Musicians’ Presentation to Pasadena Symphony Association Board Nov. 30, 2017

psa board meeting

Musicians addressed the Board of the Pasadena Symphony Association Nov. 30, 2017. 


For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Marissa Benedict and I am the principal trumpet of your orchestra and have been for nearly 15 years.

I am now the chair of the Orchestra Committee since the passing of Maurice Grants.

We know that this is a first, having musicians speak at a board meeting during collective bargaining and we want to thank you for giving us the opportunity.

We are at an extremely important moment for the future of our orchestra. The Pasadena board has always been an ally to musicians, so it’s natural that we should reach out to you to help us find a way forward. We want to make sure you have a full picture of the pressures that my colleagues and I face.

We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think it was important for you to hear from us, both in thanking you for all you’ve done in the recovery of the orchestra, and to share our frustrations and concerns regarding the integrity of the orchestra. Continue reading


Pasadena Symphony Musicians Vote Overwhelmingly to Authorize Strike


Press release from the American Federation of Musicians Local 47:

LOS ANGELES (December 1, 2017): Musicians of the Pasadena Symphony and POPS orchestras voted today by an overwhelming majority to authorize a strike, potentially halting concerts during the popular holiday season and into the New Year.

Musicians have been without a contract since September of 2015, when their last agreement expired. Ten years ago, when the orchestra faced financial uncertainty, the musicians did everything possible to ensure the orchestra’s survival: absorbing cost-saving cuts, forgoing raises for years, even playing without compensation. At the time, the Pasadena Symphony Association promised musicians that these cuts would be temporary. Current management has disavowed those commitments. Now, a decade after the crisis, Pasadena Symphony musicians have yet to reach an agreement that restores their generous concessions. Continue reading

Constance Deeter – Bass

Connie Deeter

Connie Deeter graduated from Juilliard  where she studied with David Walter. She has performed with the Pasadena, Redlands, Pacific, San Diego, Long Beach and Santa Barbara symphonies, as well as many other groups in Southern California. She has also played on a number of movie soundtracks.

When she was in 5th grade, Connie’s music class went on a field trip to a Fort Worth Symphony concert where she saw a bass played for the first time. The next year, she started learning how to play the bass at school. And — to the surprise of her parents — she figured out how to bring it home with her.

She maintains a private studio and teaches at Loyola Marymount University.

“I play a very big old English bass. It is my favorite bass I’ve ever played. One time after a concert, someone from the audience told me they thought it sounded like it was coming out of the depths of the Earth. I like that.

“On parts of it there are some strange looking holes and dents in the wood that Lisa Gass (fellow Pasadena Symphony bassist and professional luthier) told me are places where beetles bored into the tree while it was alive. So there might be 250 year old mummified worms in there!

“I think about the people who played my bass before me and wonder what they were like, and then I wonder about the people who will play it after me.”

Jim Self – Tuba

Jim Self Bowl 1 PDF

My main instrument I use for symphony playing is a prototype large CC Tuba I named “Monica.” It is a copy of the famous tuba that Arnold Jacobs of the Chicago Symphony played.

Jim Self is a Los Angeles-based freelance musician. Since l974 he has worked for all the major Hollywood studios performing for over 1,500 motion pictures and hundreds of television shows and records.

He holds principal tuba positions with the Pasadena Symphony, Pacific Symphony, and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and is principal tuba/cimbasso in the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra which won a Grammy for Kurt Weill’s Mahagonney.

His solos in major films include John Williams’ scores to Jurassic Park, Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Hook, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Besides his work as a tubist, Jim maintains an active doubling career performing on bass trombone, cimbasso, contra-bass trombone, and (rarely now) string and electric basses and the Steiner EVI (electronic valve instrument). His latest new instrument is the FLUBA – an original design (picture a tuba-sized flugel horn). It is very unique and is a great solo instrument.

His hobby is flying his 1973 Piper Arrow for fun, and sometimes to gigs.

jim self airplane

David Searfoss – Trumpet

david searfoss fb

Associate Principal Trumpet

I am of the belief that the type of sound you want is formed in your brain. After listening for countless hours to great trumpet players I have come up what I believe is “my sound” and I feel that it is unique and easily identifiable to the discerning ear.

Keeping that in mind, the Bach Stradivarius trumpet enables me to produce that sound with ease, gives me the ability to adjust to various pitches that other players lock into without sacrificing my sound and allows me to have the best technique possible. I am sure that my sound would be similar on an inferior instrument but not the “real thing” and unlike the Strad will not keep it’s great tone quality when playing at a forte or fortissimo dynamic.

The Bach Stradivarius was made by Vincent Bach and was a kind of copy of the French “Besson” which was popular in the early 20th century. Mr. Bach built the “Strad” in New York City by hand. Later a small manufacturing plant was in Mt. Vernon New York and finally the company moved to Elkhart, Indiana where they began to produce the instruments to sell to a wider market. The company was eventually bought out by the Selmer company and remained in Elkhart. The production was stepped up due to demand, and in my opinion the quality of the instrument diminished.

Theresa Dimond – percussion

theresa-dimond-cymbalFor percussionist Theresa Dimond, finding her instrument was an adventure in musical exploration.

“Percussion was not my first instrument,” she says. “And it is interesting how it became my ‘chosen’ instrument. I started on accordion at age 5 — which is obligatory if you come from a big Italian family like I do. I then went to piano lessons a year or so later. Then, in fourth grade, I took up oboe, English horn and percussion.” Continue reading