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Mariposa Symphony Orchestra Spring Concerts

MARIPOSA – The Mariposa Symphony Orchestra is gearing up for a pair of spring concerts, the first at Mariposa High School’s Fiester Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Apr. 5, and then a 2 p.m. matinee concert on Sunday, Apr. 6, in the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.

Concerts will feature two soloists, including Central California’s premiere concert grand harpist, Laura Porter, and MSO’s longtime principal flute Sandra Stocking. Both will be featured in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra.

“It’s a remarkable piece, especially when you realize Mozart was only 22 when he composed it,” notes the MSO’s Founder/Conductor Les Marsden. The concert will mark the very first time the MSO has featured a concert grand harp – due to space limitations of the Fiester stage.

“This is one of the few concertante works for harp and a reduced-size orchestra, so most winds, brass and all percussion won’t be onstage during the Mozart. But we’ll have our hands full with change-over during intermission.”

The concert’s second half features the entire Mariposa Symphony Orchestra.

Laura Porter has held the position of Principal Harp with the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra for twenty-four years. She proudly maintains a living solely as a professional musician, with a schedule which includes private studio teaching and performing with orchestras and chamber music groups not only in Fresno but also in Bakersfield and Modesto as well as in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Sacramento.

Porter’s work includes free-lancing as a musician, playing for weddings, banquets and other private events, as well as business and social events of every type. She is the Founder of the Fresno Area Harp Circle, a group for adults who all play the harp. Her concert grand harp is a Camac Atlantide Prestige, made in France in 2007.

Sandra Stocking Principal Flute of the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra - photo courtesy MSOSandra Stocking has played flute for more than 35 years and has served as principal flute of the MSO for the past several. Notable teachers include Richard Trombley at the University of Oregon and Laurel Zucker at CSU Sacramento.

Stocking holds both Baccalaureate and Master’s Degrees in Music with emphases in education and performance. She is a member of the Sierra Chamber Players, a musical ensemble specializing in wedding events in the Yosemite region. She teaches middle school language arts and social studies in Merced and in her spare time, has a private studio where she teaches flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone and beginning piano. Mrs. Stocking also teaches and directs handbell choirs at Central Presbyterian Church in Merced.

The concert’s second half will continue with Franz Schubert’s 8th Symphony in B minor, the “Unfinished.” One of the most famous works of music, Schubert lived for another six years after completing only two movements, dying in 1828 at the age of 31. It’s not known why he never completed it, but he did finish at least one other symphony after this one – as well as leaving several other “unfinished” ones.

The Mariposa Symphony Orchestra – the Yosemite region’s very own orchestra – will conclude this concert with the world premiere of Marsden’s latest symphonic work Hope in a Time of Tragedy, a 20-minute symphonic poem honoring the 150th anniversary of the June 30, 1864 signing of the Yosemite Grant Act.

The piece will ultimately serve as the opening movement of Marsden’s planned four-part large-scale integral American Anniversaries symphonic cycle, with each movement premiering individually through 2016, and kicked off last October by the premiere of his Wilderness – Our Necessary Refuge to “unexpected, humbly-accepted positive approbation as we commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act,” stated Marsden.

The MSO’s Sunday, Apr. 6 matinee concert in the famed Ahwahnee Hotel is offered free of charge, on a first-come basis, in partnership with the generous cooperation of the National Park Service, Yosemite National Park and Superintendent Don Neubacher, Delaware North Resorts at Yosemite (President Dan Jensen) and the Ahwahnee Hotel (Manager Brett Archer.)

Tickets for the concert on Saturday, Apr. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Fiester Auditorium of Mariposa County High School are $6 for adults, $4 for students, and may be purchased from the Mariposa County Arts Council (209) 966-3155, and are also available from the Mariposa County Visitors Center (209) 966-7081 across from Miners Roadhouse at the north end of town.

Full concert information is available on the Mariposa County Arts Council’s website: http://tinyurl.com/MariposaSO. Further information may also be obtained by calling the Arts Council at (209) 966-3155 or by e-mailing MSO@sti.net

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