Category Archives: Community

James DePreist, 1936-2013

The Pasadena Symphony is saddened to learn about James DePreist’s sudden passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Ginette, his family, and his friends and colleagues.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we mourn the passing of our dear friend and Artistic Advisor James DePreist.  Maestro DePreist, or Jimmy as he preferred to be called, was not only a consummate musician and trailblazing conductor, but also the most thoughtful, loving and centered human being who touched us all so deeply”, states Paul Jan Zdunek, Chief Executive Officer of the Pasadena Symphony Association, “It is fitting that we remember his life and spirit this weekend with the previously scheduled Symphony No. 4 of Gustav Mahler which ends with an ethereal movement describing ‘The Heavenly Life.’”

During his time in Pasadena, he was beloved in our community and made an enormous impact with everyone he encountered as our Artistic Advisor. DePreist made an indelible impact with his vision and artistic guidance. He was a great friend and his work with orchestras around the world will leave an unforgettable legacy. His was a giant in American music and a true national treasure.

Paul Jan Zdunek, CEO – Pasadena Symphony Association
Diane Rankin, President – Pasadena Symphony Association

Pasadena Symphony Presents JPL Chorus in their First Winter Concert

Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory may be best known for its unparalleled scientific endeavors such as landing the Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars, but on Tuesday, December 18, another side of the organization will be on display. The JPL Chorus, founded earlier this year in a partnership with the Pasadena Symphony Association, presents its first annual Evening of Classic Christmas Music at 7:30pm in Monrovia’s Live Oak Vineyard Church.

“This is a group that is very dedicated and working extremely hard to make beautiful music,” explained Donald Brinegar, Director of Choruses with the Pasadena Symphony Association. “They are absolutely filled with the season’s cheer.”

The chorus is comprised of nearly fifty employees coming from a wide variety of roles within JPL, including scientists, engineers, administrators, software, business people, and more. They rehearse each Wednesday afternoon, trading lab coats for chorus folders. The JPL Chorus debuted in May, and performed over the summer with the Pasadena POPS in their highly-acclaimed summer concert series at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.

Sharing the stage with the JPL Chorus will be Pasadena City College’s Donald Brinegar Singers. The Donald Brinegar singers have recorded more than ten CDs and received nominations for seven GRAMMY first-ballot awards.

“As our colleagues at JPL must always be precision perfect as well as super-humanly creative, so are our musicians of the Pasadena Symphony and POPS, which makes for an exciting partnership in this city of Arts & Sciences,” noted Paul Jan Zdunek, Chief Executive Officer of the Pasadena Symphony Association.

The evening’s program includes holiday favorites, such as “Joy to the World,” “Lo How a Rose e’re Blooming,” and “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” among other carols. Two of the pieces were arranged by JPL engineers in the chorus: “What Child is This” by Todd Barber and “Love Be Ours” by William M. Owen. There will also be a sing-along section of the concert for the audience to participate.

“The audience is in for a real treat,” continued Brinegar. “There is so much enthusiasm and joyfulness coming from this group.”

Admission to the JPL Chorus Winter Concert is free and does not require reservations. A freewill offering will be taken with all donations will be given to the Monrovia Unity Center; suggested donation is $10. The concert will be held at Live Oak Vineyard Church in Monrovia on Tuesday, December 18 at 7:30pm. For additional information, contact the Pasadena Symphony Association at 626.793.7172 or online at PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org.

 

IF YOU GO:

  • What: Evening of Classic Christmas Music
  • Who: The Pasadena Symphony Association’s JPL Chorus
  • When: Tuesday, December 18 at 7:30pm
  • Where: Live Oak Vineyard Church | 1307 S Myrtle Ave, Monrovia
  • Cost: Free, but a freewill offering will be taken with all donations will be given to the Monrovia Unity Center; suggested donation is $10

Pasadena Symphony and Jet Propulsion Lab Partner to Create JPL Chorus

Pasadena is a city rich with the arts and sciences, and the new JPL Chorus is perhaps the perfect blend of both. Formed earlier this year in partnership between the Pasadena Symphony Association and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the JPL Chorus is comprised of JPL employees who rehearse weekly under the direction of Donald Brinegar, the Pasadena Symphony’s Director of Choruses. The JPL Chorus will debut in a free, public concert with the Pasadena City College Chamber Singers on May 5 at 7:30pm at Ambassador Auditorium.

The JPL Chorus is comprised of 53 employees who rehearse each Wednesday evening. Their concert program includes a mixture of classical repertoire to popular, with composers ranging from Benjamin Britten and Lennon/McCartney.

According to Stephen Kulczycki, Deputy Director of Communications and Education at JPL (and a member of the bass section), the idea for a chorus came about after talking with Pasadena Symphony CEO Paul Zdunek about how the two organizations might be able to partner.

“I suggested that we might get good participation if we tried a chorus, and Paul agreed,” explained Kulczycki. “We put out some test balloons, got about one hundred people to express some interest, and by the time we started rehearsing we had about fifty people regularly involved.”

The singers come from a wide variety of roles within JPL, including scientists, engineers, administrators, software, business people, and more. “The idea is to celebrate JPL with our group’s enthusiasm about music and singing. It’s been a lot of fun, and I think what Don brings to this particularly is a great sense of joy in the experience,” continued Kulczycki.

The JPL Chorus concert featuring the Pasadena City College Chamber Singers on May 5 at Ambassador Auditorium is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. For additional information about the Pasadena Symphony Association or for a full schedule of concerts, contact the Box Office at 626.793.7172 or visit www.PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org.

IF YOU GO:

  • What: JPL Chorus Concert
  • Who: JPL Chorus of the Pasadena Symphony Association and the Pasadena City College Chamber Singers, under the direction of Donald Brinegar (Pasadena Symphony Director of Choruses)
  • Where: Ambassador Auditorium; 131 St. John Ave, Pasadena, CA 91123
  • When: Saturday, May 5 | 7:30pm
  • Cost: Free