The Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden played host to hundreds of classical music and opera fans during the West Coast Symphony’s 46th Annual Free Fiesta Concert on Sunday afternoon, officially ending five days of Old Spanish Days Fiesta fun and festivities.
The program opened with the Cielo Foundation For Performing Arts dedicating the concert to recently deceased Jeni Reiko McCoy. The symphony then began to perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s popular “Impresario Overture” as families and friends filed onto the courthouse lawn with umbrellas, beach towels and chairs in tow.
Guest conductor Michael Shasberger of Westmont College took center stage after the opening number, expressing his great joy in leading the symphony during the next four musical performances, particularly those from Georges Bizet’s famous opera Carmen.
“We thought we’d end Fiesta today with a wonderful rousing number that shares a little bit of Spanish flavor for all of you to enjoy,” Shasberger said.
Two opera singers — soprano Celeste Tavera and baritone Emil Cristescu — added resounding vocals to the symphony’s concert performance, and both received great applause from the audience afterward.
The West Coast Ballet, as well as the Junior and Senior Spirits of Fiesta, entertained the audience members during intermission with their final Spanish folklórico dance performances of Fiesta. César Franck’s masterpiece, “Symphony in D Minor,” conducted by music director Christopher Story VI, was the final musical number performed by the West Coast Symphony, officially bringing down the curtain on the 2012 Old Spanish Days Fiesta on a sweet musical note.