Guadalajara Youth Orchestra to Perform in Weill Hall

orquesta.jpgEighty-six children from the city of Guadalajara are preparing for the performance of a lifetime. The children - members of the Orquesta Infantil Juvenil Lomas del Paraiso, a youth orchestra from the city of Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico - have traveled to Sonoma County for a five-day stay, during which they will perform a centerpiece concert at the Joan & Sanford I. Weill Hall in Sonoma State University's Green Music Center.

"Children are the future of our society and it is our pleasure to support and nurture these young musical talents from Mexico," says Sonoma State University President Ruben Armiñana.

Presented by the Santa Rosa Rotary Club and the Cultural Secretary of the State of Jalisco, the youth orchestra will stay in Sonoma County from June 9-12, 2011.

The Symphony of the Children of Lomas de Paraiso Jalisco Mexico was formed three years ago in the poorest region of Guadalajara, in conjunction with Mexican social programs that aim to improve designated socio-economic problems.

During their five-day stay in Northern California, the children will partake in a series of Rotary-led activities, including tours of San Francisco and Wine Country, art classes, shopping trips, and a culminating barbecue at Keller Estate in Petaluma.

"Rotary has been an absolutely terrific partner in making this happen," says Erik Greeny, SSU's Associate Vice President of University Development.

The centerpiece concert takes place Sat., June 11 at 7 p.m. in Weill Hall at the Green Music Center. Directed by Jose Antonio Herrera Ramirez, the youth orchestra will perform classical and contemporary works, as well as tangos and other cultural numbers. A post-concert tasting and reception will take place in the Green Music Center's Prelude restaurant.

On Sun., June 12, Keller Estate in Petaluma hosts a barbecue from noon to 4 p.m., featuring an encore performance by the young musicians.

Dr. Shari Shamsavari, Mexico's Ambassador to the Children and an SSU alumna, has been instrumental in organizing the upcoming events. A member of the Santa Rosa Rotary Club's sister chapter in Guadalajara, Shamsavari and her fellow Rotarians are passionate about enriching the lives of local youth with culture and music.

Shamsavari works with children in educational and clinical settings, using innovative approaches to improve their social and psychological well-being. She is collaborating with Dr. Rose Bruce and Dr. Eleanor Griswold on a research project that measures the effects of the arts on the self-esteem of children that participate in extracurricular programs , and will be working with the members of the Orquesta Infantil Juvenil during their stay. A copy of Shamsavari's book, Symptoms, Stories, and the Evolving Child, is included with the purchase of an event pass.

"This is a wonderful event that will be helpful to the cause of children, education and diversity," says Dr. Saied Rahimi, SSU's Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Entry to the series of events is by ticket-holders only. Tickets for the events are $150 for the general public, and $100 for Rotarians. Event passes may be purchased online at or by contacting Jose Guillén, Sonoma County Superior Court Executive Officer and Rotary member coordinating ticketing, at (707) 521-6855.

The $150 event pass includes entry to Saturday's concert performance, press conference and welcome reception at the Green Music Center, and entry to the Sunday barbecue at Keller Estate.

High-profile guests to the weekend events include the Mexican Ambassador to the United States, the Mexican Counsel General from San Francisco, the Secretary of Culture from Jalisco State, the Federal Representative of Special Programs from Mexico, the United States Consular General to Jalisco State, and various elected officials and representatives from the state and federal government.

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