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Why We Love This Place Wednesdays: The Susanville Symphony

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

By Terra Avilla

Young, little Terra, with my awkward haircut, braces and my choker necklace wanted so badly to be with the cool kids. The kid who was good at something – sports, singing, knowing all the words to the newest song by Eminem. Something. However, that was not the hand I was dealt.

I remember feeling like I didn’t quite have a niche yet and as a twelve year old girl that was disheartening.

I remember the day however when our music teacher told us we were going to be able to learn to play an instrument. I picked the viola. I thought it sounded elegant, and I would not have to worry about toting around an gigantic instrument like a cello on and off the bus. I remember the first time I played it. I was awful but I loved it. Just knowing I might be able to create something that sounded beautiful. The more I learned the more my confidence grew. It was a skill set that I could learn. That motivated me.

Now fast-forward 20 something years to my very first date with Frankie in Susanville. He had purchased tickets for the Susanville Symphony’s annual Swing band concert.

I was blown away. I had been lucky enough to attend other orchestras/ symphonies in the past, and I can tell you – here in little old Susanville we have a world-class symphony. I remember clapping to the music, watching the members of the symphony rock out, all while producing some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.

Since that first date, anytime anyone mentions the Susanville Symphony the only thing anyone ever says is how great they are. How world class they are. How the Symphony (which is a nonprofit) brings much needed diversity and culture to our town. It truly is a unique outlet for creative souls to nurture their love for music, or maybe if they are like twelve year-old Terra – discover a love for music.

It’s no secret that classical music is linked to higher intelligence, students who play a musical instrument, statically also do better in school.

The Susanville Symphony is a one of a kind program/organization in our county. In fact they describe themselves as “a homegrown community orchestra” with a purpose to “provide a musical venue to enhance both the musician and the audience.” Which I can tell you they knock out of the park.

I went their concert in December, and even Peach, who has a very short attention span was mesmerized by the beautiful music that echoed in the hall.

Their annual ‘Concert of the Green’ is an experience unlike any other. It is beautiful. It is magical. You can drink wine and eat cheese while be serenaded. (My three favorite things) You do not have to know anything about classical music to appreciate what Ben Wade and his musicians do.

Ahhh yes.

I could not write an article about the Susanville Symphony and not mention the name, which is synonymous with the Symphony.

Mr. Wade, goes out of his way to bring our county the best. Watching him conduct – it’s obvious he loves what he is doing and he wants you to love it too.

Since Mr. Wade took over the music program at the high school he has partnered with the school to bring some of the symphony to perform for students. He had a world renowned musician come to Lassen high School two years in a row to perform to the students.

Students that don’t like school. Don’t like teachers. Don’t like music – were dancing and clapping. That’s the power of Ben Wade and the Susanville Symphony.

I urge all of you to support this Orchestra. They are a non-profit who does nothing but enhance the diversity of our town. They give back to our community, through scholarships for young musicians, and through entertainment, but also through the opportunity to allow people to learn what it takes to be a great musician.

They are one of the reasons I love the place we live.

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