One of the reasons for that dates back to 1933, when San Francisco native and Kentfield resident Maude Fay Symington – famed throughout Europe as a Wagnerian soprano – founded the Marin Music Chest, a nonprofit organization that sought to bring world-renowned musicians to Marin.
In celebration of its 85th anniversary, Marin Music Chest is showcasing five emerging classical musicians at its annual “Young Artists Concert,” set for Sunday, May 20 at 5pm at the Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church in Mill Valley. The concert, co-sponsored by Mill Valley Chamber Music Society, features solo performances by Mill Valley residents Benjamin Wall-Feng and Lorenzo Soleri, as well as Novato residents Art Zhao and Chris Boyadjiev and Benjamin Wu of Belvedere. The concert is free and open to the public.
In Marin Music Chest’s nascent stages, Symington and other co-founders actively recruited Marin residents to join the organization as members by contributing whatever they could afford, be it five cents or hundreds of dollars. Members received a card that entitled them to attend each concert for 25 cents. Non-members paid three dollars per concert.
Classically trained baritone Nelson Eddy headlined the first concert in 1934, and was catapulted into stardom a year later when he starred with Jeanette MacDonald in the lavish MGM musical “Naughty Marietta.” When Eddy returned to Marin in 1935, autograph-seeking fans mobbed him after the performance. Marin Music Chest garnered world famous talent to perform outdoors at Forest Meadows in San Rafael in subsequent years.
After more than forty years of presenting concerts, the Marin Music Chest made its scholarship program its primary mission, providing financial support to promising students of classical music and dance.
“Receiving the Marin Music Chest scholarship made it possible for me to take private violin lessons from a symphony violinist,” said the late Hugo Rinaldi, a 1938 Marin Music Chest scholarship winner, who became director of the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra and established the Marin Opera.
Other Marin Music Chest scholarships recipients have included Joseph Alessi, principal trombone, New York Philharmonic Orchestra; Joanna Berman who was a principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet; Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici; soprano Jane Marsh, who performed internationally and with the San Francisco and Metropolitan Operas.
Marin Music Chest awarded scholarships to 14 young classical musicians in 2018, including pianists, violinists and vocalists.
The 411: In celebration of its 85th anniversary, Marin Music Chest is showcasing five emerging classical musicians at its annual “Young Artists Concert,” set for Sunday, May 20 at 5pm at the Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church in Mill Valley. The concert is free and open to the public. Donations accepted. MORE INFO.