Pacific Symphony Musicians: Integral To The Cultural Landscape cover

Pacific Symphony Musicians: Integral To The Cultural Landscape


Pacific Symphony musicians recognize the value of being out in and a part of the Orange County community. Whether they are performing or hanging out, they enjoy the beauty and diversity of Orange County.
Here you'll meet Paul Zibits, horn player, Jeanne Skrocki, the Symphony’s assistant concertmaster, and Paul Zibits, who plays double-bass.
This is Part 3 of the Program Notes for April 7 - 9.
Meet the Artists here.
To learn more about Music Director Carl St.Clair, click here.

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Pacific Symphony Musicians: Integral To The Cultural Landscape

Love Of The Outdoors

“I love being outdoors!” enthuses Keith Popejoy, horn player for Pacific Symphony and one of three musicians to meet at the Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim for this program’s cover photo shoot.

“I go hiking in the mountains at least twice a week.”

“I absolutely loved the location for our photo shoot!” says Jeanne Skrocki, the Symphony’s assistant concertmaster. “It was such a beautiful setting. The oak trees created an unusual and interesting backdrop. It was a sunny Southern California day and such a peaceful place to enjoy with my colleagues! Paul and Keith were a lot of fun—they both have a great sense of humor and we had a good time together.”

Beauty And Diversity

Beauty And Diversity

“I enjoyed the setting in nature,”

concurs Paul Zibits, who plays double-bass, then adds with a chuckle, “but didn’t quite enjoy having to schlepp my bass through the woods.”

Pacific Symphony musicians recognize the value of being out in and a part of the Orange County community. Whether they are performing or hanging out, they enjoy the beauty and diversity of Orange County.

Real Normal People

“It’s important for everyone to realize that we are real, normal people doing everyday things in the community,” says Jeanne.

“It should be inspiring for young people to see us and realize it’s possible to come from all sorts of backgrounds and have a career playing music. Some of my favorite concerts of the year are our free outdoor concerts.”

“We really hope the community realizes we’re committed to being an integral part of the cultural landscape,” agrees Paul, who’s been a member of Pacific Symphony since the opening of Segerstrom Hall (then the Orange County Performing Arts Center) in 1986.


“I’d decided it was going to be my last audition.

Winning a spot changed my life. I’m proud and honored to perform with the world-class musicians in our orchestra.”

“I auditioned for Pacific Symphony in September 2004 at the suggestion of Principal Trumpet Barry Perkins,” recalls Keith. “After winning the audition, I was extremely happy with the level of playing and friendliness of the other musicians. I feel a part of a family here.”

“It’s always gratifying to see full houses at our concert hall,” adds Paul. “It’s very much like being at a sports event—the more we feel the support from our audiences, the better we perform!”

Paul Zibits

Paul Zibits

As a boy, Paul was strongly influenced by an aunt who took him to a variety of arts events and played music for him at her house.

His first experience hearing a live concert was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. After that, he decided his goal was to pursue a career as a professional musician.

Paul has been on UCLA’s faculty for 20 years, as well as at Chapman University and the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach. He’s also the CEO and managing partner of Mouse King Media, an app development company.

“The Nutcracker Musical Storybook” has been rated a top seasonal app by Apple for numerous years. A storybook app for “The Carnival of Animals” is currently under development.

Keith Popejoy

Keith Popejoy

Music often runs in a family’s veins.

Both of Keith’s parents and two grandparents played in the San Diego Symphony; classical music was always playing in his house as a kid. “My father picked the horn for me because he said I had ‘the face of a horn player.’ To this day I’m not sure exactly what that meant,” he laughs.

“In high school, my horn-section leader and band director inspired me to play my best. I’ve wanted to play professionally ever since.”

Jeanne Skrocki

Jeanne Skrocki

With a violinist for a mother, Jeanne has been exposed to music since the womb.

Her mom recognized her interest and began teaching her when she was 5 years old. “I loved the violin then and still do now,” she says. “I knew I wanted it to be my career when I gave my first solo concerto performance at 10.

Now my daughter is a third generation violinist, graduating with a performance degree from college this spring!”

Other Sides

Like most musicians, there is another side to Keith—he’s been a high school and college soccer referee for more than 40 years.

“I have the joy of a long commute every day. With that amount of time sitting (not to mention when I play with the orchestra), I try to get outdoors as much as possible. I also hike and go to the beach.”

“My great passion outside of music has been as a semi-professional poker player,” says Paul, who competes at The World Series of Poker and on the World Poker Tour. He’s been in the plus column from his poker endeavors for 19 consecutive years.

Finely Balanced

Jeanne plays music with different groups and people.

She also teaches at Redlands University, so it’s a fine balancing act. “Much of my personal life revolves around music—practicing, listening and sharing great recordings, taking family and friends to concerts.

I have to protect a certain amount of down time to enjoy at home or out doing something completely different. Music is a fantastic career, but it can be emotionally draining, so it’s necessary to recharge on a regular basis in order to continue to give 100 percent.”

Walk In The Woods

Walk In The Woods

Like taking a walk in the woods, for instance.