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Orchestra performance to be in tune with Erle Stanley Garner Mystery Weekend

In honor of Erle Stanley Gardner Mystery Weekend, the California Chamber Orchestra will entertain its November 7 audience with classical favorites and a completely new composition written especially for the occasion.

The weekend, which honors the famous mystery author – best known for writing the Perry Mason novels, spawning the Perry Mason TV show – will also offer aspiring writers of all ages the opportunity to participate in a mystery writing contest and attend writers’ conferences, all designed to help understand the mystery genre.

Gardner lived in Temecula from 1937 until his death in 1970. To offer a musical and theatrical aspect to the weekend, the California Chamber Orchestra will begin with the complete original version of Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.”

“Appalachian Spring” was selected because of its popularity with area residents, said artistic director Warren Gref. As the music is performed by the orchestra, members of the Temecula Dance Company will perform the ballet, which tells the story of 1800s American pioneers celebrating after building a new farmhouse.

But what audience members can really look forward to is the world premiere of Suite Noir - The Passion of Perry Mason, a piece written especially for Erle Stanley Gardner Mystery Weekend by San Diego State University professor and composer Joseph Waters.

Waters, called a composer of acoustic, electro-acoustic and interdisciplinary works, belongs to the first generation of classical composers that grew up playing in rock bands. Many of his works explore live performance and interactive electronics. The performance elements include traditional acoustic instruments from around the world, electronics, “live” experimental film scores and performance art.

Waters was commissioned to compose a piece for the weekend because of his experience as a “modern classical composer with an eclectic style,” said Gref.

Currently, Waters is composing an ongoing series of duets for solo virtuoso acoustic instrumentalists with live electronic accompaniment, as well as works for ensembles of all sizes. He has presented and performed his works throughout the United States and in Russia, China, Spain, Hungary, Mexico, Hong Kong, Cuba, Argentina, Australia, The Netherlands and New Zealand.

For individuals interested in getting a sneak preview to the event, Gref said the California Chamber Orchestra often has final rehearsals that are open to the public, a perfect way to get a “sneak peek” at what the performance will entail.

“Orchestra members are usually in jeans and other casual attire when they practice, but audience members are welcome to watch a part of the rehearsal,” said Gref.

The music and dance performance will take place Saturday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m. at ‘The Merc’ in Old Town Temecula. Tickets for the music and dance performance by the California Chamber Orchestra range from $2.50 to $30 each. For tickets, call (866) 653-8696.

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