A LEMONY SNICKET HOLIDAY — December 23 at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek

The California Symphony’s A LEMONY SNICKET HOLIDAY offers Walnut Creek audiences a sing-along, the Nutcracker, hot cocoa, and a whodunit orchestra mystery, with two shows at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek on Saturday December 23, at 4PM and 8PM. Tickets start at just $20 for kids and students.


· With festive favorites plus new orchestral classic The Composer is Dead, the California Symphony’s holiday program is an annual, family-friendly, annual, symphony tradition — right here in Walnut Creek.

· Tony nominee and Broadway star Manoel Felciano narrates The Composer Is Dead, by Nathaniel Stookey with text by Lemony Snicket — a whodunit mystery, in the style of Peter and the Wolf and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.

· Arrive an hour early for kid-friendly fun, including a musical instrument petting zoo, hot cocoa, and free activities in the lobby.

Photographs (L-R) by Paul Smith, Carson Ellis (illustration), and Lindsay Hale.

Join the California Symphony and Music Director Donato Cabrera to ring in the holiday season with A LEMONY SNICKET HOLIDAY on Saturday, December 23 2017 at 4PM and 8PM at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek. The program features an audience sing-along, selections from the Nutcracker, Sleigh Ride, and modern narrated orchestral classic The Composer is Dead. Tickets also include free, family-friendly activities in the lobby starting an hour before the show.

The Composer Is Dead, Plus Festive Favorites

The Composer is Dead.

“Composer” is a word which here means “a person who sits in a room, muttering and humming and figuring out what notes the orchestra is going to play.” This is called composing. But last night, the Composer was not muttering. He was not humming. He was not moving, or even breathing.

This is called decomposing.

The Composer is Dead by Bay Area composer Nathaniel Stookey, with text by famed children’s author Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events), is a modern classic in the style of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. The composition was originally commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and premiered in 2006, with Snicket himself as the narrator.

In the piece, the composer is dead and someone in the orchestra is guilty! The Inspector — Broadway star and Tony nominee Manoel Felciano — tries to solve the mystery and in the process of the interrogation, he uncovers the sounds and characteristics of various instruments in the orchestra. In addition to being a great introduction for those new to the symphony, Snicket’s witty wordplay and inside jokes make the piece fun for audiences of all ages.

“Perhaps the murderer is lurking in the woodwinds! Where were you last night, woodwinds?”

“We were doing bird imitations,” said the Flutes, the shiniest and highest pitched of the woodwinds. “It seems like that’s all we ever do. Whenever the orchestra needs a bird, there we are.”

The program also includes selections from the Nutcracker, Johann Strauss Sr’s rousing Radetzky March (with the audience clapping the beat), plus an audience sing-along (Deck the Hall, Silent Night and Jingle Bells), with lyrics provided in the free program book — so you can tell your “fa”s from your “la, la, la”s.

Arrive Early for Kid-Friendly Activities

The fun starts in the Lesher Center Lobby an hour before the show:

· Drop by the musical instrument petting zoo to touch, hold and even try playing the different instruments in the orchestra.

· Take pictures on the conductor’s podium on the lobby.

· Collect a set of free musical instrument cards to help the Inspector identify suspects in The Composer is Dead.

· Hot cocoa will be available for purchase in the lobby, along with a selection of adult beverages for grown ups.


Saturday, December 23 at 4:00PM and 8:00PM at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek

California Symphony’s Holiday Concerts: A LEMONY SNICKET HOLIDAY

Donato Cabrera, conductor California Symphony

Manoel Felciano, narrator


Anderson — A Christmas Festival

Tchaikovsky — Selections from The Nutcracker: Overture Miniature, March, Russian Dance, Arabian Dance, Chinese Dance, Dance of the Reed Flutes, Waltz of the Flowers, Waltz of the Snowflakes

Strauss, Sr. — Radetzky March, Opus 228

Stookey — The Composer is Dead, text by Lemony Snicket; Manoel Felciano, narrator

Various — Audience Sing-Along: Deck the Hall, Silent Night, Jingle Bells

Anderson — Sleigh Ride


Tickets are $42-$72 and $20 for students, subject to change. Tickets are available at www.californiasymphony.org or by calling the Lesher Center at 925–943–7469.

** UPDATE: The matinee program is almost sold out. For better availability and better prices, choose the evening performance.**

This program is also part of our new Saturday Night Series, with tickets from $33 when you choose all three concerts in the series, including:

A LEMONY SNICKET HOLIDAY — Saturday, December 23 at 8pm

PASTORAL BEETHOVEN — Saturday, January 20 at 8pm

MOZART REQUIEM — Saturday, March 17 at 8pm

For details, visit our website.


The California Symphony, now in its fifth season under the leadership of Music Director Donato Cabrera, is a world-class, professional orchestra based in Walnut Creek, in the heart of the San Francisco East Bay since 1990. Our vibrant concert series is renowned for featuring classics alongside American repertoire and works by living composers. The Orchestra is comprised of musicians who have performed with the orchestras of the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, and others, and many of its musicians have been performing with the California Symphony for nearly all its existence.

Outside of the concert hall, the symphony actively supports music education for social change through its El Sistema-inspired, “Sound Minds” program at Downer Elementary School in San Pablo, CA, which brings intensive music instruction and academic enrichment to Contra Costa County schoolchildren for free, in an area where 94% of students qualify for the federal free or reduced price lunch program.

We also host the highly competitive Young American Composer-in-Residence program, which this year welcomes its first female composer, Katherine Balch.

California Symphony has launched the careers of some of today’s most-performed soloists and composers, including violinists Sarah Chang and Anne Akiko Meyers, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and composers such as Mason Bates, Christopher Theofanidis, and Kevin Puts. The Orchestra performs at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.

For more information, please visit californiasymphony.org.


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