Noontime Concerts Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary
A Message from Noontime Concerts’ Founder, Alexandra Ivanoff
Greetings from Budapest, where the musical life is rich and wonderful – just like San Francisco’s!
When John and I first saw the gleaming black Steinway in the sanctuary of Old St. Mary’s Cathedral in 1988, when he began his position as organist and music director there, we turned to each other and said: “Hmm, good place for concerts!” That was in early September 1988. By December, John had booked the first concert, a solo pianist, for December 5th.
Then, his office began getting calls from local musicians who wanted to play concerts. So we named our new series Noontime Concerts — after the well-known Noonday Concerts at Trinity Church on Wall St., where he and I had met.
After that first concert on Dec. 5th, he gave me the task of organizing, scheduling, and hosting the concerts — and after several months I was running a small business from the kitchen table. Eventually, Old St. Mary’s generously gave me an office on the premises, and Old St. Mary’s became a treasured destination for worshippers, visitors, musicians, and music lovers from around the world.
The series developed quickly, as hundreds of musicians from not only the Bay Area, but from all over the world found us, and wanted to perform. We filed our tax papers as a non-profit organization and, in addition to Old St. Mary’s, we added the Bank of America’s Giannini Auditorium and St. Patrick’s Church at Yerba Buena Gardens as venues. At one point, Noontime Concerts was running three concerts per week.
Memorable concerts from the past include the many Bach’s Birthday Concerts — some of which offered birthday cake to the audience; the two years of events we hosted with many solo pianists for raising money for a new piano, as we retired the old one (which had only 85 keys); and the co-presentation of 10 strike concerts for the San Francisco Symphony in 1991, the last of which was a fund-raiser by the symphony musicians for their two hosts: Noontime Concerts and Old St. Mary’s Cathedral.
I am personally and professionally thrilled that Ian Robertson and the San Francisco Opera Chorus will be performing this 30th Anniversary celebration today. After I left Noontime Concerts, I sang with the Opera Chorus for five seasons, starting in 2001. I still consider them dear colleagues and many are lifelong friends.
I am grateful to Robin Wirthlin for her years of expert leadership at Noontime Concerts, and especially for organizing today’s celebration. I am incredibly proud that the series has thrived for three decades, having become a true San Francisco institution. I am grateful that Old St. Mary’s is still the faithful host of this institution; I have always thought it was a perfect match.
I am truly sad it’s not possible for me to be here today, but I want you all to know my heart and soul is here with you right now.
Incidentally, almost every church in Budapest — and there are hundreds — has concerts at noontime, and they are well attended and treasured as part of the city’s legendary music life!
Happy 30th Birthday, Noontime Concerts!
Awarded Certificate of Honor by the San Francisco Mayor’s Office
San Francisco, CA, November 7, 2018
In celebration of its 30th anniversary in December, Noontime Concerts will feature a trio of exceptional programs performed by renowned artists that include the highly-celebrated San Francisco Opera Chorus, emerging artist Davis You, and the internationally acclaimed Spanish Brass. And to honor its legacy, the San Francisco mayor’s office has awarded Noontime Concerts with a Certificate of Honor for enriching the community and cultural life of the Bay Area with their mission-driven work.
The upcoming anniversary concerts are representative of the high-caliber of weekly Noontime Concerts that reflect a diversity of musical talent, from established musicians to emerging artists. On December 4, Noontime Concerts is privileged to begin the month-long anniversary series with the virtuosic San Francisco Opera Chorus led by Chorus Master Ian Robertson. The chorus will perform a program of sacred, secular, and operatic music featuring works by Dvořák, Fjellheim, Handel, Wagner, Walker, and Whitacre. Then on December 11—supported by the Helen von Amon Fund for Emerging Artists—Davis You, a 16-year old cellist, will play works by Bach, Froom, Beethoven, Chopin, and Cassado. The anniversary finale concert on December 18 features the Spanish Brass—one of the most dynamic and admired brass groups on the musical scene—who will play a holiday concert performed in the quintet’s uniquely entertaining style.
All concerts will be performed at Old St. Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco, at 12:30 pm, are ticketless events and free to the public. For more details, visit www.noontimeconcerts.org.
Contact: Robin Wirthlin, Executive Director, Noontime Concerts, 660 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94108 (510) 601-1462 firstname.lastname@example.org
Noontime Concerts™ is an independent 501 (c) (3) non-profit arts organization, Federal ID #94-3123314, supported by public donations; donations at concert time; grants and gifts from the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, Grants for the Arts; the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, William and Gretchen Kimball Fund, the Schwab Charitable Fund, the Helen von Ammon Fund for Emerging Artists and people like you!
Noontime Concerts is an accredited charity with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring organization. BBB’s Give.Org evaluates charities at no charge using the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability to help donors verify the trustworthiness of soliciting organizations and to strengthen charity practices.