by William K. Fawcett
Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public
W. K. (Bill) Fawcett was born in New Albany, Indiana. His education
included B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, and MBA, Indiana University. "Two-time loser" to U. S. Army: WWII and Korea. The highlight of latter service
in Pentagon was playing the organ for noon chapel services; no medal received. After
retiring from Lockheed; he started at Propulsion Company in Mentone in 1962. He worked on
new business proposals throughout his career.
Married Martha Snyder a few years back; three daughters. Bill and
Marty are Paul Harris Fellows of Rotary International.
Bill has served as president of The Spinet and as president of the
Symphony Association in 1989-90 and 1990-91.
The Redlands Symphony Orchestra is an ensemble of which Redlands can
be very proud. It has received considerable acclaim since its formation in 1983 from the
merger of the University-Community Orchestra and the Winter Concert Association. It is
governed by a board of 30 directors elected for three-year terms, and is managed by an
The Symphony enjoys a very close relationship with the University of
Redlands, from which it receives many benefits, primarily services and facility use
resulting in much lower overhead costs. The University School of Music derives a great
recruiting tool because it can offer outstanding prospective students and faculty the
potential opportunity to perform in a first-rate symphony orchestra. The Symphony also
contributes significantly to the perception of the University as a center of culture,
The orchestra performs five subscription concerts and family and
school concerts each year in the University's Memorial Chapel, a venue which creates a lot
of "electricity" for the listening audience. Concerts are generally sold out, or
nearly so, in the 1486-seat auditorium, reflecting the support the Symphony has received
from the community. The writer knows of no other community where such a high percentage of
citizens attends concerts.
The Symphony Association has a budget for the 1996-7 season of
$348,000, of which 35% is expected to come from ticket sales, Of the remaining 65% almost
half will come from the annual Gala in June, an event conducted by the Symphony Guild, an
important adjunct of the Association. The Guild has between 150 and 200 members, meets
monthly, and sponsors a highly successful free music appreciation Fridays at 4 conducted
by Dr. Janice Fulbright of the University School of Music.
Players of the Symphony are members of Local 47 of the American
Federation of Musicians, except for very talented students whose participation is
authorized by an unusual provision of the union contract.
Dr. Jon Robertson has conducted the Symphony almost from its
formation in 1983 He is largely responsible for the quality and recognition which the
orchestra has achieved. He has been active in the community speaking and playing on behalf
of the Symphony, and speaks to a large audience in the Chapel prior to each concert.
Recordings of the Symphony can be heard Sunday mornings 10 to 11 on KUOR, 89.1 Em,
sponsored by Beaver Medical Clinic.
In every aspect, the Redlands Symphony is one of Redlands' finest
The Redlands Symphony Orchestra
--- A Cultural Jewel
This is about one of Redlands most exciting success stories, the Redlands Symphony
The Redlands Symphony Orchestra resulted from the merger in 1983 of
the University-Community Symphony and the Winter Concert Association. The
University-Community Symphony was organized in 1950 by Dr. Edward C. Tritt Professor
of Music of the University faculty. It performed much of the symphonic literature under
Dr. Tritts direction until his retirement in 1975. There were many enjoyable
highlights during those years; two immediately come to mind: the Jack Benny concert and
the Rodgers and Hammerstein concert with John Raitt. After Dr. Tritts retirement,
leadership of the orchestra passed to the late Prof. Jack Wilson and then to Prof. James
Jorgensen of the University faculty. It should be noted that our own Dr. Fritz Bromberger
was a founding violinist of the University-Community Symphony and served longer than any
other player, 33 years.
The roots of the Winter Concert Association date back to the
founding of The Spinet in 1895. In the early years The Spinet brought internationally
acclaimed stars and organizations to Redlands. The list reads like a Whos Who of
great musicians and performers. During the Depression responsibility was passed to the
University of Redlands for continuing the presentation function, In 1956 the Winter
Concert Association was organized to take over the impresario role of presenting great
artists to Redlands audiences in the Memorial Chapel. Since 1983,-then, the Redlands
Symphony Orchestra has assumed the dual responsibilities of both performance and
presentation which is inherited from its predecessor organizations. The performance
function continues, of course, but the function of booking outside performers was
discontinued after several years, although it was attempted unsuccessfully last year.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
.The Symphony is controlled by the Symphony Association which is
governed by its Board of Directors. The Board consists of up to 30 persons who are
nominated by a committee of the Board and elected by the Board, Terms are for three years;
a member may be elected to a second term, after which he or she must remain off the Board
for at least one year. Of the thirty, three members are appointed by the President of the
University of Redlands to maintain the maximum coordination between the two institutions.
These appointees have typically included the Director of the School of Music and the Vice
President/Business Manager. Currently the Dean of the Faculty is serving on the Board.
Another is the President of the Symphony Guild-serving during her tenure to insure a close
relationship with the parent Association.
The Board meets monthly except in August. The meetings are governed
by an agenda prepared by the President and the Executive Director. Business is conducted
primarily by receiving and acting on reports of standing committees, which are finance,
nominating, repertoire, development, by-laws, marketing, foundation, youth music and
The Redlands Symphony Association is a non-profit organization
chartered by the State of California. As such it is independent of the university of
Redlands, although it will be shown later how much both organizations, especially the
Symphony, benefit from the close relationship of the two. The relationship is so close
that some have assumed that the Symphony is part of the University, but that is not the
The purpose of the Symphony Association, as stated in its By-laws, "shall be to provide quality musical concerts, to promote musical education of
students of the University of Redlands and to encourage musical enrichment of young people
and adults in the local community and elsewhere where other opportunities exist."
Day-to-day management of the Association is the responsibility of
the Executive Director, appointed by the Board and assisted by the Office Manager. Both
are full-time positions. The Executive Director is responsible for directing all
activities of the Association in accordance with the policies and guidelines adopted by
the Board. He or she is the front person for the organization.
The part-time staff includes the Music Director/Conductor, Who is
paid an annual salary for his services; an Operations Manager who is responsible for
physical arrangements of the Chapel stage for rehearsals and performances, and for the
procurement of music from rental sources; and the Personnel Contractor who secures the
services of the musicians necessary for a given concert.
One of the most important steps the Symphony has undertaken was the
formation of the Symphony Guild. The Guild has grown in size and importance to the
Association. Annually 150 to 200 members participate in Guild activities. In addition to
the monthly meetings there are three important functions performed under the sponsorship
of the Guild: the first is the annual fund-raising Gala on the first Saturday of June in
the Orton Center, A great party attended by about 300. Net proceeds have increased from
about $20,000 to over $100,000 in 1996, a crucial factor in keeping the Symphony in the
black; the second important function is the sponsorship of pre-concert dinners and patron
receptions; and the third is the Friday-at-4 music appreciation class begun by Dr. Lois
Mussmann and currently led by Dr. Janice Fulbright, Between 40 and 50 regularly attend
these stimulating no-cost sessions in Watchorn Hall.
U of R RELATIONSHIP
The relationship between the Symphony Association and the University
of Redlands has earlier been described as close. It will now be shown just how close, The
University provides the following facilities and services for the Association: use of the
Chapel for rehearsals and concerts; great office space in the former Health Center; mail
and telephone services; orchestra and staff payroll services; accounting and accounts
payable services; investment services; insurance; Casa Loma Room and Orton Center for
Association functions; and until recently ticketing services, The value of these benefits
has been estimated to be in the range of $80,000 to $100,000 annually. And in the early
years the University contributed $15,000 each year to the operation of the Symphony, The
benefits derived by the University from the relationship cannot be similarly quantified.
There are two aspects, the first associated with the School of Music and the second with
the overall University institution, The School of Music has a powerful recruiting tool: it
can offer a talented prospective student the potential opportunity of performing great
music as a player in a first-rate symphony. Also, each Fall the School of Music conducts a
competition among its stand-out music students, and the winner is awarded the opportunity
to solo with the Redlands Symphony the following season, The Symphony also helps with
faculty recruitment by providing the opportunity for music faculty to perform as section
principal players and as mentors for their students selected to play in the Symphony.
The other aspect of the benefit to the University as a whole is the
cultural environment created by the Symphonyż part of an environment so essential to the perception of the University as a
center of culture. It also greatly strengthens the relationship of the University to the
community at large, the Town and Gown factor.
No discussion of the Symphony can be complete without talking about
the Memorial Chapel. Designed by Herbert Powell, about whom we heard from Larry Burgess
last year, to be the venue for University chapel services, which have long since been
discontinued, the Chapel has served beautifully as the home of the Redlands Symphony, Not
only are the sight lines very good for a symphony concert, but also the acoustic provides
a brilliant ambience for the sound produced by the Symphony. Members of the audience
receive a lot of "electricity" generated by the sound, a characteristic, for
example, not sensed by this writer at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with the Los Angeles
Philharmonic performing in spite of the virtuosity of that orchestra.
The seating capacity of the Chapel is 1486, an ideal size for the
One can almost use the past tense when discussing grants,
particularly those emanating from governmental sources. For the Redlands Symphony, the
high-water mark occurred five or six years ago, when about $50,000 was received from
Three grants resulted from submittal of lengthy, detailed
applications which responded to the instructions of the issuing agency, Two of these were
California agencies s the California Arts Council and the Arts Foundation of San
Bernardino County. Each graded the applications and based its award on the grade. For both
agencies the Symphony consistently received the highest grade, and therefore received the
highest award for which it was eligible based upon its budget category. The CalArts grant
was typically $19 to $20 thousand; the County grant was $15 to $16 thousand.
The third governmental agency which made grants to the Association
is the National Endowment for the Arts, which either accepts or rejects an application and
pegs its award at 2` of the applicant's budget. Redlands has received about $4 to $6
thousand per year.
The annual total received from these three agencies at the peak was
$38 to $40 thousand. For this past year, 1995-96, the awards were $3 thousand from the
State, 0 from the County and 0 from the NEA, reflecting the precarious status of arts
funding by government.
Another loss has been the discontinuance of the $10 thousand grant
from the Redlands Unified School District to fund the classroom and Chapel student
concerts, The Symphony has continued those programs at its expense because of the
importance of exposing students to at least some great music.
The annual budget for the upcoming 1996-97 season is $348,000.
Ticket sales are budgeted at $125,000, based upon season ticket subscriptions of loon and
door sales. 35$ of the budget is expected to come from ticket income and 65% from other
sources, especially the Gala and contributions,
One of the most amazing and gratifying aspects of the Symphony is
the support it has received from the community, Attendance at concerts runs between 1400
and 1500. Based on Redlands population of about 64,000, over 2% of the community is in
attendance. While this doesn't sound high, it is very high for a symphony orchestra. By
comparison with a full house the San Bernardino Symphony would draw 1%, and the Riverside
Philharmonic about 0.3% of the population. The percentage attending the Pasadena and Long
Beach Symphonies is even lower because of the much greater population of their areas. The
community has also supported the Symphony very generously from the financial standpoint.
The success of the annual Gala has already been mentioned. Although it has been necessary
to gradually reduce the number of concerts per season from the customary level of eight to
the current level of five because of the economic situation, no other area orchestra has
ever offered more than five at about the same subscription rate as Redlands. Much of the
credit for this and for the financial stability which the Symphony has enjoyed is due the
University of Redlands for the support it provides in keeping the overhead low
YOUNG PEOPLES' PROGRAM
Each year the Symphony performs a Family Concert on Sunday afternoon
which is either free or available for a very small charge. It features repertoire geared
to children; 'Peter and the Wolf" is typical of the works performed. There is
supporting action on the stage to dramatize the music. This program is generously
supported by Local 47 with funds from the Union's Trust Fund. Preceding the concert is a
very popular instrument Petting Zoo at which University students and staff demonstrate
various musical instruments and encourage the attending children to play them.
A program abbreviated from the Family Concert is played twice on the
Wednesday morning preceding the Sunday program for about 3000 fifth and sixth grade
students bussed to the Chapel by the Redlands Unified School District and some surrounding
districts and private schools. Prior to the concerts docents trained in the musical
literature to be performed visit the class rooms of the RUSD to prepare the children for
Most years the Symphony has formed small ensembles, typically four
players, to visit early elementary classrooms of the Redlands district to demonstrate
various families of musical instruments and to acquaint the youngsters with a taste of
classical music. Curtailment of much of the music programs in the public schools has
spurred the Symphony to do as much as it can to help fill the void.
In any symphony orchestra the Music Director is ultimately
responsible for determining what music will be played. After all, he or she is judged both
by what is played and how well it is played. In the case of the Redlands Symphony the
Music Director has rarely had to exercise his authority. A committee of the Board meets
with the Music Director during the fall as the proposed repertoire for the following year
is shaped up and modified until a consensus is achieved. The process usually strikes a
balance between new or modern music and the more familiar classical literature. The
Association has occasionally commissioned a composer to write a piece, but budgetary
constraints have led to a discontinuance of the practice.
The comment is often made about the inefficiency of a program that
requires three rehearsals but performs only one concert. A duplicate concert in the Chapel
by the Redlands Symphony is not feasible because an unusually high percentage of the
population now attends each concert; it is not reasonable to expect a large audience at
the second concert. None of the other symphonies mentioned earlier has duplicate concerts,
not even Long Beach or Pasadena with much greater populations and drawing areas.
That leads to the subject of run-out concerts, the term given to
concerts away from home. The cities of San Bernardino and Riverside would be naturals for
run-outs for the Redlands Symphony if they didn't each have their own orchestra. A good
deal of effort has been expended in seeking run-out opportunities, and a fair amount of
success has been achieved considering that our geographical location is so unfavorable. We
are hemmed in to the west, and to the east only the Palm Springs area has any potential.
The Symphony did perform in the 400-seat Annenberg Theatre of the Desert Museum for
several years, but hasn't recently. The much-coveted McCallum Theatre of the Bob Hope
Performing Arts Center is not a possibility because the series sponsor books only the
Vienna Philharmonics and the Chicago Symphonies of the music world, so the Redlands
Symphony is a tough sell.
The orchestra has performed at Ridgecrest three times, at Fallbrook
twice, at the Blockbuster Pavilion, at Cal State Los Angeles, and at the Gardner Springs
Auditorium in Ontario. Also, ESRI booked the orchestra to perform at its annual employees'
party at the Marriott Desert Springs Hotel last year.
The musicians of the Symphony are members of Local 47 of the
American Federation of Musicians, and they are governed by the contract between the Union
and the Symphony Association.
An unusual provision of the union contract gives the Symphony the
opportunity to select highly qualified student-musicians to replace a union member while
the student is in school. That privilege is very important to the University in attracting
prospective students for the School of Music, as has been mentioned earlier.
The wage scale in the current three-year contract calls for $56 per
rehearsal and $92 per concert for section players, commonly referred to as "sidemen". Section principals receive at least 20% more. So, for sidemen playing
three rehearsals and one concert, the pay is about $260, or $1300 annually for a
A typical symphony orchestra consists of the following players: 16
first violins, 12 second violins, 10 violas, 8 cellos and 8 basses, making up the string
section; 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones,
tuba and 1 tympani. Additional players, especially percussionists, are brought in when the
music being played requires it.
RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE SAN BERNARDINO AND RIVERSIDE ORCHESTRAS
There are three symphonies in the immediate area' the San Bernardino
Symphony, recently re-named after being called the Inland Empire Symphony for about ten
years; the Riverside County Philharmonic; and the Redlands Symphony. The relationship
among them is worth a look. First, there is a commonality of players. Some years ago the
writer analyzed the make-up of the three orchestras' and found that there were 22 players
common to Redlands and San Bernardino; 42 common to Redlands and Riverside; and 27 to San
Bernardino and Riverside. The numbers for San Bernardino are undoubtedly lower now because
that orchestra has imported more musicians from the Los Angeles area in recent years.
One item of cooperation among the three orchestras has been concert
scheduling to avoid conflict. Since each orchestra rehearses within the week of its
Saturday concert, coordinating the concert schedules to avoid duplication has been a big
step forward. The only potential problem remains the San Bernardino Civic Light Opera,
which is financially attractive to the players because of higher union scale and multiple
performances, but whose schedule cannot be forecast.
The question of merger among the three symphonies is a subject which
arises periodically. There are several pros and cons to be considered if the subject ever
becomes serious. A merged symphony would be very strong financially (assuming no loss of
support among patrons of the three cities, a big if) because one set of rehearsals would
support three concerts, one in each city, a much more efficient system. The merged
symphony would likely attract even better musicians through probably a higher union scale
and greater performance opportunities.
On the other hand each city would lose its specific identity with
its orchestra, a potential loss of civic pride in a cultural asset. Another big factor are
the key personnel involved: three conductors and three executive directors, two each of
whose careers and egos would be impacted.
The blueprint for a merged orchestra would surely specify a board of
directors with equal representation from each of the three cities; ticket offices in each
city; and a headquarters office located in neutral territory, for example in the Cooley
One very big area of concern exclusively for the Redlands Symphony
would be the future of the merged orchestra's relationship with the University of
Redlands, the ramifications of which are Very significant to both institutions, but which
will not be enumerated here. The writer is not aware of any impetus at the moment aimed at
promoting a merger, The line separating the two counties appears to discourage any
cooperation between the communities, especially the two larger ones, so the writer
predicts no move toward merger until financial stress forces one of the orchestras to seek
relief via a merger,
Jon Robertson has conducted the Symphony almost from its inception
in 6983. He was selected as a result of guest conducting the orchestra during its search
for a permanent conductor,
The outstanding success the Symphony has enjoyed, both musically and
image-wise, can be attributed to Jon. He is not only a wonderful Music Director but also a
powerful salesman and public relations person who represents the Symphony very well
wherever he appears. He has served on the board of the Association of California
Symphonies, and has been a member of panels of the California Arts Council and the
National Endowment for the Arts for the evaluation of grant applications. He has been
strongly supported by the Board of the Redlands Symphony, but it is his leadership that
has created the reputation which the Symphony enjoys.
Jon has a doctorate in piano performance from Juilliard. When he
decided to take up conducting, he studied with and became a protege of Herbert Blomstedt,
until recently the conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, The La Sierra campus of Loma
Linda University was the site of some of this association; Jon also studied with Blomstedt
in Europe, Jon has most recently been appointed to the music faculty of UCLA as Professor
of Conducting, and for the last two years has served as head of the Department of Music.
One of Dr. Robertson's strong points has been his willingness to be
active in the community by speaking to, and sometimes playing for, local groups. He also
speaks before each concert to a large audience about the music about to be played,
Realizing the value of Jon to the organization, the Board has maintained Jon on a
five-year contract which is extended one year each year. The question is often asked about
the possibility of Jon leaving the orchestra either for another symphony post or because
of his duties at UCLA. He always answers that the Redlands Symphony will come first in any
consideration of future plans.
Almost ten years ago the Redlands City Attorney, Dallas Holmes of
the Riverside firm of Best, Best and Krieger commissioned the eminent artist and wood
craftsman Sam Maloof of Upland to create a work-of-art podium for the Symphony, Mr. Holmes
continued to make annual payments, but discontinued the practice when he no longer served
the city. Most recently the University picked up the payments with help from the Frederick
Loewe Foundation of Lerner and Loewe fame. The beautiful new podium was introduced at the
October 5th, 1996 opening concert. Mr. Maloof was present and was introduced to the
appreciative audience. One of the best-kept secrets in Redlands is the fact that the
recordings of the Symphony are broadcast weekly, from 10 to 11 Sunday mornings on KUOR,
89.1 fm sponsored by Beaver Medical Clinic. If you haven't heard the orchestra, this gives
you the opportunity to do so without putting on a tie or buying a ticket. And don't be
surprised if you think you've tuned in to the Chicago Symphony or the Vienna Philharmonic.
The Redlands Symphony isn't that great, of course, even its most ardent supporters must
admit, but to most of us it sounds like it is. Try it, you'll like it.
In conclusion, Redlands has a wonderful asset of
which it can be very proud: the Redlands Symphony Orchestra. The community has supported
the orchestra .very well, and the ensemble has responded by bringing much enjoyment to its
audiences and the community at large.