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Sept. 21, 2016

Classical music…a multi-dimensional, multi-generational art for all

By Councilmember René Lopez

Composition of classical music originated roughly in the 11th century and continues to enrich the lives of many today. Our City is blessed to have its very own symphony orchestra that not only takes audiences by surprise, but encourages community involvement. Maestro Jack Harriman has conducted the symphony since its beginnings at Mesa Community College in 1989. Funding was cut in 1991, and two years later, a majority of the musicians joined together forming the San Marcos Symphony. In 2006, the orchestra was renamed Chandler Symphony Orchestra due in part to the support received from Mayor and Council at that time.

There are approximately 90 professionally trained musicians that volunteer their time and dedicate countless hours for rehearsals in preparation for performances that bring classical music to life. Chandler Center for the Arts is home to many of the group’s performances. All events are free; however, a donation at the door always is appreciated.

Community involvement is very important to the Orchestra’s success. No matter how small or large, it relies on donations to purchase or rent music, provide refreshments for the musicians at each concert and for some administrative needs. Volunteers also are much needed and appreciated in making the Orchestra a success. Assistance involves setup behind the scenes, serving on the board and providing hospitality at the concert venues. For more information on how to become involved, visit

Orchestra members believe in the positive impact of bringing music to the ears and hearts of our youth. Classical music has a rich history. It encompasses various styles of music that influence all cultures. As part of its awareness and preservation efforts, youth competitions are held every year in the East Valley for students in grades seven through 12. These competitions are open to all students, not just those in the Chandler Unified School District. Another opportunity for students is to attend the last open rehearsal before each concert series. They experience a professional rehearsal atmosphere, while learning how the conductor relates to the orchestra, and have an opportunity to meet the musicians.

The Chandler Symphony Orchestra has been performing for 24 years. It is in the planning stages of its 25th Anniversary celebration season. As a member of its Jubilee Committee, I am excited for some of the performances and special guests planned for the 2017-18 season. I cannot share them yet, but details are forthcoming. In the meantime, plan to attend one of the upcoming Classical Series performances.

The winter performances are scheduled through mid-December. “Fall Fanfare” is scheduled on Oct. 9 and “Celebration of Youth” on Nov. 6. Don’t miss the holiday event performances in December. Audiences will enjoy a variety of sounds performed through such instruments as brass, trumpets, violins, woodwinds, strings, piano and even, the harp.

The City continues to support the efforts to develop awareness, appreciation and preservation of classical music in the community. Visit to learn more and watch my recent “Chandler In Focus” show, with Pam Hahn, Executive Director, and Jack Harriman, Music Conductor. For ticket information, visit