MARIPOSA — The Mariposa Symphony Orchestra will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service with seven performances of a world-premiere piece. The special program will be presented by the orchestra in concerts in five counties in April, May and August of 2016.
The program is MSO Founder and Conductor Les Marsden’s own work “Our Nation’s Nature,” an orchestral cycle of four large-scale symphonic works marking four outdoors-related anniversaries 2014-2016.
The project was awarded a California Arts Council Creative California Communities Grant to help fund the orchestra’s tour of the Yosemite Gateway counties of Madera, Merced, Tuolumne and Mono in addition to performances in Mariposa County including Yosemite National Park:
Saturday, April 23 at 7 p.m.: The Fiester Auditorium, Mariposa County High School
Sunday, April 24 at 2 p.m.: The Majestic Yosemite (Ahwahnee) Hotel, Yosemite National Park
Saturday, April 30 at 7 p.m.: Sierra Vista Church, Oakhurst
Saturday, May 7 at 7 p.m.: Merced College Theatre
Saturday, May 14 at 7 p.m.: Sonora High School Auditorium
Saturday, August 20 at 7 p.m.: Mammoth Lakes Middle School
Sunday, August 21 at dusk: a special final performance, location TBA
Marsden, who was named a National Park Service Centennial Ambassador in 2015, conceived the idea of a large-scale musical project uniting the Yosemite Gateway Counties in 2012.
Three of the four individual movements comprising “Our Nation’s Nature” have individually premiered in their pertinent years in Mariposa and Yosemite National Park: “Wilderness: Our Necessary Refuge” commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act; “Hope in a Time of Tragedy,” which marked the 150th Anniversary of the 1864 signing of the Yosemite Grant Act and last year’s “Yosemite!” in observation of that park’s 125th birthday.
The upcoming concert tour will premiere the fourth commemorative movement “Guardians of Magic, Stewards of Wonder” celebrating the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service, as well as the first performances of the entire integral cycle, all dedicated to the NPS’s Anniversary year. The multi-county tour is an official event of the 2016 NPS celebrations.
The project commemorates history while making history. It’s the first known instance in which a symphony orchestra of the Yosemite area has actually toured the region, performing in large towns and remote locations.
The orchestra was founded by Marsden is 2002 and is comprised of musicians from Mariposa, Merced, Fresno, Madera, Kings, San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties. For this special concert tour, the MSO has added a musician from the Sierra’s East Side (Inyo County) in a unique manner. She is rehearsing via Skype but will perform in person in the violin section.
The MSO’s usual members include present and past rangers and other NPS personnel as well as retired and active music professionals from throughout the region. Mariposa is considered the smallest town in America with a symphony orchestra.
The Mariposa Symphony Orchestra is a program of the Mariposa County Arts Council, Inc. Full concert details and tickets are available at the MSO’s website http://tinyurl.com/MariposaSO