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SMITH: Green Center's world-class talent

Published: Monday, January 28, 2013 at 4:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.

Diane Peterson, the violinist, PD symphony reviewer and mother of our son, took to me along Saturday to see and hear Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott at the Green Music Center.

It was sort of like dragging a connoisseur of Pee Chee Folder doodles to the Louvre. But sitting in the handcrafted wooden hall as it resonated with the mastery and passion of that duo, I was in bliss.

I'd hope everyone, even the staunchest critics of how Weill Hall came to be, will pick a performance and experience for themselves this venue and its potential to attract the finest music in the world.

If you haven't yet been, a suggestion: On March 8, two acclaimed products of Santa Rosa public school music programs — both of whom graduated just 10 years ago — will return home to display their artistry in Weill Hall.

Kyle Covington studied at Maria Carrillo, where teacher Andy Collinsworth persuaded the former trumpet player to take up the trombone. Dooley was a Santa Rosa High percussionist refined and inspired by teacher Mark Wardlaw.

FROM CARRILLO, Covington went to Juilliard on a presidential scholarship. The honor didn't surprise teacher Collinsworth, now Sonoma State University's director of bands and program director for music education.

“He was literally practicing four or five hours a day in high school,” Collinsworth recalled. “I remember leaving him in the music room and telling him, 'Just turn off the lights when you leave.' ”

World-traveled, Covington now is principal trombonist with the San Diego Symphony. On March 8, he'll appear in Weill Hall as featured artist of the SSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble's performance that will precede the Sonoma Wind Band Festival.

AS FOR DOOLEY, he went from SRHS to USC to study music composition and mathematics. Currently completing his doctorate at the University of Michigan, he has won awards for compositions that include “Point Blank.”

Collinsworth will conduct when the SSU wind ensemble performs the piece at the March 8 concert. Later in the month, “Point Blank” will be the featured composition at a national conference of college band directors.

“For a young composer, that's a huge deal,” Collinsworth said.” Also huge is that Dooley and Covington are coming home to play the Green Center.

MOVIE AND A MEAL was a very big deal for the dozens of homeless people treated to a night out Saturday by ophthalmologist Gary Barth and staffers of Santa Rosa's Eye Care Institute.

Barth's crew invited everybody sheltered at the Family Support Center to come see the hopeful musical, “Les Misérables,” at the Roxy. About two dozen went along. Maybe another 20 shelter residents, many of them youngsters, joined the party for a post-movie meal at Chevy's.

After dinner a homeless gentle approached Barth's wife, Kevin White to say, “Thank you for the movie, thank you for the food and most of all thank you for spending the time with us.”

Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.

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