CC Symphony to perform as it searches for new music director

Death of icon Frank Fetta leaves hole

Photo courtesy of Mary Lou Basaraba The next MidDAY at Grace Concert is June 10 and will feature the Satin Brass section of the Culver City Symphony Orchestra. The free concert starts at noon and will run about 45 to 50 minutes. Music selection for the afternoon will be Beethoven, Gershwin and John Williams. The MidDay concerts are under the direction of Mary Lou Basaraba, now on the CC Symphony Board of Directors. The concert is free but donations will benefit Grace Diner which continues to serve hundreds of hot meals each week. Donate at Grace Church is at 4427 Overland Ave

In the wake of the passing of beloved conductor and Music Director Frank Fetta in November, the SoCal Symphony Society, which encompasses the Culver City Symphony and the Marina Del Rey Symphony, are continuing their search for a new Music Director and three summer concerts will help with the audition process. Mary Lou Basaraba, a mentee of Fetta’s and a member of the Board for the Culver City Symphony, told us about how she and her colleagues have been active in getting the Symphony up and running in front of the public. “Youtube concerts, and of course the next live thing for the orchestra will be back at the Robert Frost Auditorium,” she said. “That starts on June 25. That will be the end of the 2021/22 season for the CC Symphony.” There will be three in-person concerts featuring the Culver City Symphony throughout the summer. “After a two year COVID hiatus, the full orchestra goes live on June 25 at the Robert Frost Auditorium as the closing concert of the 2021/22 season in an the Beethoven Symphony No 5 and the Emperor Concerto conducted by the Principal Guest Conductor, Andrew Shulman with past Parness Concerto Winner and now established professional piano soloist, Rufus Choi,” Basaraba said. “In a long standing relationship with the County of LA Beaches and Harbors, the Marina del Rey Symphony returns to Burton Chace Park for two summer events on Thursdays, July 14 and August 4.” Prior to both of those, Basaraba said that “the fi rst return to live concerts will be a collaboration with the MidDAY At Grace monthly concert series at Grace Church featuring the Satin Brass with resident CCS principal brass players.” However, it is the three concerts On June 25, July 14 and Aug. 4 which will essentially serve as auditions for prospective Music Director candidates. “There is a formal search going on right now,” Basaraba said. “Letters of job description and application invitation have been sent out to a select number of conductors and music directors. We’re not having a broad search. We decided to keep it simple with personal recommendations by committee members and orchestra members, and other interested parties. It looks like we have six or seven candidates and three of those people will be featured in the three upcoming concerts. We’re hoping we’ll be able to announce a music director by the end of the ‘23 symphony season, and then we’d hope to have a season at Marina Del Rey again in 2023.” Each of the three candidates will run rehearsals and of course the final performance, and then feedback will be sought. “They happen to be three men, and they’re auditioning for the position,” Basaraba said. “The enthusiasm of the orchestra and the audience will be very signifi cant in choosing that person down the road. Frank was a really popular conductor, he had such a wonderful manner with the audience, and he also mentored many musicians and vocalists over a 40 year career.” So the future is again bright for the Symphony. “We’re very focused on getting things rolling for the June 10 concert with the brass quartet at Grace Church,” Basaraba said. “Then the concerts that we are discussing have been taking the focus and we’re hoping to announce by the Marina concerts in the summer at least something of the fall program. Possibly all the way into the rest of the season. That’s all being worked on right now. With the loss of the music director, the board of directors is picking up the responsibilities so this is an interesting process.” For all of the concert information, visit culvercitysymphony. org.