Foothills Phil celebrates 20 musical years today

2013-05-05T00:00:00Z Foothills Phil celebrates 20 musical years todayCathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

In May 1993, the upstart Foothills Phil played its first public concert.

The group was just a few months out of the gate, a newcomer to Tucson's classical music scene and one that stood out from all the others for its goals and makeup.

Its members ranged from junior high school musicians to senior citizens, all working together for the love of playing music. The goal was not to be perfect; imperfection was celebrated so long as it served the greater purpose - giving folks who otherwise would never consider performing a chance.

Former Tucson Symphony Orchestra music director Robert Bernhardt led the first rehearsal before turning over the podium to conductor László Veres.

Veres has led the group since, watching as whole families joined, spreading out between the string and brass sections. There's a family of trombonists with the orchestra now that includes a father and several children; the youngest is in junior high school, said the orchestra's self-proclaimed "soccer mom" Sandra Saufle.

Her two home-schooled sons, Kenneth and Daniel, play trumpet with the orchestra. Oldest son Daniel is going to the University of Arizona next fall to study music.

Veres will be at the podium at 2 p.m. today to lead the orchestra in its 20th anniversary concert. It's at Catalina Foothills High School auditorium, 4300 E. Sunrise Drive, and tickets are $10 at the door, $5 for children 12 and younger. For more information or to join the orchestra, contact Catherine Peterson at 209-8315.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.

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