Chandler Symphony Orchestra opens doors to diversity - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler Symphony Orchestra opens doors to diversity

September 23rd, 2017 development
Chandler Symphony Orchestra opens doors to diversity

By RENÉ LOPEZ, Guest Writer

Happy 25th birthday, Chandler Symphony Orchestra! Since 1993, Chandler has been blessed with the musical sounds of its very own orchestra.

Maestro Jack Herriman founded and has conducted the orchestra since the very beginning. He had a vision to create opportunities for all ages to enjoy classical music through free concerts. After all these years, the growth of this organization is a true testament to Herriman’s dedication to the arts and the members of the community.

Chandler Center for the Arts is home to several of the group’s performances. In addition to the city of Chandler’s partnership, community involvement is very important to the orchestra’s success. Every concert is free; however, a donation at the door always is appreciated. There are several opportunities to be involved, including volunteering at performances, sponsoring a musician or concert, making corporate or individual donations and advertising in the orchestra’s annual program. All donations are used to help buy and rent music, venues, refreshments for the musicians and minimal administrative needs.

The orchestra comprises 90 professionally trained musicians who dedicate countless hours volunteering their time to rehearsals and performances. Several of them have been involved for many years, including a violinist who is 90 years old and substitutes as a music teacher. Music really is timeless! Although the musicians are volunteers, quality is very important. Anyone who is interested in becoming a member is encouraged to audition.

Music and art open the doors to diversity and cultural experiences. They are very enjoyable and allow the mind to be creative. Studies show a direct impact between those exposed to the arts and their developmental growth, both in the classroom and in life. The Chandler Center for the Arts provides wonderful programs for the youth. Programs offered include musical theater camps and workshops. For more information, visit

The fall concert series began on Sept. 8 and runs through Jan. 28. This season is special because the orchestra is celebrating 25 years of providing quality symphonic and orchestral music to the community. The orchestra will be providing audiences an even more personal experience. Two of the musicians volunteered to compose pieces for this season. Charles Liu composed “Chandler Festival Overture,” which will be performed at the Nov. 12 performance. David McConaughey composed “Marche Militaire” and that will be featured at the Jan. 28 performance.

Two extraordinary events are planned this season. The First Annual Star Wars Fan Fest is taking place 2:30-8 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the Downtown Stage in Chandler. It is a free family-friendly event that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) and will provide families with hands-on opportunities to learn about science, literacy, arts and music. Orbital ATK will launch a scaled model of its Antares rocket and the orchestra will perform various John Williams selections from “Star Wars” at 6:30 p.m. Attendees also are encouraged to come in costumes and participate in the “Star Wars” costume contest. The event will conclude with a fireworks show. For more information on the event, and to learn how to be involved, visit

On Feb. 17, the Gala Silver Anniversary Celebration Dinner will be hosted at the Oakwood Golf Club in Sun Lakes at 5 p.m. Tickets are $80, which covers the price of dinner and includes an opportunity to be seated with one of the conductors or musicians. A silent auction fundraiser also will take place, and many nice items have already been donated. For more information on the dinner and to learn how to get involved, visit

I encourage everyone to experience the Chandler Symphony Orchestra. Hearing music played live is life changing. It can create an emotional connection or bring back childhood memories. There are several opportunities to learn and become a part of the arts and culture community. This year is definitely a time to celebrate the music. Grab your family and friends and come out and play!

– René Lopez is a Chandler City Councilmember.