Originally scheduled to be held at the Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens, the entire production – including musicians, catering, auction, bar, and numerous floral centerpieces – all had to be moved to the old Methodist Church on Oak Street.

Following Friday night’s spectacular electrical storm, the outdoor River Garden Symphony 15th Annual Gala experienced a last-minute change of venue on Saturday. When it came time to set up the electrical sound equipment in the park, it was determined that the live music event, presented by Music by the Mountain, needed to be moved to an indoor venue, due to impending rain.

Originally scheduled to be held at the Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens, the entire production – including musicians, catering, auction, bar, and numerous floral centerpieces – all had to be moved to the old Methodist Church on Oak Street. The concrete patio area in front of the venerable old building was spontaneously transformed into an alfresco dining venue – thanks to the several tent canopies erected at the last minute to shelter the food, drinks and gala attendees.

According to those who remember when the building was still being used for church services, last Saturday’s gala may well have been the most festive and colorful event to have ever been held outside there in the history of the old Methodist Church building. Luckily, the weather held during the silent auction, hors d’oeuvres, and no-host bar, which all took place before the concert began.

The concert, which was held in the sanctuary, opened with performances by each of the three Carol Medrano Memorial Scholarship winners. Ian Budesa opened the evening performance with his vocal rendition of “Nature Boy.” Asher Neitsch played his original composition, “Lindale,” on keyboard. He was accompanied by Georgie Bass on cello, and Tealia Nuti on flute. Anna Freudenburg, who will be majoring in Worship Music, played and sang her original worship song, “Hold Me Fast,” which was a fitting song to be played in the old sanctuary. Following their three performances, each of the student-artists were presented with their well-deserved scholarship awards.

The main musical event was a classical concert performed by the Pacific Crest Music Festival Orchestra. The concert was the culminating event of the weeklong Dunsmuir festival which began on Aug. 4. They opened the classical concert program with an Allegretto for Strings, composed by Mary Bianco, of Paso Robles and San Francisco, who attended the Dunsmuir concert.

Following Bianco’s original composition, the orchestra played a Flute Concerto in G major, K 313, by Mozart. Sergio Miragliotta, of Encinitas, played flute, with the entire piece enhanced by the perfectly timed and spontaneous addition of the natural percussion of summer rain outside the open doors, reminding everyone why the concert had to be changed to an indoor venue.

During intermission, Leon Grabowski, director of the Siskiyou Senior Players, auctioned off tickets to the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Dr. Scott Durbin emceed the evening’s activities; and Black Diamond Catering catered the pre-concert gourmet hors d’oeuvres for the gala.

Music by the Mountain, which presented the gala, is a local non-profit organization which, according to their website, “presents world-class live classical music performances and school outreach in Siskiyou County.”