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April 2, 2013 > Fremont Children's Concerts orchestra performs

Fremont Children's Concerts orchestra performs

Submitted By Shannon Stowe

Fremont Symphony Orchestra, under the music direction of Gregory Van Sudmeier, presented the 39th Annual Free Children's Concerts on Tuesday, March 26 at Ohlone College in Fremont. Concerts are geared to fourth, fifth, and sixth graders.

Since 1975, Fremont Symphony Orchestra's Children's Concerts have provided an opportunity for several thousand school-age children from public and private schools in Fremont, Newark, and Union City to hear live symphonic music - many for the first time. Concerts include original compositions by Fremont schoolchildren, professionally arranged and performed by the Fremont Symphony Orchestra. Winners of this year's Young Composers Competition whose compositions were performed included Garin Jankowski, 11, from St. Joseph School; Rahul Swaminathan, 12, from Ardenwood Elementary; Sasha Tang, 10, from Gomes Elementary; Tony Ma, 11, from Patterson Elementary; Irene Geng, 10, from Hirsch Elementary; and Aileen Chen, 10, from Mission Valley School.

In addition, Andrew Chang, one of the winners of the Symphony's Young Artist Competition performed a piece with the orchestra. Violin soloist Andrew, a 15-year-old sophomore at Mission San Jose High School, won Honorable Mention in the Fremont Symphony's 2012 Young Artist Competition. He won First Place in the Contra Costa String Competition, the US Open Music Competition and the Chinese Music Teachers of Northern California Competitions, and for several years has been a member of the California Youth Symphony. Andrew has studied violin for nine years and also plays piano and sings in a choir.

The Children's Concerts were conducted by Gregory Van Sudmeier. Sudmeier joined the Fremont Symphony Orchestra this season as Music Director and Conductor. Founder of the Skywalker Symphony at LucasFilm, Sudmeier has contracted and performed in many film and recording projects. As guest conductor, Sudmeier has led the Oakland East Bay and San Jose Symphonies, and was touring conductor for the San Francisco Festival Pops. For twelve seasons he served as Music Director/Conductor for Peninsula Civic Light Opera (now Broadway by the Bay) in San Mateo and since 2005 has been Resident Musical Director of Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City. A northern California native, Sudmeier attended Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He has served on the faculty of music programs at the University of Hilo, University of the Pacific and California State University East Bay, and currently is a faculty member at Notre Dame de Namur University.

The Young Composers Competition winners' musical compositions were arranged by Jeff Beal. Beal is an Emmy Award winning composer of music for film, television, recordings and the concert hall. Born in Hayward, he began studying trumpet in third grade at Castro Valley's Marshall Elementary School. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Beal wrote music for such TV shows as "Monk," "Ugly Betty," and "House of Cards" and has won three Emmy Awards.

The concert was Step 4 of Fremont Symphony's five-step revitalization plan, 5 Steps to 50 Years, a year-long movement which also includes a series of meetings and parties scheduled throughout the year to ask for public opinion and the upcoming fundraiser Viva Las Vegas on April 20, 2013 to meet the goal of re-engaging the community and raising $100,000 to kick off the 50th Anniversary Season in October 2013.

For more information on the Symphony's re-engagement events or to support the Symphony, visit or call the Symphony office at (510) 371-4860.

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