FIESTA CONCERT QUIZ
Every year, a crowd gathers on blankets and lawn chairs at the Courthouse Sunken Garden to hear an orchestra bring Fiesta to life.
The West Coast Symphony has been playing there since — hey, that’s for conductor Michael Shasberger to ask and you to answer!
Dr. Shasberger, the orchestra’s artistic director, has prepared 10 questions for the News-Press Fiesta Concert Quiz in advance of the orchestra’s performance at 4 p.m. today at the Sunken Garden. A little fun before the fun …
1. Why does the concert always start at 4 p.m.?
2. Is there a connection between the music in the concert and Old Spanish Days?
3. Is there any newly composed music in this year’s program?
4. How many musicians are in the orchestra?
5. Are there any Santa Barbara musicians in the orchestra?
6. When and why was the West Coast Symphony founded?
7. The orchestra’s founder is Christopher Story VI. Is there anyone else with the name Christopher Story in Santa Barbara?
8. What is the approximate cost of producing the Fiesta Concert?
9. How are the concerts funded?
10. What is the highest admission cost that has ever been charged?
Bonus question from the News-Press (you can use this to make up for any questions you got wrong):
What is conductor Michael Shasberger’s day job?
1. The Fiesta Concert always starts at 4 p.m. because that’s when the courthouse’s shadow covers the stage and blocks the sun from melting the varnish on the string instruments, conductor Michael Shasberger told the News-Press.
2. Dr. Shasberger stressed there’s definitely a connection with Old Spanish Days, as the concerts feature music by Spanish, Mexican and Southern California composers. Programs also feature music that relates to the heritage celebrated by Fiesta. This year’s concert features music by Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate, music from the scores for the films “The Mask of Zorro” (1998) and “The Mission” (1986) and a taste of Spanish-themed opera “Carmen” by Georges Bizet.
3. Yes. This year’s concert will feature the world premiere of Southern California composer David Stern’s Neo Romantic Violin Concerto.
4. The orchestra has about 50 musicians. The number can vary according to the needs of the music.
5. Yes. The orchestra includes Santa Barbara residents, as well as players from major symphony orchestras stretching from Long Beach to San Luis Obispo. Dr. Shasberger said members also include advanced students from colleges such as Westmont College in Montecito, Santa Barbara City College and Cal State Northridge.
6. The West Coast Symphony was started in 1966 specifically to play at Fiesta. The orchestra also has played Courthouse Sunken Garden concerts on the Fourth of July. The organization overseeing the orchestra, the Cielo Foundation for the Performing Arts, was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1969.
7. Yes. Christopher Story VII and Christopher Story VIII also live in Santa Barbara. In fact, Christopher Story VIII occasionally plays percussion with the West Coast Symphony, Dr. Shasberger noted.
8. Each Fiesta Concert costs approximately $20,000 to produce.
9. The Fiesta Concert is financed by donations from individuals, corporate sponsors and foundations. To donate, go towww.cieloperformingarts.org/contactdonations.html.
10. The correct answer is 0. The concerts are always free.
Bonus question answer: Michael Shasberger is the Adams Chair of Music and Worship at Westmont College, where he conducts the Westmont College Choir and Westmont Orchestra.
0-1: Tune your violin!
2-3: Practice, practice, practice!
4-5: Watch the conductor more carefully.
6-7: You might have an ear for music.
8-9: You’re a maestro!
10 (or 11 if you got everything right, including the bonus question): Brava! Bravo! Encore!
IF YOU GO
The West Coast Symphony will perform its free Fiesta Concert at 4 p.m. today at the Courthouse Sunken Garden, 1100 Anacapa St. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, folding chairs, sunscreen, water, hats and umbrellas. For more information, go to www.cieloperformingarts.org.