A stylish Tribute to the Trees concert in Dunsmuir

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
Members of the Siskiyou Violins group became members of the audience after they performed with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra at the start of the 2013 Tribute to the Trees concert in the Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens, near the Upper Sacramento River June 15, 2013. The annual concert is a fundraiser for the Botanical Gardens. See more photos at Facebook.com/mtshastanews.

Matt Schuman arrived in white top hat and tails with Deb Harton in a black stretch limo on a comfortably warm Saturday evening at the Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens.

That stylish statement was right in tune with the "Black and White Affair" theme for the annual Tribute to the Trees concert featuring The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra.

Just before the start of the concert, when PACO music director and conductor Ben Simon heard a train coming up the canyon, he mentioned that he forgot his conductor's hat and asked if anyone in the audience had one. Schuman hustled forward to offer his top hat, which Simon accepted with a smile and wore for a while.

The Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens fundraiser has seen some larger crowds in its long past, but the weather couldn't have been much better.

Judy Harvey of the Botanical Gardens said she thinks holding the concert on Father's Day may have had an effect on attendance, but that was necessary to accommodate PACO's schedule. The award-winning youth orchestra for regional string musicians left Dunsmuir Sunday morning for Ashland after spending the night with area host families. Following a performance at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, they were scheduled to catch a flight to Italy Wednesday morning.

Harvey said she agreed with the statement made by food service volunteer Fran Fields about Saturday's weather: "Mother Nature had on her best bib and tucker for the evening."

PACO played three encores, and Harvey said, "There seemed to be an interaction with Ben and the orchestra, a special chemistry this year." The encore featured Hoedown by Copeland, which was on the program, a version of Orange Blossom Special arranged for the Tribute to the Trees concert, and a surprise encore, the national anthem of Italy, which they plan to play during their concert tour to Umbria and Tuscany over the next two weeks.

Harvey called the performance at the start of the concert, when 10 members of the Siskiyou Violins group joined the orchestra, "a special treat... It's a first time for us entertaining a 46 member orchestra for Tribute to the Trees."

Simon called Siskiyou Violins director Faina Podolnaya to the stage for a presentation at the beginning, and he thanked "one very special person," Harriet Alto, "for her tireless efforts year after year... We know all you do behind the scenes and we really appreciate it."

Harvey said, "We received some very nice compliments on the dinner catered by Kate Chadwick of the Dogwood Diner and the professional service from Mr. Jeff Capps and his students of the DHS Culinary Arts Class. Mr. Capps is a graduate of Cordon Blue and the former chef at the Jacksonville Inn. He now gets to be with his family nights and on the weekends but loves working with the students at DHS as a member of the faculty. Our kids don't often get to experience the world of fine dining. (DHS superintendent) Len Foreman told me they took all of the Culinary Arts students up to the Jacksonville Inn for the experience. The students were all dressed up and enjoyed it immensely."