Dr. Jacob Sustaita, Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles, Family Musical Mornings, and More!

Fall is my favorite time of the year. Yes, I celebrate my birthday at the end of September, but more than that, fall marks the beginning of a new symphony season, a new school year, and the return of our youth ensembles! There is nothing more exhilarating then hearing the first sounds of a youth ensemble playing together at the start of a new season. There is familiarity among the returning musicians, but there is also a sense of the unknown and wonderment. As the summer ends, and the first rehearsal of the new season grows near, I find myself asking questions like, “what will this year’s orchestra sound like and be like? What goals will I set for the year? What will be our biggest challenge?”

It takes about twenty seconds of playing before all my questions are answered and a million other thoughts and questions enter my mind. There is something very meaningful and joyful when I am with Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra (PSYO). The connection I have with the students go far beyond the incredible music-making and energetic spirit that we share. When I look out from the podium and see so much talent and potential, it almost takes my breath away knowing what an honor it is to serve as their music director. It really is a dream come true.

The more I reflect on being a part of Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles (PSYE), the more I am thankful and proud of being a part of the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) when I was in high school. I have the most vivid and specific memories of countless moments in the years I spent in YOSA that shaped my life as a man and musician. From the excitement and stress of that first audition to get accepted to the tour we had in Australia, it was my time in youth orchestra that showed me that I wasn’t alone in my passion and obsession with classical music, and those years, concerts, tours, and rehearsals–I can’t imagine my life without every one of those moments.

My experiences in YOSA helped me to realize that my life would always be about music and sharing music with others. Now, there were many other great musical moments in my life as I grew up but being a part of an ensemble that challenged me and taught me about responsibility and ownership as an artist was the greatest gift for me.

I ask myself from time to time – what is it that a youth ensemble can provide? Why would a young musician want to be a part of a youth ensemble? The answers are always the same. A youth ensemble brings young people together from a larger area than any school has the capacity to make happen. A youth ensemble is a platform for a young person to make a commitment to their peers to be the best artist and collaborator possible.

Watching an orchestra or wind ensemble grow and connect with each other over a season is unbelievable. As a music director, I invite each of them to work hard, pay close attention to each other, problem solve as a section, and to always be creating an environment that is safe and fosters greatness. It is more than just teamwork and improving our skill set. Being in a youth ensemble is about coming together to be stronger and more creative as musicians, artists, and people. Through the difficulties of playing ones instrument in a world-class ensemble and being willing to challenge yourself to work toward a common goal, it is clear that youth ensembles builds more resilient leaders for the future.

As Assistant Conductor with Pacific Symphony, I work closely with Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St. Clair and the symphony’s outstanding musicians, staff, and administrators on designing and presenting our Family Musical Mornings Series sponsored by Farmers and Merchants Bank. This is a five-concert series every season that focuses on our young audience members and families coming to enjoy the symphony in a concert made just for them.

I love our planning session. We have the best time brainstorming and bouncing ideas off each other. I am particularly impressed with the willingness and support of trying innovative ideas and platforms. I said it before, but I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am to be the one to conduct these concerts, and I often get to be a part of the narrative aspect of our concerts.

If you haven’t seen one of our Family Musical Mornings, you are all in luck. Our next performance is one of my all-time favorites! Saturday, December 3, 2022–Nutcracker for Kids! As with all of our Family concerts, we perform twice on Saturday mornings–10 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

Nutcracker for Kids! 2021. Photo by Stan Sholik.

There is so much that we offer at Pacific Symphony–concerts for young people, concerts built for school music programs, concerts for families, and don’t forget about our events and lobby activities before the 10:00 a.m. concert and after the 11:30 a.m. concert. Our gift to our community is music. We have something for everyone in Orange County, and I hope to meet more and more of you at our concerts. Check out our website for up-to-date information and for tickets. Also, find us on Facebook and Instagram to stay connected with us and see some behind-the-scenes footage.

A Message from W. Henry Walker, President of Farmers & Merchants Bank: Welcome Back to Family Musical Mornings!


Farmers & Merchants Bank president W. Henry Walker presenting a gift to Pacific Symphony in 2019.

I am very blessed to have the opportunity to welcome you back to the start of the 2022-23 season of Family Musical Mornings! This 5-concert series includes a wide variety of music for young people: opening with a special Halloween concert and followed by everyone’s holiday favorite,

“The Nutcracker.” The series continues with music from the great outdoors, special moments from Disney films, and finishing up with a mini-opera especially for kids.

As fourth-generation President at Farmers & Merchants Bank, I am proud to serve on the Board of Directors of Pacific Symphony and I believe music education at a young age helps to establish the cultural tone for future generations. In addition, F&M Bank is pleased to serve as the Presenting Sponsor of Pacific Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings series for the 18th season.

Founded in 1907 by C.J. Walker, F&M Bank provides white-glove banking service to clients at 25 branches throughout Southern California, including 13 in Orange County, and is poised for even more growth in the months ahead. Branches, handshakes, and values are just some of the traditions you will find at F&M Bank coupled with our cutting-edge technology.

Giving back to the communities we are honored to serve has been part of the F&M Bank business model since the beginning. Founded on the principles of honesty, integrity, the home, the Church, and service above self, the Bank upholds C.J.’s philanthropic spirit, regularly supporting organizations in the areas of human services, faith, education, healthcare and the arts. F&M’s philanthropic contributions have come in many forms, including in-kind donations for charity events, employee volunteer efforts, recognition and grant programs for organizations and individuals, and critical banking services that allow nonprofits to serve their missions. In addition, the Farmers & Merchants Bank Foundation was created in 2012 as a separate 501(c)3 organization to further enhance the legacy of philanthropic community support established by C.J. Walker.

Regardless of economic climate, F&M has remained unwavering in its commitment to the arts. Speaking for everyone at the F&M Family, we warmly welcome you all back to the Pacific Symphony!

Farmers & Merchants Bank

Sponsor Spotlight

Pacific Symphony gratefully acknowledges Farmers & Merchants Bank for its strong support as the presenting sponsor of the Family Musical Mornings series for nearly two decades, dating back to 2004. Pacific Symphony’s President and CEO John Forsyte commented, “We are proud to be in partnership with Farmers & Merchants Bank, and we are deeply grateful for their past support and continuing commitment. Pacific Symphony can continue music education and family programming only because of wonderful investors like Farmers & Merchants.”

Forsyte continued, “Pacific Symphony is fortunate that Henry Walker and the Walker Family have been so dedicated to improving the quality of life for the region. Henry serves on the Symphony Board of Directors and has been a strong advocate family support and engagement.”

The Family Music Mornings series includes 45-minute, kid-friendly concerts that engage and entertain young audiences, setting them on the path to a lifelong love of music. The series comprises five Saturday morning programs, with two performances each day at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. 

Tailored for children and their families, each program explores a different theme and is designed to be interactive, engaging and participatory. Pacific Symphony, led by Dr. Jacob Sustaita, Assistant Conductor (and Music Director for the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra), is joined by singers, actors and dancers to take audiences on a musical journey through the secrets and inner workings of the orchestra with a captivating, multimedia format. 

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!


Here is the lineup for the 2022-23 Family Musical Mornings series presented by

THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE 

Learn about the magical, mystical powers of the orchestra through the eyes of a wizard’s young apprentice. You’ll hear selections from A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and even Harry Potter. Don’t forget to wear your Halloween costume! Oct. 22, 2022

NUTCRACKER FOR KIDS! 

Festival Ballet Theatre – Salwa Rizkalla, Artistic Director 
Visions of sugarplums and ballerinas will dance in your head after seeing Tchaikovsky’s Christmas ballet, performed in a condensed version just for kids. This annual favorite finishes with a jolly visit from Santa Claus himself! Dec. 3, 2022

GREAT MUSIC IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS 

Experience the sweeping sounds of the great outdoors brought to life in the concert hall when Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra joins forces with Pacific Symphony for this side-by-side performance. You’ll hear the sound of swirling waters and majestic scenes from nature as painted by the musical pen of famous composers. Feb. 25, 2023

WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS,
A DECADE IN CONCERT
 

Celebrating iconic musical moments from favorite films released over the last decade, this melodic journey explores Disney Animation’s latest stories through unforgettable film clips and scores performed live by a symphony orchestra. This thrilling performance includes music from Moana (2016), Academy Award-winning Frozen (2013), Academy Award-winning Big Hero 6 (2014) and Tangled (2010). Come dressed as your favorite Disney character! March 18, 2023

HANSEL & GRETEL—OPERA FOR KIDS! 

This fairytale adventure tells the story of two hungry children lost in an enchanted forest, an inviting gingerbread house and a wicked witch. This kid-friendly production features spoken narration and acting, as well as the most charming and catchy tunes from the original opera, sung by talented opera singers. June 3, 2023

What’s Happening Next Month: June 2022

The 2021-22 Season officially comes to a close this month. Thank you for joining us this season. We have loved sharing live experiences with you again. All performances will take place at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA this month. Here’s what’s going on. Until we meet again.

BLOCKBUSTER BROADWAY! • June 3-4 at 8 p.m. PDT

This was vocalist Chelle Denton’s video submission for Scott Coulter’s Give My Regards… A Competition Like No Other in 2020. Denton won the competition in 2021. You can read more about it here.

It’s a show-tune song and dance extravaganza! Celebrate The Phantom of the OperaLes Misérables, The Lion King, Waitress, West Side Story, Wicked, Carol King’s Beautiful and more in one thrilling, crowd-pleasing performance. The only thing better than spending an evening at a hit Broadway show is spending an evening with ALL of them. Jessica Hendy, Chelle Denton, Joshua Israel, Scott Coulter and John Boswell will join us in the second half.

Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman.

To learn more about the show, please click here.

CINDERELLA – OPERA FOR KIDS! • June 4, 2022 at 10 & 11:30 a.m. PDT

This enchanting rags-to-riches fairy-tale opera adapts Rossini’s sparkling work especially for young audiences. From start to finish, you’ll be swept away by show-stopping vocal fireworks, toe-tapping tunes, high-spirited comedy and colorful costumes — all leading up to a happily-ever-after grand finale!

Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Assistant Conductor Dr. Jacob Sustaita. This concert was rescheduled from Jan. 29 to June 4.

LOBBY ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
Join us before the 10 a.m. concert (starting at 9 a.m.) or after the 11:30 concert (starting at 12:15 p.m.) for fun activities in the concert hall lobbies, related to the theme of the opera and exploring the Cinderella story from around the world.

To learn more about the show, please click here.

BEETHOVEN’S PIANO CONCERTOS • June 9-11, 2022 at 8 p.m. PDT

Before concert cancellations began all across the arts world, Alexander Romanovsky was set to play the first of four incredible Beethoven-only programs in March 2020. Here he is performing the Cadenza of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. This very special all-Beethoven weekend will finally take place this month.

An all-Beethoven weekend – in celebration of the iconic composer’s 251th birthday – featuring all five piano concertos with the lavishly talented Alexander Romanovsky. A weekend two years in the making.

Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. PDT. The preview talk with Dr. Jacob Sustaita starts at 7 p.m. PDT. You can also listen to the podcast by Classical California KUSC’s Alan Chapman here.

To learn more about the show, please click here.

BEETHOVEN’S EMPEROR CONCERTO • June 12, 2022 at 3 p.m. PDT

Pianist Alexander Romanovsky. Photo by Daniil Rabovsky.

Pianist Alexander Romanovsky returns to the stage with one of Beethoven’s most beloved works—his Fifth Piano Concerto, “Emperor.” From sheer beauty to dazzling grandeur, the “Emperor” requires extreme virtuosity from its soloist, making it an ideal centerpiece in the hands of the talented Romanovsky.

Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair. There will be no preview talk for this matinee performance. The concert will be performed without intermission.

To learn more about show, please click here.

MOZART & MAHLER • June 23-25, 2022 at 8 p.m. PDT

Awe is the only adjective to describe twin piano phenoms, Christina Naughton and Michelle Naughton; watch as they take Mozart’s rarely performed Concerto for Two Pianos to the stage. On the second half, Mahler’s popular Symphony No. 4 evokes memories of youthful innocence and rustic German countryside. We’re also excited to welcome the return of Soprano Cecilia Violetta López in the second half during Mahler’s Symphony No. 4.

Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. PDT.
The preview talk with Dr. Jacob Sustaita starts at 7 p.m. PDT. You can also listen to the podcast by Classical California KUSC’s Alan Chapman here. This program was originally scheduled for Jan. 6-8, 2022.

To learn more about the show, please click here.

MAHLER’S SYMPHONY NO. 4 • June 26, 2022 at 3 p.m. PDT

Composer Gustav Mahler.

Inspired by a Bavarian folk poem and a song he wrote, Gustav Mahler’s fourth symphony is an exploration of the idea of heaven from the perspective of a child. Come experience the sunniest of all his symphonies.

PRE-CONCERT MUSIC IN THE LOBBY
Chelsea Chaves (soprano) and Dr. Cheryl Lin Fielding (piano) will be performing songs by Gustav Mahler from 2:30-2:50 p.m. His love of vocal music led him to incorporate it into some of his greatest works, including his Symphony No. 4.

Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair. Doors open at 2 p.m. PDT. There is no preview talk for this concert. The concert will be performed without intermission. This program was originally scheduled for Jan. 9.

To learn more about the show, please click here.

What show(s) are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments below! Have a great summer, everyone.

Pacific Symphony Announces 2022-23 Family Musical Mornings Series Presented By Farmers & Merchants Bank

Pacific Symphony today announced the 2022-23 Family Musical Mornings series presented by Farmers & Merchants Bank. The series includes 45-minute, kid-friendly concerts that engage and entertain young audiences, setting them on the path to a lifelong love of music. The Family Musical Mornings series comprises ten Saturday morning concerts, consisting of five programs with two performances each day at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Tailored for children and their families, each program explores a different theme and is designed to be interactive, engaging and participatory. Pacific Symphony, led by Dr. Jacob Sustaita, Assistant Conductor (and Music Director for the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra), is joined by singers, actors and dancers to take audiences on a musical journey through the secrets and inner workings of the orchestra with a captivating, multimedia format.

The Symphony gratefully acknowledges Farmers & Merchants Bank for its strong support as the presenting sponsor of the Family Musical Mornings series. Pacific Symphony’s President and CEO John Forsyte commented, “We are proud to be in partnership with Farmers & Merchants Bank, and we are deeply grateful for their past support and continuing commitment. Pacific Symphony can continue music education and family programming only because of wonderful investors like Farmers & Merchants.”

Tickets go on sale beginning May 2 and are priced starting at just $60 for five magical musical experiences. Subscriptions can be purchased by calling the Symphony Box Office at (714) 755-5799, going online at PacificSymphony.org or by mailing Pacific Symphony at 17620 Fitch, Suite 100, Irvine, CA 92614.

2022-23 FAMILY MUSICAL MORNINGS SERIES

THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE
Oct. 22 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Learn about the magical, mystical powers of the orchestra through the eyes of a wizard’s young apprentice. You’ll hear selections from A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and even Harry Potter. Don’t forget to wear your Halloween costume!

NUTCRACKER FOR KIDS!
Dec. 3 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Festival Ballet Theatre – Salwa Rizkalla, Artistic Director

Visions of sugarplums and beautiful ballerinas will dance in your head after seeing Tchaikovsky’s delightful Christmas ballet, performed in a condensed version created just for kids. This annual favorite finishes with a jolly visit from Santa Claus himself!

GREAT MUSIC IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Feb. 22, 2023 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Experience the sweeping sounds of the great outdoors brought to life in the concert hall when Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra joins forces with Pacific Symphony for this side-by-side performance. You’ll hear the sound of swirling waters and majestic scenes from nature as painted by the musical pen of famous composers.

WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS, A DECADE IN CONCERT
Mar. 18, 2023 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Celebrating iconic musical moments from favorite films released over the last decade, this melodic journey explores Disney Animation’s latest stories through unforgettable film clips and scores performed live by a symphony orchestra. This thrilling performance includes music from Moana (2016), Academy Award-winning Frozen (2013), Academy Award-winning Big Hero 6 (2014) and Tangled (2010). Come dressed as your favorite Disney character!

HANSEL & GRETEL—OPERA FOR KIDS!
Jun. 3, 2023 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

This fairytale adventure tells the story of two hungry children lost in an enchanted forest, an inviting gingerbread house and a wicked witch. This kid-friendly production features spoken narration and acting, as well as the most charming and catchy tunes from the original opera, sung by talented opera singers.

All programs and artists subject to change.