santa Monica High School (601 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA – www.BarnumHall.org).  

 

The concert will span three nights: Choir on February 7, Band on February 11, and Orchestra on February 13.  All three concerts will begin at 7:00pm.

 

Stairway remains one of the most popular annual events in both the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu, as it spotlights the district's music students, teachers, and music curriculum. This year, twenty-six choirs, bands, and orchestras, including students from all of the school district’s sixteen schools, will dazzle the audience at the three Stairway of the Stars concerts.

 

As a special treat, there will be three guest conductors this year – one for each night of the concert!  The Stairway Guest Choir Conductor will be Dr. Albert J. McNeil, the Guest Band Conductor will be Dr. Thomas Lee, and the Guest Orchestra Conductor will be Mr. Bruce Kiesling.

 

2014 Stairway Guest Choir Conductor

Dr. Albert J. McNeil

Professor Emeritus of Music at UC Davis and founder of the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers



ALBERT J. McNEIL is Professor Emeritus of Music at UC Davis and founder of the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers, an ensemble that has toured in forty-four states and seventy-seven countries.  Dr. McNeil will be the guest conductor at the February 7 Choir Concert, which will feature African American spirituals and art songs, such as “Down by the Riverside” and “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” as well as George Gershwin’s “Summertime.” Dr. McNeil will be joined by soloists Nell Walker and Michael Wright from the Jubilee Singers.

 

2014 Stairway Guest Band Conductor

Dr. Thomas Lee

Professor Emeritus, Director of Bands, and Conductor of the UCLA Wind Ensemble

Thomas Lee is Professor Emeritus, Director of Bands, and Conductor of the UCLA Wind Ensemble.  Dr. Lee will be guest conductor at the February 11 Band Concert, which will include “The Trombone King” by Karl L. King, “Blessed Are They” by Johannes Brahms, and Camille Saint Saens’ “French Military March.”  The Jazz Bands will play Chick Corea’s “Spain,” with special guest soloist John Beasley.

 

2014 Stairway Guest Orchestra Conductor

Mr. Bruce Kiesling

Assistant Conductor of the Pasadena Symphony and Conductor of the LA Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA)

Bruce Kiesling is Assistant Conductor of the Pasadena Symphony and Conductor of the LA Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA).  Mr. Kiesling will be the guest conductor at the February 13 Orchestra Concert, the music of which will range from Ray Anthony’s “Hokey Pokey” and “Bunny Hop” to “Scarborough Fair” to the beautiful Adagietto from Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 (which the composer wrote as a love letter to his wife), and conclude with Rossini’s exciting “William Tell Overture.”  

 

2014 Stairway Honor Award Recipient

The Beasley Family

 

Each year, the district’s music teachers vote on the “Stairway Honor Award Recipient.”  The award is presented to a former student, teacher, or an organization that has contributed enormously to the advancement of music and arts education in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.  This year, the 2014 Stairway Honor Award Recipient will be the Beasley family.  The late Lida Beasley taught orchestra at John Adams Middle School, Santa Monica High School, and Santa Monica College.  Her husband, Rule Beasley, taught classes ranging from composition to jazz improvisation at Santa Monica College and played bassoon in the Santa Monica Symphony for twenty years. Their two sons, John and Paul, attended local schools, and John, who is an internationally renowned jazz pianist, will perform at the February 11 concert. Rule and John Beasley will be accepting the award on behalf of the family.

 

The ensembles that will perform at the 65th Annual Stairway of the Stars concerts are the All-District Elementary Honor Choir and Middle and High School Choirs (Friday, February 7); Elementary, Middle, and High School Bands and Jazz Bands (Tuesday, February 11); and Elementary, Middle, and High School Orchestras (Thursday, February 13).  In all, more than 1,100 of the district’s nearly 5,000 student musicians will be performing at the three Stairway concerts this year.  Organizing rehearsals for student musicians from sixteen schools, stretching from the Ocean Park neighborhood on the south side of Santa Monica all the way to the northern reaches of Malibu, thirty miles away, is a daunting task.  But each year, the Stairway concerts result in students from all across the school district making music together, beautifully.

 

Make a DONATION to support the extraordinary quality of the SMMUSD Music Program!  You can include a donation when you purchase your tickets, or by using the Online Stairway Form on the Stairway of the Stars website http://smmusd.org/vapa/stairway/.  If you have an instrument that you no longer use, please consider our "PLAY IT FORWARD" instrument donation program.  Visit http://smmusd.org/vapa/ and click on "DONATE AN INSTRUMENT!" for details.

 

As there is high demand for tickets to the Stairway concerts, only families of the student performers are given access to advanced ticket sales through January 26.  Tickets not sold during the advanced period will be made available to the public from January 27 to January 31 during an online sale hosted by Brown Paper Tickets.  Visit www.brownpapertickets.com and enter "Stairway of the Stars" in the "Find an event" field.  After January 31, if any tickets remain, they will be on sale for $15 at the Barnum Hall box office on the night of each concert, starting at 5:30 p.m.  Each evening, tickets will be sold ONLY for that night's concert. 

 

Parking will be available at the Civic Center Parking Structure.  The entrance is on 4th Street at Civic Center Drive (between Pico Boulevard and Olympic Drive).

 

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SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

1651 16TH Street , Santa Monica , CA 90404

ph: 310.450.8338; fax: 310.581.1138

www.smmusd.org