Article courtesy the Downey Symphony and The Downey Patriot
In partnership with the Downey Arts Coalition, the upcoming concert of the Downey Symphony Orchestra, to be held at the Downey Theatre on Saturday, April 5, will include, at no extra charge, “Home Sweet Earth” – an art exhibit in celebration of Earth Day.
Coordinated by the team of Pat Gil and Eloisa Ball, both newer members of the Downey Symphonic Society Board of Directors, the art exhibits that have taken place during the prior two concerts at the Downey Theatre this season have been very successful. Audiences for the DSO (Downey Symphony Orchestra) concerts have increased dramatically and the exhibited artists are being presented in a different kind of venue where the audience might not otherwise have seen their work.
The Downey Theatre, opened in 1970, has an expansive lobby that includes a second floor art gallery that has been sorely under-utilized until this season. When this space is occupied with exciting and visually stimulating art works and a large number of audience members exploring their surroundings, the theatre is full of life and energy and is the place you need to be!
Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22nd, on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year. Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on enviornmental issues.
However, Pat Gil found that her vision of having an Earth Day event, a large festival where many people could come together and enlighten each other as to healthier and enviornmentally safer choices, could start off, albeit somewhat smaller, if she held it a few weeks earlier. Announcing “Home Sweet Earth” as the title and Earth Day the theme of the art exhibit coinciding with the Spring Concert on April 5th at the Downey Theatre was a logical choice as a way for Pat to “plant the seeds” in order to make her Earth Day event an annual reality. Other members of the Board of Directors of the Symphonic Society agreed with Pat and are anxiously anticipating another successful union of “Art Exhibit” and “Downey Symphony Orchestra Concert.”
The list of artists will not be finalized until just before the event. However, confirmations have already come in from such local and respected artists as husband and wife Jorge and Carolina Estrada-Del Toro with their work featuring nature, animals, sculpture and abstract photography; Isabel Acosta – a clothing designer and surfer with concerns about our ocean’s water; Roy Anthony Shabla – well known abstract painter and poet who produced and performed “Babel” at the Stay Gallery; Karen Yee – an artist with museum quality work that was well received by past audiences who is creating another “master piece” for the occasion; Rocio Villalobos – a wonderful watercolorist; Polaris Castillo – a whimsical artist and film maker; and Don Lamkin who has painted a 36 x 36 inch acrylic on canvas titled “Many Hands Light Work” specifically for this exhibit. “I just wanted to show the signifigance that if everyone from all countries, cultures and races works together, we can make a big difference in the health and sustainability of our mother earth,” Lamkin said.
In their ongoing quest to find new and unique artists, Pat Gil and Eloisa Ball both discovered a wonderful student artist while judging the 3rd Annual Chalk Art Festival held recently at Warren High School. Viviana Herrera, a student at West Middle School in the sixth grade, has created an art piece entitled “What Is Life?” that fits perfectly with the theme of the “Home Sweet Earth” exhibit. Although drawn in chalk for the festival at Warren High School, Viviana has recreated her work in colored pencil for the exhibit at the theatre. Parents Luis Herrera and Maria Mendez couldn’t be happier about their daughter being asked to participate and are bringing a large number of family members to attend not only the art exhibit, but the Downey Symphony Orchestra concert too!
The concert, entitled “World Cup Classico,” begins at 8:00 PM and will be performed by the Downey Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sharon Lavery, Music Director. The doors to the lobby of the theatre will open at 7:00 PM for the “Home Sweet Earth” art exhibit and at 7:15 PM Sharon Lavery will talk, from the stage, about the music being perfomed that evening. This “mini lecture” (she is, after all, on the faculty at USC) is another “extra, at no additional cost” to the evening and has become a regular occurance at the concerts in the theatre. Come early to listen and learn how and why she selected the classical music from some of the countries that are involved in the World Cup tournament that will be held later this summer. Maestra Lavery will also interview Christopher Bartz, Soprano Saxophone soloist, who will be performing “Fantasia for Saxophone” by Villa Lobos of Brazil. The program also features music from Argentina, Mexico, Italy, Russia, and “The Downey Overture” composed as an ode to our own orchestra by Oscar Navarro of Spain and premiered here in 2011.
One more additional bonus to the evening also comes with no additonal cost. After the concert, everyone in attendance is invited to a complimentary reception with the artists from the “Home Sweet Earth” exhibit; the Downey Symphony Orchestra; the Downey Symphonic Society Board of Directors; Sharon Lavery, Music Director; and Christopher Bartz, Soprano Saxophone soloist. Cookies, punch and champagne will be served. Munch and mingle. Bring your camera and/or your cell phone. Take photographs of yourself with friends and members of the orchestra or an artist or even a willing member of the Board of Directors. Take home photographic memories of the evening or instanly post those photographs to Facebook and make your ”friends” that aren’t with you that evening wish they were there!
If you haven’t got them already, please don’t delay in obtaining your tickets for this fun-filled evening! They are available now through the Downey Theatre Box Office by phone (562) 861-8211, online at downeytheatre.org, or in person at 8435 Firestone Blvd.
Box office hours are Tuesday – Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking around the theatre is free in the Downey Civic Center.
For more information visit: downeysymphony.org.