The Mysterious Rhapsody -- Our 3-part story behind a musical history-making event

Part One

VCS Radio Conservatory trumpet students look over parts and make changes during a rehearsal session
while bass student looks on.

It's such a huge challenge to solve musical mysteries... But That's what our VCS Radio Conservatory students love to do... 

In the case of the elusive Centennial Rhapsody, written by the late Sammy Timberg, not all of the information was left behind. The rhapsody was composed shortly after Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," but while the former went through many revisions; (started as a jazz ensemble work -- ultimately becoming famous for its orchestra version), Mr. Timberg's composition was performed only once in what was argued to be a "work for hire." This legal dispute "locked up" the work for many decades until it was found that he, in fact owned the rights. By that time much of the orchestration was missing and not prepared for performance in it's completed form. Sammy Timberg passed away August of 1992 at the age of 99 -- leaving behind a great legacy of his wonderful music as well as an enticing mystery to solve! 

How a Musical Mystery is solved 

It's like assembling a jigsaw puzzle --- piece by piece --- measure by measure. Each clue starts to bring the total picture to light. We know some of what was on his original score though parts of it are missing. We know the unique style of this iconic composer, best known for his early 20th century animation scoring of such high profile works as Betty Boop, Popeye, Superman and Gulliver's Travels. We have some early recordings of his piano performances to give us clues as to what might have been on his mind as he penned this wonderful piano and orchestra opus. We know of the music of his time that was shaped by turbulent events in the world.  And, we have the amazing blessing of his daughter, Mrs. Pat Timberg, who has been a very important player in unraveling the mystery of this fascinating venture into a world premiere of her father's music. 

Oh... and we have one more thing in our favor. Students who have years of experience in early 20th century restorations and performances -- especially in silent films. that's certainly unique qualifications for kids ages 10 to 18. 

VCS 12th grade student, Evan Losoya  is a performance, production and composition major who is usually seen in the front row of our orchestra as the principle oboeist will be performing the piano solo -- including his own composed extended cadenzas. 

All of this begs the question: Can these kids handle such a feat? As a teacher, there's no greater satisfaction than seeing students do great things and knowing they're prepared for the challenge... I've never seen kids work as hard as VCS in music. They're ready!

VCS Radio Symphony and Jazz
Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre
1010 Ulatis Drive
Tuesday February 21st --- 7:30pm

tickets availalble soon