Wednesday, June 20, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on December 6th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 39

Centuries of music

The Festival Strings present a diverse program to celebrate La Purisima Mission's Founding Day


La Purisima Mission has stood the test of time. Sure, it’s had some help along the way, but rebuilds and restoration aside, the beautiful landmark is one of the Central Coast’s most prized landmarks.

Singing with strings:
The Festival Strings have prepared a program featuring violin, viola, cello, guitar, and voice at the mission.

La Purisima Mission State Historic Park is celebrating the 225th Founding Day at the historical mission site with a daytime mass and an evening candlelight performance. Scheduled to perform is Festival Strings, a coalition of local musicians headed by Diane Siminski, founder of the Lompoc Pops Orchestra, who has prepared a program of historical music to pay homage to the mission.

“I thought it would be important for the music to be music that was around the time of the mission,” she said. “This is a big one; 225 years is quite a landmark.”

The music Siminski selected for the program is inspired not just by the time of the mission, but the context. The show opens with a Hebrew chant, she explained, that leads into the Israeli national anthem.

“It has a lot to do with the people of Bethlehem,” she said. “I tried to begin with those two in a chant/violin solo form.”

Chanting was surely heard in the mission during its prime, being the preferred style of musical expression by the Catholic Church. The program isn’t that limited, though—it will also feature selections to ring in the holiday season.

“The next one is a medley of Christmas carols,” Siminski said. “It starts with ‘Away in the Manger,’ which, the poetry was written by St. Francis of Italy in 1223, but the music was composed by an anonymous German in the 15th century.”

Many of the early Christmas carols, Siminski continued, were derived from early church music. Another selection from the program for instance, “Oh Come Emanuel,” came from a plain song, an evolved form of Gregorian chant. Other carols came from the folk tradition.

“In the case of ‘What Child is This,’ which is also called ‘Greensleeves,’ it came around Shakespeare’s time and was probably passed from troubadour to troubadour,” she said.

Siminski, as the founder and concertmistress for the Lompoc Pops, has a large number of musicians to choose from when assembling the Festival Strings. For this concert, she’s calling on the talents of violist Tom Turner, violinist and cellist Jed Beebe, guitarist Jeff DeVine, and soprano Holly J. Williams.

Celebrate history
La Purisima Mission celebrates its founding day Dec. 8 with a mass at noon and an evening concert featuring Festival Strings including Diane Siminski, Tom Turner, Jed Beebe, and Jeff Devine with vocalist Holly J. Williams at 7 p.m. La Purisima Mission State Park is at 2295 Purisima Road, Lompoc. Cost is $5. More info: 733-3713 or

Santa Barbara County Judge Jed Beebe, though used to playing violin (as he does with the Lompoc Pops and the Santa Maria Philharmonic Orchestra), will be performing the cello part for the program. He’s performed at the mission with Siminski and friends before.

“Most of the times we have played have been for Founders’ Day; it’s great to be invited back,” Beebe said. “The setting is a real part of the experience there. You feel a sense of history and of the power of the place.”

Part of what makes music so special at the mission is the acoustics of the hall. The masonry makes for sound that carries.

“Well, the fact of the missions is that they were so perfectly built, the acoustics are just amazing,” Siminski said. “Every time I touch the strings I can feel it, and I just love it.”

To complete the experience, the path to the sanctuary—and the entire concert—will be lit by candles, all prepared by the mission’s docents.

“It’s a big birthday, and I think we should always thank the docents as a community because they do wonders,” Siminski said.

Tropical sounds

The Lions Peak tasting room presents Jon Stephan and his Tropical Brazilian Guitar music on Sundays through December at 2:30 p.m. at Lions Peak Vineyards Solvang Tasting Room, 165 Copenhagen Drive, Solvang. More info: 693-5466 or

Smooth music

Lucia’s Wine Co. presents local favorite Louie Ortega performing live on Dec. 7 and 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Lucia’s Wine Co. Tasting Room, 126 E. Clark Ave., Orcutt. More info: 332-3080.

Jazz inspired

The Jazz Divine Quartet invites everyone to a nondenominational Christian service featuring live, spiritual jazz music on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. at Peace Lutheran Church, 1000 W. Ocean Ave., Lompoc. More info: 735-3760.

Relaxing melodies

The Addamo Tasting Room and Bistro presents “Wine Down Wednesdays” featuring live music on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 400 E. Clark Ave., Old Orcutt. Free. More info: 937-6400 or

Keeping the night live

The 510 Event Center presents a live blues jam featuring local musicians led by Juan Marquez and Sangria Wednesdays from 7 to 10 p.m. DJ Orlando entertains Thursday nights starting at 10 p.m. (dress code enforced). DJ Orlando also spins for “Margarita Night” every Monday from 9 p.m. to midnight. Saturdays feature an open mic from 4 to 7 p.m., and Saturday nights are Latin night featuring live norteño and banda music. Call for times. The center is at 510 S. Broadway, Santa Maria. More info: 928-5510,,, or

Live at the Radisson

The Radisson Hotel presents live music every Friday and Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. with Juan Marquez and Sangria. Sunday brunch with guitarist Mike Tibault is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, 3455 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria. More info: 928-8000.

Maverick music

The Maverick Saloon offers live entertainment, including live country music by Teddy Spanke and the Tex Pistols on Dec. 7 at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at 11:30 p.m. “Concert on the Deck” with Owen Johnston is Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. A special holiday concert featuring Kinky Friedman is Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., followed by Teddy Spanke and the Tex Pistols at 9 p.m. and DJ Totem at 11:30 p.m. at the saloon, 3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez. More info: 686-4785 or 

Contact Calendar Editor Joe Payne at

Weekly Poll
What's your first thought when you hear the word "Lompoc?"

My time at the penitentiary.

| Poll Results