In July 1987, Monroe DeJarnette, musician and Auburn resident, met with Bruce Cosgrove, executive director of the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce, to discuss a proposal to form a Community Orchestra under the auspices of the Auburn Chamber.
After a series of meetings, a steering committee was formed to develop an orchestra. The committee received Charter Committee status in September 1987 from the Chamber Board of Directors. This committee served through May 1990. On June 1, 1990, the first Symphony Board was elected.
The Steering Committee interviewed for conductors in December 1987, one month prior to the start of rehearsals. Clyde Quick, formerly a Placer High School music teacher, was selected to conduct the new orchestra of 30 members.
The concert premier, entitled The Birth of an Orchestra, took place in the Placer High School Auditorium on May 20, 1988, after a year of preparation. In the following season, attendance increased enough to warrant two concerts. The 1988-1989 season hosted two concerts.
Beginning with the 1989-1990 season, the orchestra performed three concerts plus a Messiah Sing-along. In addition, a young artist sponsored by the Guild often appeared at the spring concert. The Auburn Symphony Guild was formed in the fall of 1988. Its function as a support group provided the fledgling symphony with ushers, refreshments, publicity, a young artist competition, and financial support.
Michael Goodwin was appointed Artistic Director and Conductor in 1995 and served in that capacity until his death in February of 2012. Under his leadership, orchestra membership has grown to nearly 70 musicians, and increased attendance at the concerts prompted the symphony to present each subscription concert twice. The level of the orchestra’s musicianship rose steadily under maestro Goodwin’s direction. Maestro Goodwin celebrated his 10th season with the symphony by leading the orchestra’s historic first performance at the new Mondavi Center at UC Davis.
The Auburn Symphony season has grown to include three subscription series concerts (each program performed twice), an annual Messiah Sing-along, an annual Family Concert, an annual free Symphony in the Park concert in Auburn, and a performance at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in Davis. Symphony in the Schools reached 14 schools and 6,000 children this past season and the Young Artists Competition is held annually, with top competitors and winners are often invited to play with the Auburn Symphony.
In this 32nd season, the Auburn Symphony has been recognized as one of the best community orchestras in the nation. Guest conductors and guest artists alike continue to marvel at the quality of this orchestra, the result of dedicated, accomplished, musicians who volunteer their time, dynamic program selections and the extraordinary conducting and leadership of Maestro Goodwin and our current Maestro and Artistic Director, Peter Jaffe.
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