A Dream Becomes A Reality
1963: A Year of Beginnings for the Symphony
In 1961, creating a Symphony Orchestra for the community was the dream of Blanche Nissim, a La Mirada resident and concert pianist. She and a determined group of community advocates and local musicians united to make her dream a reality. Their Mission was to provide free concerts for residents who appreciated the cultural value of beautiful music in their lives and an opportunity for local musicians to share their talents.
In 1963, Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws were readied and an Executive Board of nine prominent and devoted members of the community was formed.
The La Mirada City Council approved the concept and unanimously voted to become a sponsor and to provide much needed funding – a policy which continues to this day. The orchestra performed for the early years in the multipurpose room at La Mirada High School and subsequently in the Crowell Concert Hall at Biola College. A series of conductors directed the concerts until1968, when Leon Guide accepted the baton and graced the podium at Crowell Hall and later at the new and beautiful La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. Leon Guide completed a total of 33 dedicated years until his passing in 2001. David Stenske, the orchestra’s Concertmaster for many Seasons was then named Music Director/Conductor.
In 2002 the Orchestra Association experienced a “new beginning”, formed an Executive Board of enthusiastic and supportive members, and added a new element. Following Leon Guide’s recommendation, and in an effort to see that the music genre will be kept alive for our local students, an expanded series of Youth Enrichment Programs was created to provide enhancement, education, classroom performances, and special daytime youth concerts.
Dr. Robert Frelly was selected as the new Music Director/Conductor in 2012, followed by our current conductor, Alan Mautner in 2014. His qualifications, enhanced by his involvement with community, university and youth orchestras, make him an ideal choice to take the La Mirada Symphony to an exciting new level.