Lewis Griswold

Tulare County Symphony proposes name change

Conductor Bruce Kiesling leads the Tulare County Symphony at the Fox Theater in Visalia.
Conductor Bruce Kiesling leads the Tulare County Symphony at the Fox Theater in Visalia. Tulare County Symphony Association

The Tulare County Symphony is proposing a name change to attract a larger, younger and more diverse audience.

The new name being put forth by the staff and board of directors is Sequoia Symphony Orchestra.

“That’s the name we keep coming back to,” said Juliette de Campos, executive director of the Tulare County Symphony Association. “We’re enthusiastic to see where it goes.”

The group promotes the orchestra that began 56 years ago and will launch a public awareness campaign about the possible new name.

To change the name requires a vote of the membership – musicians, season tickets holders, donors of $275 or more in the fiscal year – which could take place later this year.

The name Sequoia Symphony Orchestra is being considered because the name evokes a sense of regional identity, de Campos said.

The current name makes some people think “it’s associated with government – we hear that a lot,” she said. “There has been a trend in recent years of symphonies dropping the word ‘county’ from their name.”

But the board is open to suggestions and wants to be sensitive to regular symphony-goers who make up the audience, she said.

The board will discuss the idea with association members at the annual meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Visalia Fox Theater.

De Campos, who grew up on a farm outside Tipton, came aboard two years ago as executive director. With the support of the board, she launched a rebranding initiative to modernize marketing and community outreach.

“Most of our patrons are over 60 years old,” she said. “While that is not unusual for a symphony orchestra, we know that growth and expansion are essential to our sustainability.”

She upgraded the playbill to a magazine-style format with more advertising and feature stories, and symphony posters are bolder and have a creative-arts feel.

Other initiatives include a strings-instruction program for children in Woodville, a nightclub gig for conductor Bruce Kiesling on piano and visiting violinist Linda Deutsch, concerts for children around the county, and a program to bring students from outlying rural areas to concerts.

HANFORD CLINIC: The U.S. Health and Human Services Department has announced $36.8 million in funding to 40 health centers in California for renovation, expansion or construction.

Of that, $1 million is going to Family Health Care Network, based in Visalia, to build a new health center in Hanford.

United Health Centers of the San Joaquin Valley in Parlier is also getting $1 million, and Valley Health Team Inc. in San Joaquin is getting $500,000.

The Hanford center, to open in two years, will be about three time as large as the current center, said Kerry Hydash, president and CEO.

“The site will offer all of our services including primary care, pediatrics, OB, dental, pharmacy, optometry and extended-hour walk-in services,” she said.

KETTLEMAN CITY: The long-awaited water-treatment plant in Kettleman City is being delayed by several months so there can be an environmental review of blunt nose leopard lizard habitat.

Water wells in Kettleman City have arsenic and benzene, so the community services district is planning to get water from the California Aqueduct as a replacement. But a water treatment plant must be built first.

Kings County bought a 5-acre site for the plant, but a pipeline from the canal to the plant must cross property owned by Chevron that is habitat for the blunt nose leopard lizard. Thus, the review is needed, said engineer Joe McGahan of Summers Engineering in Hanford.

No construction will occur until next year, he said. The plant may be ready in 2018.

Lewis Griswold covers the news of the South Valley for The Fresno Bee: : 559-441-6104, lgriswold@fresnobee.com, @fb_LewGriswold