Symphony of the Vines' Margarita Musicfest set for Sunday

The Symphony of the Vines is scheduled to begin its third season in late September at Mission San Miguel.
The Symphony of the Vines is scheduled to begin its third season in late September at Mission San Miguel.

Looking for a fun, refreshing afternoon north of the Cuesta Grade?

The Symphony of the Vines’ second season comes to a close with the Margarita Musicfest, Sunday at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch.

The North County chamber orchestra will perform alongside its own Vines Quartet, the woodwind choir Oaks Winds and bluegrass/folk group Bremen Town, based in Atascadero.

“The ranch is just a lovely place” for a concert, said Gregory Magie, Symphony of the Vines’ music director and conductor.

In addition to live and silent auctions, antique train rides, artists, and wine and food tastings, Sunday’s fundraiser will feature an array of crowd-friendly classical favorites, Magie said.

Selections include Leroy Anderson’s “Blue Tango,” Aaron Copland’s “Saturday Night Waltz,” and excerpts from two operas, Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” and Gioachino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.” Audiences will also hear dance music by Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Strauss.

“I try to program a variety of music,” explained Magie, who was inspired by San Luis Obispo Symphony’s popular Pops by the Sea concert, held every Labor Day weekend in Avila Beach. “I think everyone will find something that they really love.”

The Symphony of the Vines kicks off its third season Sept. 29 with a Johann Sebastian Bach showcase at Mission San Miguel featuring French horn player Steve Gross, who heads the winds, brass and percussion program at UC Santa Barbara.

“There’s nothing more brilliant or exciting than baroque music that includes trumpet,” Magie said.

In November, the symphony tackles Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 4 in B Flat Major.” The group then teams up with Cambria violinist Brynn Albanese in February, before bringing in Templeton pianist Torsten Juul-Borre for an April concert featuring Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.”

Although that piece is typically played by larger ensembles, Magie said, it was originally written for a 13-member chamber orchestra — making it a perfect piece for the 30-member Symphony of the Vines.

He explained that the symphony’s size often works to its advantage in the North County, where performing arts venues are best suited for smaller groups. Plus, he said, composers including Mozart, Joseph Haydn and Igor Stravinsky wrote music with those ensembles in mind.

“When you have a smaller group you can really work on the textures and the transparency of baroque music,” he said, contributing to the clarity of the sound.