Public invited to free performance by San Diego’s top student musicians at Copley Symphony Hall

Posted: Thursday, January 24th 2019


When a child walks in to Copley Symphony Hall for the very first time, it is a positively transformative experience, a moment that can engender a lifelong passion for music and the arts. The majestic theater, home to the San Diego Symphony and classic performances like “The Nutcracker,” regularly fills its 2,200 seats.

Unfortunately, catching one of these grand performances downtown can be a pricey ticket, out of reach for many San Diego families. One annual event, however, provides a world-class musical experience that is free and open to the public – and it’s coming next week.

On Saturday, February 2nd, the best high school student musicians in our city will perform on their biggest stage yet. Starting at 7:00pm, the lights will dim and the sound of more than 70 instruments will fill Copley Symphony Hall, as the 2019 San Diego Unified Honor Band and Honor Orchestra performance kicks off.

The public is invited to attend this free performance of the district’s finest musicians, a culmination of the students’ years of hard work and rehearsal. The concert, an exciting exhibition of compelling musical repertoire, is just the latest offering from San Diego Unified’s acclaimed Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) program.

The Honor Concert is produced by the VAPA Department and sponsored by the VAPA Foundation and the Community Council for Music in the Schools, a non profit organization founded in 1990 under the umbrella of the SDSU School of Music and Dance and the SDSU Research Foundation.

“Our vision for VAPA is ‘Transforming Lives Through the Arts,’ and that’s exactly what happens when you give children access to music, dance, and visual arts,” said Russ Sperling, Director of Visual and Performing Arts at San Diego Unified. “What’s wonderful is that, for a little over a year, we’ve had a VAPA Foundation, which has been raising money to enrich arts education in our schools… and has already given out a little over $30,000 in grants.”

“It truly changed my life when I received the VAPA Foundation grant last year,” said Annette Barcelona, a dance teacher at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. “That grant allowed me to participate in the American Ballet Theater teacher training program… it’s really helping us align our ballet curriculum, and we want to see all of our kids graduate from this school being audition-ready for college programs or professional career pursuits.”

Steve McCormack, Executive Director of CoTA, a San Diego nonprofit dedicated to expanding the arts in elementary school education, lauded the district’s VAPA commitment at the January 22nd Board of Education meeting. “I have to say, in my 13 years working in arts education in San Diego County, I’ve never seen VAPA be in a better place than it is today,” he said. “We know the arts promote those 21st century skills of creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking… The children in this district are getting unbelievable skill leadership training.”

This education will be on display at several performances throughout the school year, but perhaps none as big as next Saturday’s concert. “Everyone should come. If you haven’t seen this concert, it is incredible,” Sperling said of the upcoming performance. “You close your eyes, and you would not believe that these are high school students performing.”

The concert will feature 77 students in the Honor Band and 91 students in the Honor Orchestra, representing 13 high schools: Crawford, Hoover, La Jolla, Mira Mesa, Mission Bay, Morse, Patrick Henry, Point Loma, San Diego, School of the Creative and Performing Arts, Scripps Ranch, Serra, and University City.

The guest conductor for the Honor Orchestra will be Anthony Do-Hoon Kim, a prominent conductor with the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory. The orchestra will be performing advanced musical works by Holst, Dvorak, and Ginastera. The band portion of the concert will be conducted by Dean Hickman, a recently retired San Diego Unified School District music teacher. Having served 33 years teaching in San Diego Unified, Hickman continues to inspire our students and teachers in the field of music.

Tickets are not required, but admission is on a first-come first-serve basis.

SDUSD High School Instrumental Honor Concert
Copley Symphony Hall
750 B Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Saturday, February 2, 2019
7:00 pm

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