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Wennberg Festival showcases young musicians at Mondavi Center

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From page A1 | March 19, 2013 |

Pianist Jacqueline Liu is the winner of the Davis High School Concerto Competition. She will be featured at the 2013 Wennberg Concert at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23, in Jackson Hall at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Courtesy photo

That’s the ticket

What: Bodil Wennberg Music Festival, featuring performers from the Davis schools

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets: $14-$17 general, $13 seniors and $9 students; www.mondaviarts.org, 530-754-2787

The Davis school district hosts an uncommonly large and popular string music program, with literally hundreds of kids participating.

That musical heritage will be showcased at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the annual Bodil Wennberg Music Festival, a fundraiser that benefits local string music programs and gives youngsters the opportunity to play in the Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall — on the same stage where legendary string performers like violinists Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell, as well as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, have played in recent months.

The concert, much like the string music program in the Davis schools, starts with the All City Orchestra drawn from young string players in Davis’ elementary schools, conducted by teacher Kim Cole.

Then come the junior high ensembles, including the Emerson-Harper Combined Intermediate Orchestra, conducted by teacher Greg Brucker; the Emerson-Harper Combined Advanced Orchestra, conducted by Brucker; the Holmes Intermediate Orchestra, conducted by teacher Angelo Moreno; and the Holmes Advanced Orchestra, conducted by Moreno.

After intermission, the high school ensembles, also led by Moreno, take their turn, including the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble, the DHS Chamber Orchestra and the DHS Symphony Orchestra, which will be joined by pianist Jacqueline Liu, winner of the school’s concerto competition this year.

Liu, a DHS junior, has been studying piano since the age of 5½. She has studied with Marilyn Swan for the past eight years and has received accolades and scholarships from musical events, among them festivals and competitions hosted by the Music Teachers Association of California and California Association of Professional Music Teachers.

In both 2010 and 2012, she placed in the United States Open Music Competition’s Open Concerto category and in 2010, she performed the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 accompanied by the Sacramento Youth Symphony Academic Orchestra.

Liu will be joining the orchestra for a performance of the first movement of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2, which is the piece she played when she won the concerto competition earlier this school year.

In addition to playing the piano, Liu also plays the violin, and is concertmaster with the Davis High Baroque Ensemble. She also enjoys reading, video games and math competitions.

The master of ceremonies will be Beth Ruyak, host of Capital Public Radio’s popular “Insight” program, which features interviews with local artists, political figures and others.

The program typically runs over two hours, since there are multiple ensembles involved. And as longtime Davis resident and former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin observed when she was master of ceremonies at the Wennberg Festival in 2009, “The elementary musicians sounded like high school performers, the junior high students sounded like college musicians and the high school students sounded professional!”

The event bears the name of Bodil Wennberg, a local cello teacher who also played with the UCD Symphony Orchestra. When she died in 1994, she bequeathed her cello to the local school music program, and a fundraising concert was organized to honor her memory. What began as a one-time tribute has now become a large-scale annual event. Members of Wennberg’s family are expected to be in attendance Saturday.

Tickets are $14-$17 general, $13 for seniors and $9 for students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787. Tickets also should be available at the door. Doors will open at 2 p.m., with the concert starting at 2:30 p.m.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8055.

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