Susanville Symphony backers want music program at LCC
Lassen County Arts Council President Matt Mullin gave a history of music performance in Lassen County over the past 25 years.
He said music programs at local schools have been developing and improving over the past couple of decades. All that growth is now “pushing against the college.”
Susanville Symphony President Diana Hershe said she’s lived in Lassen County for 31 years and is a 1982 graduate of LCC.
She said she remembers the old days when performances by the likes of Jim Kreskin and James Whitmore would fill the gym.
Sadly, she said when she came to Susanville she had to give up the violin because there were no string programs in the schools or in the community. She said she was heartbroken to have to give up her instrument.
Then 22 years later she started playing again, taking lessons and joined the symphony.
Master teachers come to town to teach master classes. The youth symphony now has 60 participants and soon will have to split into two because its size has become difficult.
She said many people involved with the symphony have “a lot of ideas of how we can partner with the college … We’re here to help support the community because the community supports us. It’s not too late to hitch the wagons together and pull in the same direction, but having the right people is a very important point.”
The item was put on the LCC board’s agenda as a discussion item at the request of Trustee Robert Hill. The board took no action.
LCC President Dr. Homer Cissell said the college was willing to entertain a music program at the college if there was enough community support.
If a music program at the college could be as popular and successful as the Susanville Symphony, Cissell said, “We’d have a home run on our hands.”
He said the board needed to see the bigger picture and wanted to hear more from the community.
Hill said Susanville Symphony has grown tremendously, the performances are all sell-outs and he wonders why the college and the symphony couldn’t be tied together.
“Why not get college credit for symphony performances?” Hill asked.
LCC’s Dean of Instruction, Dr. Karen Grosz, said the college’s program listed seven courses, but she didn’t know how those particular courses would fit with the symphony.
But she added, “I think we should have been a partner right from the beginning. That’s our mistake.”
Trustee Sophia Wages said, “We need to make a commitment and the community needs to make a commitment” in order for any partnership to succeed.
Trustee Doc Blevins said he’d like to see a partnership between the college and the symphony that was advantageous to both groups.
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