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SAACA brings popular classical music series back to Oro Valley

SAACA brings popular classical music series back to Oro Valley

After an absence of at least a decade, the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance is bringing classical music back to Oro Valley’s Riverfront Park.

The volunteer Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra opens the 2020 Riverfront Classical Concert Series on Sunday, March 8, and different groups will perform every other Sunday through April 19.

Admission is free, and food trucks will be on site. You can bring a chair or a blanket to sit in the grass of the park’s sprawling lawn with the stunning Pusch Mountains ridge as a backdrop.

The concert series dates to SAACA’s predecessor, the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council. That group, formed in 1997, was focused on bringing performing arts including dance and classical music to Oro Valley, but the financial realities of focusing just on the northwest-side town prompted the group in 2009 to expand its mission and focus beyond Oro Valley to the greater Tucson and surrounding areas. GOVAC became SAACA and within a couple years had expanded its visual and performing arts programming to Oro Valley, Marana and Tucson, including six popular concert series held at malls and parks.

The Riverfront Classical Concert Series will be held at Oro Valley Riverfront Park, 551 W. Lambert Lane, with performances beginning at 4 p.m. The lineup:

  • March 8: SASO’s sneak peek of “Tchaikovsky and a Painter,” the ensemble’s next concert of its 40th anniversary season. The concert, which SASO will perform in full March 14 and 15, includes works by Bizet, Dvorák, Offenbach, Rossini and Johann Strauss. Colorado painter Armando Silva will create a visual interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 while the orchestra performs the work.
  • March 22: University of Arizona Low Brass Quartet — Cari Earnhardt, Dan Sherman, Copland Rose and Neal Romberg — play classical and jazz.
  • April 5: Phoenix-based Desert Winds Steel Orchestra — steel pan percussion, that is — takes its repertorial cues from Latin and pop songs as well as groovy island tunes. The 15-member ensemble has an open invite from Jimmy Buffett whenever the legendary musician plays Phoenix’s Ak-Chin Pavilion.
  • April 19: the 70-piece wind ensemble Santa Cruz Summer Winds, based out of the Community Performing Arts Center in Green Valley, features some of the area’s finest wind instrumentalists.

For more information, head to

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch

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