SDSU music ensembles return to Symphony by the Sea


Noé Sandoval

The SDSU symphony orchestra performing on Oct. 2.

by Noé Sandoval, Mundo Azteca Editor

Live music has made a huge comeback since COVID-19 regulations have been gradually lifted. Taking advantage of this, San Diego State’s School of Music and Dance was able to finally return to providing good music and entertainment to the San Diego community. 

On Oct. 2, the SDSU Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony performed at the annual Symphony by the Sea event, sponsored by the Port of San Diego at Imperial Beach. 

This event was open to the public having an outdoor performance filled with classical music, band tunes and patriotic songs. People from the community gathered by a set-up tent listening to the ensembles perform. 

Director of SDSU Orchestra Michael Gerdes and Director of Bands Dr. Shannon Kitelinger along with SDSU music had been preparing for this show ever since the start of the semester. 

“This is our seventh year partnering with the Port of San Diego,” Kitelinger said. 

While this event is an annual tradition, it has been almost two years since the SDSU music ensembles returned to Imperial Beach. Last year, the show was canceled due to the pandemic. 

Beginning at 6:30 pm, the show was a great way for people to enjoy the sunset at the beach. Many people in the audience brought their own blanket and lawn chairs to have an enjoyable evening while watching the show. 

The ensembles had arrived much earlier before the show to prepare and set up for the concert, including their soundcheck. 

SDSU Symphony Orchestra percussionist Alejandro Soto talked about the amount of preparation it took to have the orchestra perform that evening. 

“I am one of the percussion coordinators,” Soto said. “It is a big responsibility. We loaded all our stuff on a trailer back at the university and brought everything down here.” 

As part of the percussion section, Soto spent all day making sure to have all the equipment for the performance and having everything ready by the start of the show. 

The program started with the Symphony Orchestra performing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The orchestra segment featured works from Samuel Barber, George Gershwin, Florence Price and Aaron Copland. 

As the sun set, many people gathered around the show tent to hear the harmonious sound of the SDSU orchestra. Their segment ended with George Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture.” 

Samuel Jimenez, SDSU orchestra first violinist, expressed his enthusiasm for performing at the concert. 

“I really enjoy playing Cuban Overture,” Samuel Jimenez said. “If you see any video of me performing tonight, I will be definitely dancing in my seat.” 

The SDSU Wind Symphony played the second half of the performance and provided great music for the night. 

They featured works from Hart, Ticheli and Wilkens, including a Ray Charles rendition of “America the Beautiful.”

As tradition, the Wind Symphony also performed patriotic songs representing every division of the Armed Forces, to honor those who have served our country. After such a great night, the community at Imperial Beach felt happy to have live music back in the streets again. For future performances, check out the SDSU School of Music website.