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SMITH: Green Center's world-class talent

Diane Peterson, the violinist, PD symphony reviewer and mother of our son, took to me along Saturday to see and hear Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott at the Green Music Center.

It was sort of like dragging a connoisseur of Pee Chee Folder doodles to the Louvre. But sitting in the handcrafted wooden hall as it resonated with the mastery and passion of that duo, I was in bliss.

I'd hope everyone, even the staunchest critics of how Weill Hall came to be, will pick a performance and experience for themselves this venue and its potential to attract the finest music in the world.

Yo-Yo Ma

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If you haven't yet been, a suggestion: On March 8, two acclaimed products of Santa Rosa public school music programs — both of whom graduated just 10 years ago — will return home to display their artistry in Weill Hall.

Kyle Covington studied at Maria Carrillo, where teacher Andy Collinsworth persuaded the former trumpet player to take up the trombone. Dooley was a Santa Rosa High percussionist refined and inspired by teacher Mark Wardlaw.

FROM CARRILLO, Covington went to Juilliard on a presidential scholarship. The honor didn't surprise teacher Collinsworth, now Sonoma State University's director of bands and program director for music education.

"He was literally practicing four or five hours a day in high school," Collinsworth recalled. "I remember leaving him in the music room and telling him, 'Just turn off the lights when you leave.' "

World-traveled, Covington now is principal trombonist with the San Diego Symphony. On March 8, he'll appear in Weill Hall as featured artist of the SSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble's performance that will precede the Sonoma Wind Band Festival.


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