Symphony in the Cities: Program Notes cover

Symphony in the Cities: Program Notes


Pack a picnic, grab a lawn chair or blanket and gather the family for an evening of free music and outdoor summer fun! Now a long-standing summer tradition, Symphony in the Cities (SITC) brings thousands of people together for great music and entertainment in local parks each year. With a potpourri of popular classics, pop tunes and patriotic tunes, this year’s concert is led by Music Director Carl St.Clair. Classical KUSC’s radio host Rich Capparela serves as the emce, and the audience is invited to participate in a sing-along of patriotic favorites.
Starting at 7 p.m., this year’s free SITC concerts take place Sunday, July 16 at the Civic Center in Newport Beach, Saturday, July 22, in the Village Green at Mission Viejo’s Oso Viejo Community Park and Sunday, July 23,, at Irvine’s Mike Ward Community Park in Woodbridge. Arrive early to enjoy Mission Viejo’s annual “Prelude in the Park,” which begins at 4 p.m., and the Symphony’s Musical Playground, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in all three cities.
The Musical Playground features many interactive and hands-on activities for children, including instrument making, a drum circle, an instrument petting zoo, and an opportunity to meet the musicians. And—back by popular demand—kids have the chance to learn how to conduct with Maestro St.Clair and later help lead the orchestra in Sousa’s “Hands Across the Sea” during the concert.

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Symphony in the Cities: Program Notes





Leonard Bernstein (1918–1990)

Overture to Candide

Mambo from West Side Story

Pietro Mascagni (1863–1945)

Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana

YAYA Dance Academy

John Philip Sousa (1854–1932)

Hands Across the Sea

Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)

Hungarian Dance No. 5 in F-Sharp Minor

Johann Strauss, Jr. (1825–1899)

Thunder and Lightning Polka

On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op. 314

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)

Air on a G String, D Major BWV 1068

Johann Sebastian Bach

Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins and String Orchestra, BWV 1043


Danielle Liu, Sarah Liu

John Williams (b. 1932)

Superman March

Flying Theme from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial


Armed Forces Salute

Southern California Children’s Chorus

Samuel Ward (1848–1903), arr. Prechel

America the Beautiful

Southern California Children’s Chorus

Irving Berlin (1888–1989)

God Bless America

Musical Playground

Musical Playground

Before the concert, enjoy an array of interactive and hands-on activities for you and your children at the Musical Playground! Make an instrument, meet a musician, beat a drum and try out the Instrument Petting Zoo.

Conducting Clinic

Conducting Clinic

Kids, don’t miss your chance to learn how to conduct with Music Director Carl St.Clair prior to the concert. Then, join him near the stage to help conduct the orchestra in Sousa’s “Hands Across the Sea.”


America the Beautiful

Oh beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain.

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

Oh beautiful for patriot dream,

That sees beyond the years.

Thine alabaster cities gleam,

Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

God Bless America

God bless America,

Land that I love,

Stand beside her and guide her

Thru the night with a light from above;

From the mountains, to the prairies,

To the oceans white with foam,

God bless America,

My home, sweet home.

Meet the Guest Artists!

Meet the Guest Artists!

Yaya Zhang is an award-winning artist with 20 years of stage performance, choreography and dance instruction experience. She graduated from the department of folk dance at the Secondary School of Beijing Dance Academy in 1999 and received a B.A. in choreography from Beijing Dance Academy in 2003.

During her decade-long study at the Beijing Dance Academy, she mastered many different Chinese ethnic folk dance traditions as well as sword, fan, ribbon and sleeve techniques. At the same time, she has extensive experiences in the choreography of the above styles and techniques.

In 2004 and 2005, she carried the role of “Rumpleteazer” in the musical production of Cats by Shiki Theatre Company in Japan. Before moving to America in 2007, she worked in many productions in China including musicals. Since moving to Los Angeles area, she has been teaching at several well-known dance companies.

Now she is the artistic director of YAYA Dance Academy.

Violinist Danielle Liu, age 17, has been featured as a soloist in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall as a winner of the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition in 2014, and as a featured guest artist with Pacific Symphony in the Family Musical Mornings series in 2015 and 2016. Danielle also performed Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins at the Symphony in the Cities concert in 2014.

Danielle participates in numerous violin competitions: she was the Grand Prize winner of the Satori Strings contest in 2015; has received a number of awards from Southwestern Youth Music Festival competitions, including first place in the competitive Young Violinist category, American Open category and Open Baroque category in 2016. She also won first place in the American Protégé Piano and Strings International Competition in 2017 and performed as a soloist in the prestigious Carnegie Hall earlier this month.

Danielle is also active as an orchestral and chamber music player. From 2012 to 2014, she served as concertmaster of Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings. In 2016, she held the position of concertmaster of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra as the group traveled to China and performed in the cities of Wuzhen, Shanghai and Beijing. She served as associate concertmaster for the Youth Orchestra this past season. Danielle has been playing with the Pacific Symphony Youth Quartet at various events throughout Orange County since 2014. From 2015-16, she studied chamber music with Dr. Kevin Loucks and Dr. Iryna Krechkovsky as a member of Chamber Music OC’s Young Artist Program. Danielle has studied under the baton of Maestro Alejandro Gutiérrez, Maestro Roger Kalia, Irene Kroesen and Helen Weed. She currently studies under Eunhee Kim, and her violin coach is Sam Fischer.

Danielle also enjoys improvising on the violin and playing on the worship teams at her church and school. Danielle also has been teaching violin to students ages 4–13 since she was in seventh grade. Danielle’s favorite pastime is spending time with her younger sister, Sarah. Danielle is currently a part of the Medical Cohort Program at Crean Lutheran High School and aspires to be a medical doctor.

Sarah Liu has traveled across the country, performing on the violin in venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in California, and the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York. Sarah completed her Advanced Level Certificate of Merit for violin in 2016. She was the Grand Prize winner for the Satori Strings contest in 2015 and has won numerous awards from the Southwestern Youth Music Festival competitions. In 2017, she won the Judge’s Distinction Award and was the First Place winner of the American Protégé International Concerto Competition.

Sarah is also active as an orchestral player. From 2013 to 2015, Sarah served as concertmaster under Helen Weed of the Prelude Chamber Strings. She also served as concertmaster under Irene Kroesen of the Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings (PSSS) from 2016 to 2017. In 2017, she had the honor of receiving the Conductor’s Award of Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings. Sarah studies violin under Eunhee Kim. Her violin coach is Sam Fischer.

Sarah is also a gifted pianist and oboist. In May of 2014, she won the coveted Maestro award as an oboist from the World Strides Heritage Festival. Outside of music, Sarah is an avid reader and a diligent student. In her free time, she loves playing with her older sister Danielle. Sarah is a student at Heritage Oak Private School and has been the recipient of her school’s Executive Director’s Award since third grade. Her favorite subjects are math, science and literature.

Southern California Children’s Chorus—Lori Loftus, Founding Director

In response to requests for a child-focused organization, the Southern California Children’s Chorus (SCCC), directed by Lori Loftus, was founded in 1996 as an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to “enriching children’s lives through distinguished choral music education and world-class performance.” More than 300 children are enrolled in a sequential choral program consisting of seven choirs: Ensemble, Concert, Advanced, Intermediate, Apprentice, Primary and Kinder levels.

Guided by a talented and diverse board of directors and a highly skilled musical and administrative staff, choral members perform locally throughout the year at special events and venues like Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Auditions are held in May, August and early September. The SCCC is dedicated to making its programs available to children from all economic backgrounds and providing scholarships and other forms of assistance to families in need.

Lori Loftus is a dynamic and familiar figure in the music world. Having received her education at California State University, Fullerton, she has conducted and worked under some of the most noted batons in the world. These include such musicians as Howard Swan, Helmuth Rilling, Harold Dekker, Zubin Mehta, Carl Guillini, John Alexander, William Hall, Doreen Rao and Carl St.Clair.

Loftus and her husband John founded the Southern California Children’s Chorus (SCCC) in 1996 as a means to enhance children’s lives through choral music education and world class performance. Loftus is also a pianist and organist, and frequently performs with Pacific Symphony and Pacific Chorale, and has held church positions all over Southern California. Loftus has been honored to play at the Sydney Opera House and also on many great organs throughout Europe. In March, 2007, Loftus received the Outstanding Alumni Award for Excellence in Choral Music from her alma mater, California State University, Fullerton.

Get Involved

Pacific Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement programs serve 50,000 community members of all ages, from infants to seniors, across all 34 cities in Orange County.

The Symphony enhances the lives of Orange County’s citizens through programs that engage the community in the magic and power of symphonic music.

Programs for families include free concerts in public spaces, the Saturday Family Musical Mornings series and the Lantern Festival held each February at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Budding young musicians in Orange County benefit from Pacific Symphony’s three Youth Ensembles, Santa Ana Strings (in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana), and Strings for Generations (in partnership with the Irvine Chinese School).

Lifelong learners and community-based musicians experience OC Can You Play with Us?, a unique opportunity for community musicians to play with, and learn from, Pacific Symphony musicians. They may also attend open rehearsals at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and classes at local senior centers.

Students and teachers have the opportunity to be a part of the Symphony’s elementary school partnership program, Class Act, the residential arts immersion middle school program, arts-X- press, as well as the Symphony’s many high school, college and university partnerships.

Our community benefits from the Heartstrings program, through which the Symphony partners with local social service agencies to provide free access and transportation to concerts and hands-on enrichment activities to a range of underserved local residents.

Some partners also participate in a new innovative Music and Wellness initiative.

Be a part of the magic! To learn more about the Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement programs, please contact Susan Kotses at

To learn more about Music Director Carl St.Clair, click here.