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Aug. 30, 2017

Chandler Symphony Orchestra … 25 years of music to the ears
By Councilmember René Lopez

Happy 25th Birthday, Chandler Symphony Orchestra! Since 1993, Chandler has been blessed with the musical sounds of its very own Chandler Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Jack Herriman founded and has conducted the orchestra since the very beginning. He had a vision to create opportunities for all ages to enjoy classical music through free concerts. After all these years, the growth of this organization is a true testament of his dedication to the arts and the members of the community.

Chandler Center for the Arts is home to several of the group’s performances. In addition to the City of Chandler’s partnership, community involvement is very important to the Orchestra’s success. Every concert is free; however, a donation at the door always is appreciated. There are several opportunities to be involved, including volunteering at performances, sponsoring a musician or concert, corporate or individual donations and by advertising in its annual program. All donations are used towards the purchase and rental of music, venues, refreshments for the musicians and minimal administrative needs.

The orchestra is comprised of 90 professionally trained musicians who dedicate countless hours volunteering their time for rehearsals and performances. Several of them have been involved for many years, including a violinist who is 90 years of age and substitutes as a music teacher. Music really is timeless! Although the musicians are volunteers, quality is very important. Anyone who is interested in becoming a member is encouraged to audition.

Music and art open the doors to diversity and cultural experiences. They are very enjoyable and allow the mind to be creative. Studies show a direct impact between those exposed to the arts and their developmental growth, both in the classroom and life skills. The Chandler Center for the Arts provides wonderful programs for the youth. Programs offered include musical theater camps and workshops. For more information, visit

The fall concert series begins on Sept. 8, 2017, and runs through Jan. 28, 2018. This year is special because the orchestra is celebrating 25 years of providing quality symphonic and orchestral music to the community. The orchestra will be providing audiences an even more personal experience. Two of the musicians volunteered to compose pieces for this season. Charles Liu composed “Chandler Festival Overture” that will be performed at the Nov. 12 performance, and David McConaughey composed “Marche Militaire” that will be featured at the Jan. 28 performance.

Two extraordinary events are planned this season. The First Annual Star Wars Fan Fest is taking place from 2:30-8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at the Downtown Stage in downtown Chandler. It is a free family friendly event that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) and will provide families hands-on opportunities to learn about science, literacy, arts and music. Orbital ATK will launch a scaled model of its Antares rocket and the orchestra will perform various John Williams’ scores from Star Wars at 6:30 p.m. Attendees also are encouraged to come in costumes and participate in the Star Wars costume contest. The event will conclude with a fireworks show. For more information and how to be involved, visit

On Feb. 17, 2018, the Gala Silver Anniversary Celebration Dinner will be hosted at the Oakwood Golf Club in Sun Lakes at 5 p.m. Tickets are $80, which covers the price of dinner and includes an opportunity to be seated with one of the conductors or musicians. A silent auction fundraiser also will take place, and they already have received some really nice items. For more information and how to be involved, visit,

I encourage everyone to experience the Chandler Symphony Orchestra. Hearing music played live is life changing. It can create an emotional connection or bring back childhood memories. There are several opportunities to learn and become a part of the arts and culture community. This year is definitely a time to celebrate the music. Grab your family and friends and come out and play!