SAMOHI Symphony to perform benefit concert


In the wake of their highly anticipated European tour cancellation due to the Brussels terrorist attacks, student members of the Santa Monica High School Symphony Orchestra turned their disappointment into positive action. The result is a benefit concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sunday, June 12 for victims of conflict and violence. Proceeds and donations will benefit the International Committee of the Red Cross.

After months of preparation and fundraising, the “once in
a lifetime” tour was cancelled for safety concerns after the
March 22 bombings in Brussels, Belgium. The
Symphony Orchestra, scheduled to depart for a tour of
Europe the day after the terror attacks, were slated to
perform at Salle Gaveau, an historic concert hall in Paris, and at the world renowned Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Although the students were heartbroken about the cancellation, they understood their disappointment was minor compared to the tragedy of the bombings, and were determined to create something positive from the unfortunate turn of events. Instead of getting on their flight to Paris, the students decided to channel their music into an instrument of positive action, resulting in the idea for the upcoming benefit concert.

“I am proud of these determined students who are turning a very disappointing situation into a positive event that will raise awareness and funds for those affected by violence,” Joni Swenson, Samohi symphony orchestra director, said. “The Walt Disney Concert Hall is the perfect venue for our musicians to perform what they have prepared. I invite everyone to join us on June 12 to experience a wonderful and heartfelt performance.”

For information on the benefit concert and donations visit the Samohi Orchestras website: For tickets, visit Ticketmaster: Tickets are $10 to $25 each and are selling quickly.


Approximately 800 students out of an enrollment of about 3,000 participate in the school’s music program, which includes eight bands, six choral groups, and seven orchestras. Several factors contribute to the strength of the music programs at SAMOHI, including strong elementary and middle school feeder programs, a community supportive of the arts, dedicated parents, a district fine arts coordinator and enthusiastic administrative support. SAMOHI’s orchestral offerings range from beginning string orchestra to advanced chamber orchestra. With a combined 23 years, the orchestras are led by Joni Swenson and Jason Aiello.