Free ‘Symphony in the Cities’ concert in Orange

Pacific Symphony performing at the Great Park.

Musco Center for the Arts and Pacific Symphony are teaming up to bring a free evening concert to the City of Orange on Saturday, Aug. 3. The performance on Chapman University’s Bette and Wylie Aitken Arts Plaza adds a fourth city and venue to the 15-year-old “Symphony in the Cities” program.

Beginning at 7pm, the full orchestra will perform a varied program under the baton of Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair, who was recently named a Chapman University Presidential Fellow. A pre-concert event, with free family activities and local music acts, will begin at 5:30 p.m. on the Aitken Arts Plaza in front of Musco Center.

“Our participation in this wonderful series is a big part of Musco Center’s pre-season thank you to the City of Orange and the broader Orange County community,” said Musco Center Executive Director Richard T. Bryant. “We are mindful that it is through the support of the community that Musco Center has emerged as one of the top university-based performing arts centers in the nation. And, as this marks a strengthening of our ties with Pacific Symphony, it is also a sign of our commitment to expand both through collaboration and programming.”

The Pacific Symphony concert also marks a significant leap forward in introducing the Aitken Arts Plaza to the general public. The large grass rectangle in front of Musco Center, which has been the site of the Annual Heartbeat of Mexico festival and other university activities, is named for Bette and Wylie Aitken, whose donation underwrote its creation. The Aitkens have long provided major financial support and institutional leadership for arts organizations across Orange County and the State of California. Wylie Aitken is Chairman of Chapman University’s Board of Trustees.

Beginning at 7pm, the full orchestra will perform a varied program under the baton of Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair, who was recently named a Chapman University Presidential Fellow. 

The Concert

The Pacific Symphony concert on Aug. 3 will be an upbeat program. After opening with a stirring performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the orchestra will turn up the tempo for John Philip Sousa’s joyous “Hands Across the Sea.” The evening will include a salute to our armed forces, two beautiful ballads from The Music Man – “Till There Was You” and “Goodnight My Someone” – and the music of Georges Bizet, before closing with Samuel Barber’s gorgeous “Adagio for Strings.” 

Carl St.Clair recently joined the faculty of Chapman University’s College of Performing Arts as he begins his 30th season leading Pacific Symphony. St.Clair is one of the longest?tenured conductors of a major American orchestra and has nurtured its commitment to building outstanding educational programs and innovative approaches to programming.

The pre-concert entertainment will include a performance by Triada and the Symphony’s Musical Playground featuring hands-on activities for kids such as instrument making, a drum circle, an instrument petting zoo and a chance to meet musicians. Plus, in each of the cities, children and their parents can enjoy the always-popular conducting clinic led by Maestro St.Clair himself. All children who participate in the clinic are then invited during the concert to join St.Clair in front of the stage and help him conduct “Hands Across the Sea.”

“I always look forward to the young conductors of the future who help me conduct during the concert—and so does everyone in the audience!” St.Clair said. “This concert experience is ideal for children, families and anyone who just wants a casual concert experience.” 

These concerts are free and no ticket is required. 

The other Symphony in the Cities concerts will be at Mission Viejo’s Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center on Saturday, July 27; Costa Mesa’s Reneé and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on Sunday, July 28; and Irvine’s Mike Ward Community Park on Sunday, August 4. 

For more information on all four Symphony in the Cities events visit


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