It was music to my ears to learn about a group dedicated to playing classical music in the North County. Consisting of between 15 and 30 musicians, this group of classical musicians is going into its second season.
The group calls itself Symphony of the Vines and is under the direction of Gregory Magie. Magie is director of traditional music at First Presbyterian Church in San Luis Obispo and teaches at Cuesta College.
The orchestra’s performances feature live classical music concerts held throughout the North County, well-known guest soloists, plus musical education and community outreach.
The mission is a simple one: “To consistently engage and enrich our audiences with music and artistry of the highest caliber.”
On Sunday, the chamber orchestra will be featured in a fundraiser and “pops” concert at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, playing in the large barn, which now protects a unique piece of California history, the Asistencia. It was the most northern outpost of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.
This “Margarita Musicfest” will be held from 2 to 6 p.m., and in addition to good music from the group, there will be performances by Oak Winds, the Vines Quartet and Bremen Town Folk Group, wine and food tastings, silent and live auctions and even the opportunity to ride the vintage train that now traverses the former Mexican Land Grant ranch first owned by Joaquin Estrada, whose brother, Pedro Estrada, first owned the Atascadero Rancho.
All proceeds from Sunday’s fundraiser will go to support the Symphony of the Vines chamber orchestra, which was established in 2010. The group performs an extremely wide range of music spanning more than 400 years.
Because of the symphony’s size, Magie explained that it plays music written for smaller groups by the likes of Mozart and Bach. At its concert at Mission San Miguel in April, the orchestra performed the works of Haydn, Karlowicz and Mozart.
There are so many very beautiful venues spread throughout the North County that this new chamber orchestra will not soon run out of places to perform.
And having a classical orchestra of our own here in the North County is welcome news and probably a surprise to those who live south of us who have long believed that intelligent life ends at the crest of the Cuesta Grade.
Tickets for Sunday’s concert at the Santa Margarita Ranch will be available at the door.
They are $55 for general admission and $28 for students.
For more information about this group, visit www.symphonyofthevines.org.
Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades. His column appears here every week. He can be reached at 466-8529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.