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56th Edition of Stairway of the Stars To Be Presented Thursday and Friday:

For the 56th time, upwards of 1,000 students in Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District schools will take the stage in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in the district’s musical extravaganza, Stairway of the Stars, on Thursday and Friday, March 10 and 11.

Long one of the most popular musical events in the city, Stairway is designed to showcase both the musical accomplishments of students from all levels and the District’s music curriculum. 

It will begin at 7:30 p.m. each evening. 

Among the ensembles that will perform are the All-District Honor Orchestra (Elementary), High School Jazz Ensemble, Middle and High School Orchestras, choirs and bands, with particular attention to the Middle and High School orchestras. Among the works to be performed this year are the Brandenburg Concerto, Nemu-Susato and “Children of Sanchez” as well as the very big finale featuring nearly all of the 1,000 performers.

This year’s guest conductor is Dr. Stephen Tucker, Director of Orchestras at University of California, Irvine.  Dr. Tucker is an accomplished musician, composer/arranger, teacher and lecturer.  He received his B.M., Conducting from Atlantic Union College, Massachusetts, M.M., Conducting, UCLA, D.M.A., Conducting, in progress, UCLA. He also took a diploma in Orchestral Conducting – Wiener Meisterkurse, at the Vienna Conservatory, Vienna, Austria, 1992.

His principal teachers have included Dr. Jon Robertson, Julius Kalmar, Toshimasa Wada, and Harold Farberman.

Since the fall of 2000, Tucker has been the conductor of the Symphony Orchestra at University of California at Irvine, where he is an Assistant Professor in Music, teaching Conducting, Orchestration, and Graduate Analysis

This year’s Stairway Award recipients are Steve and Debra Cole, who been actively involved in the music programs in Malibu for the past twelve years. Their daughter, a trumpet player, graduated from Malibu High School in 2002 and their son, a drummer, will graduate this year.

A physician, Steve Cole is also a pianist, composer and arranger, who has written many arrangements tailored to the unconventional instrument combinations at Malibu High and has participated as an accompanist, coach, substitute conductor or supporting instrumentalist for virtually every concert or musical at Malibu High School since 1995.

Debra Cole has been continuously committed to music and the arts in the Malibu public schools for over ten years,  serving on the board of the Malibu High School Arts Angels booster club for six years, three of those as president. She is currently the chairperson of the Malibu High School Quilt Committee and an associate director of the Shark Fund.  Since 1995, she has been the principal parent liaison to the Instrumental Music Department, helping Mr. Bill Bixler with the organization and production of all concerts, events, festivals and outings.Now on sale, tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the School District’s Professional Development and Learning Center (PDLC), 2802 Fourth Street, Santa Monica or call (310) 450-8338 ext. 79538.

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