The holidays are an opportunity to bring the community together with Christmas joy and merriment. This holiday season, music is spreading holiday cheer everywhere. The Sammamish Symphony Orchestra is joining in on the jolly fun with their upcoming performance, Holidays in Sammamish.
The Sammamish Symphony’s debut performance this season will be at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center on Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Closer to home, their second performance will be in Sammamish at the Eastlake High School Performing Arts Center on Dec. 4 at 2:00 p.m.
Guests can expect to hear festive holiday songs such as Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, Bach’s Air from Orchestral Suite No.3, and Benoy’s An Overture for Christmas.
The Sammamish Symphony is a volunteer ensemble that is committed to offering quality music at affordable prices for Eastside residents. Talented, dedicated musicians have the opportunity to perform with a full symphony orchestra on the Sammamish Plateau, in downtown Bellevue, and other locations around Seattle.
The musical organization is now in its 31st season. First known as the Providence Point Players, the Sammamish Symphony has grown to become an irreplaceable part of the Eastside artistic community.
Currently conducted by Adam Stern, the ensemble has 45-50 musicians, all of who joined through audition. Their ages range from early 20s to 40 and up. For the past six weeks, the musicians committed to weekly rehearsals at Eastlake High School.
Valerie Harris, 46, of Bellevue, is a member of the Sammamish Symphony and the current Eastlake High School orchestra director. In an interview with the Sammamish Independent, Harris talked about her experiences with music and joining the Sammamish Symphony this year.
“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love music. My mom said I started singing almost as soon as I could talk,” Harris said.
While Harris is primarily a violinist, she also plays viola, piano, cello, and bass. She explored her musical talents beginning with the violin at age 10. Frequently being in her mother’s special education classroom, Harris developed an early interest in teaching. She shared her learning by teaching private violin lessons at the age of 15, and began teaching orchestra after graduating college in 1999.
“My most influential teachers growing up were my orchestra and choir teachers. The music rooms were my safe place where I felt I could excel and feel valued. When I started college, my plan was to become a professional violinist with classroom teaching as a backup. I found that I enjoyed the classroom much more than being in a practice room,” Harris explained.
As the Sammamish Symphony rehearses in her present day classroom, Harris has always been interested in joining the ensemble. This year, with all her kids in college, Harris strives to focus more on music. She joined the Symphony this September in order to start playing her instrument as a performer once more.
The Sammamish Symphony has allowed Harris to better express her own musicality. Every musician in the organization showcases their talents with hopes of bringing joy and happiness to their audiences this holiday season.
Tickets for the Sammamish Symphony’s Holidays in Sammamish program can be purchased here.