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Mariposa Symphony Orchestra Receives Major Grant

MARIPOSA –  The Mariposa County Arts Council Inc. (MCACI) has been announced as the recipient of a $33,341 California Arts Council (CAC) grant. The “Creative California Communities” grant was awarded to the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra (MSO), a program of MCACI.

The orchestra’s “American Anniversaries” project won the award, helping enable the MSO to present live concerts in Yosemite National Park’s numerous gateway county communities in the spring of 2016. Recognized for its key role in economic development by the CAC, the MSO was founded in 2002 and has built an increasingly large following in the ensuing years.

While serving a large home base of Mariposa County residents, audience surveys show the orchestra draws growing numbers of out-of-county, state and even international attendees. The spring of 2016 concerts are designed to further increase burgeoning regional audience capacity and the local economic base by establishing regional “buy-in” pride for the MSO, which Founding Music Director/Conductor Les Marsden describes as “the orchestra of the entire Yosemite Region.”

Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher and Les Marsden, Ahwahnee Hotel MSO concert, April 26, 2015 - photo by Michael McLane“American Anniversaries” is a large-scale cycle of four symphonic poems composed by Marsden. The works honor and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act (2014,) 150th Anniversary of the 1864 Yosemite Grant Act (2014,) 125th Anniversary of Yosemite National Park (2015) and the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service.

The first three movements have already individually premiered in MSO concerts in Mariposa and Yosemite during 2013-2015. The entire concert-length cycle will premiere as an integral symphonic work when the National Park Service movement debuts in the spring of 2016.

“American Anniversaries” has already drawn international focus to Mariposa, believed to be the smallest town in America with its own symphony orchestra. The project is an official partner of the National Park Service commemorations for all four anniversaries.

The Creative California Communities grant “supports large-scale collaborative projects that harness arts and culture as a key economic and/or community development strategy. The thirty funded projects will benefit residents and visitors in California’s communities by leveraging the assets of the creative sector, which includes artists, cultural organizations and arts-related businesses” (California Arts Council’s website.)

The Mariposa County Arts Council’s grant is the only one awarded to a California symphony orchestra among the 30 recipients, with most grants going to organizations in Southern California or the Bay area.

The Arts Council grant was written by MCACI Executive Director Cara Goger and the MCACI Board of Directors is grateful for the partnership of the Economic Development Corporation of Mariposa County, the Mariposa County Tourism Bureau and the multi-county Yosemite Gateway Partners organization.

A list of 2015’s 30 recipient projects may be downloaded at http://arts.ca.gov/programs/files/CAC-CCC-2014-15Grantees.pdf.

For further inquiries, please contact the Mariposa County Arts Council at (209) 966-3155 or the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra at MSO@sti.net

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