On March 8, 2019, the Cordova Community Council awarded a Distinguished Community Service Organization award to Symphony d'Oro in recognition of the symphony's commitment and service to the community. More information is available at https://www.cordovacouncil.org/2019-symphony-d-oro 

Below are comments that accompanied the award during the ceremony.

Six years ago, visitors to City Hall for an observance of the city’s 10th anniversary found themselves surrounded by art – a spectacular collection of paintings and photographs.

Within City Council Chambers, something wonderful was also happening. Crammed together, with no room for listeners to sit other than the floor, the familiar melody of Swan Lake took flight.

Against the odds, the Rancho Cordova Civic Light Orchestra was born.

Rancho Cordova did not have a performing arts center, so they took their first concerts to a church where they filled the seats. They then talked KP International into allowing them to play there. And oh, what fun they had, pioneering the crazy notion that people would enjoy a classical concert in a food court, with grocery carts banging in the background. Guess what? They did.

Since those early days, the orchestra has played at the California Aerospace Museum. They have harmonized at the California Railroad Museum. A winery? Why not? Under the Capitol Dome – of course!

When the Cordova High School Performing Arts Theater opened its doors, the Rancho Cordova Civic Light Orchestra was the first community organization to take the stage, packing the place.

Never losing their pioneer spirit, they have commissioned composers to write them original music – including a full concerto to honor a Gold River piano teacher who touched many in our community before her life came to an end way too early.

They defied the doubters again when they produced an orchestra concert that was one-part comedy, one-part symphony and one part drag queen show (yes, you heard that correctly) of quality so great, the audience clamored for more.

It’s always special when the Symphony rolls in with ensembles to play for the Rancho Cordova Luncheon and for City Hall art receptions, Holiday Pop-up Galleries, and more. They have used their music for community good, collecting turkeys for the Cordova Food Locker to distribute at Thanksgiving.

The Symphony is blessed with a creative and fun-loving musical genius as its conductor in Pete Nowlen. A trip to a Symphony concert is not only a harmonious journey, it is a musical education, with the charming conductor teaching the course.

You would pay many hundreds of dollars each year to soak this all in, but with the exception of one fund-raising concert per year, you experience it all for free because the 60 musicians are all volunteers – doing what they do best to enlighten and enliven the lives of all of us.

When they are not playing their instruments, they are preparing programs, designing fliers, shepherding music, identifying rehearsal and performance space, and imagining the next show. It takes way more than musical instruments to have a Symphony, and ours is all volunteers.

As the Symphony enters its sixth year, we honor you for the thousands of volunteer hours spent preparing to enrich our lives as only quality music can do. A source of community pride, you are musical ambassadors who elevate our city image, our musical knowledge and community soul. You are a most Distinguished Community Service Organization. Bravo!


Symphony d'Oro
1124 13th Ave., Sacramento, CA 95822

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