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Santa Barbara Music & Arts Conservatory Launches 2011-12 Season

Ernest Richardson named music director and principal conductor of the Virtuosi String Orchestras; participant auditions set for Saturday

The Santa Barbara Music & Arts Conservatory, home of the community’s first and foremost youth fine arts organization, is pleased to announce the launch of its 2011-12 season.

Ernest Richardson, resident conductor of the Omaha Symphony and music director of the Steamboat Springs Orchestra, has been named the music director and principal conductor of the SBMAC Virtuosi String Orchestras.

“SBMAC offers a rich environment with the highest quality of instruction and a wide variety of opportunities,” said Artistic Director Nina Bodnar, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed violinist and Santa Barbara native. “The quality of attention and care given to each student is what continues to inspire me most deeply. Our faculty and administration are all dedicated to honoring each student’s unique qualities in addition to helping them achieve their highest potential. Along these lines, we are extremely happy to announce Ernest Richardson as our new music director and principal conductor. His work with our students in past years, and most recently at our summer Music and Arts by the Sea festival, has been phenomenal in every way. We are looking forward to a great year.

“The SBMAC program emphasizes the bond and camaraderie that takes place between younger and older students. They love to practice and perform together. The teens serve as role models and a source of inspiration; the little ones look up to them. These remarkable young people go on to give back to the community by using their musical talents gained through Conservatory study to reach out. They perform for their peers, at Cottage Hospital, senior communities like Maravilla and Casa Dorinda, and participate in concerts to raise money for charitable causes. Our graduates go on to colleges, universities or conservatories, and many are now successful musicians, artists and professionals.”

The Santa Barbara Music & Arts Conservatory is a special place where children and teenagers gather on Saturdays to pursue their love for music, choir, poetry, theater, visual arts and publications.  Creativity is embraced through artistic mentoring, professionalism, teamwork and discipline. SBMAC is where great friendships are made; a place where kids can experience the joy and fun of being part of a culture that is “classic cool.”

Other key factors unique to SBMAC include a faculty consisting of Santa Barbara’s best and brightest fine arts educators. Some have consistently taught students since SBMAC’s inception more than two decades ago. Students receive mentoring support from music industry professionals such as local jazz legend Ike Jenkins, John Sant’Ambrogio, author and former principal cellist with the Saint Louis Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony maestro Nir Kabaretti and Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz. The strong curriculum and nurturing environment affords high school students with the opportunity to receive credit for independent study as well as community service credit hours.

SBMAC Junior and Senior Virtuosi Orchestra auditions will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 20, on the campus of Girls Inc. at 4973 Hollister Ave. in Goleta. Current and new students should call 805.751.6227 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to schedule an audition appointment. All classes for participants ages 5 to 19 begin Sept. 10, followed by an open house on Sept. 17. All concerts (with the exception of the Young Soloists Showcase on May 6, 2012) are free and open to the public.

The Santa Barbara Music & Arts Conservatory, established in 1989 by founding director Lana Bodnar, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering full growth and creativity in our youth, the pursuit of excellence in a safe environment, and the celebration of artistic tradition as an expression of our humanity. The organization receives in-kind support from the The Granada, Maravilla and SBCC.

For more information about the organization, enrollment, string ensembles, concert schedule updates and ways to help, contact program director Cathy Oliverio at 805.680.2548 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), email mailto:[email protected], or click here.

— Sarah Ettman-Sterner is a public relations director for the Santa Barbara Music & Arts Conservatory.

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