It Takes A Village to Support a Community Orchestra

Members of the Topanga Symphony ready to strike the first chords of the March 10 performance. Photo by Tom Mitchell

The Topanga Symphony celebrated its 36th season with the March 10, 2019 concert of musical classics by Mozart, an original work by Kessler, and an avant garde piece by Paul Hindemith.

Baritone soloist Ronald Hedlund entertained with the narration of an innovative, creative, and humorous musical story, “How the Aardvark Lost His Voice,” by Kessler and captivated the audience with Mozart’s “Per Questa Bella Mano.” The afternoon was perfectly punctuated with Mozart’s “Jupiter Symphony.”

In August of 1982 classical music enthusiasts living in Topanga came together to form the very first Topanga Symphony concert. Jerome Kessler as Music Director and Conductor was able to bring together an amazing group of talented musicians from all parts of the Los Angeles area. Under his baton, musicians flocked to Topanga to be part of a real grass roots community orchestra.   

Free concerts presented at the Topanga Community House are not free to produce.  The Topanga community has been supporting classical music in the canyon by volunteering behind the scenes to ensure the concerts continue. Besides the obvious, enormous talents of the musicians, the volunteers, donors, and advertisers are just as essential to the success of the orchestra.  

The Topanga Chamber of Commerce has honored the Topanga Symphony as “Non-Profit of the Year” for 2019. Here are the names of some of the businesses and individuals that support the Topanga Symphony; Symphony Board Members: Arthur Mintz, Gavin Koon, Margreet Ray, Jeanne Mitchell, Greg Humphries, Bob Nordyke, and Andrea Ehrgott. Ernie Demontreux is the Manager, Nira Lichten volunteers her time to produce the program, Harry Moses volunteers with refreshments at the concerts. Neil Shaw brings his expertise in audio engineering to record the concerts and does many other things in support of the orchestra. Tom Mitchell is the official photographer. Karen Lu writes the program notes, and Steve Ray volunteers in many different and important ways.

Some of the Topanga businesses that have supported the orchestra with advertisements in the program are: Inn of the 7th Ray, Canyon View Ranch, Searchlight Insurance, Bankers Group, Elaine Hanson Realty, realtor Karen Dannenbaum, Sienna Skin Care, Menlo Scientific Acoustics, realtor Tanya Starcevich, Eric Nelson of Topanga Properties, Dianne Porchia Mind-Body Medicine & Spirituality, the Topanga Community Club, Morrison Heating & A/C, and Kathy Shaw Music Studio. Our Annual Fundraiser has been generously hosted by Teresa and Bruce Royer, Catherine McClenahan, and the Bordier family with many others who have donated to the Silent Auction to help raise funds.


“Friends of the Topanga Symphony” are the individual members of the community who donate annually to the orchestra. Memberships are tax-deductible and the levels of contribution range from Donor, $1,000 or more, to Regular member at $25.  The annual Membership Drive is held in May.

SAVE THE DATE! Topanga is a very special place and the Topanga Symphony is one dramatic reason why it is so. The next concert will be on June 23, at 7 p.m.


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