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Merced Symphony performance to be televised Friday night, Sept. 11 


Local residents who are anxious for a fun and cultured evening of local entertainment will have the chance to tune into a live and local performance from the Merced Symphony on Friday night.

The special “Back on Stage” performance will be aired Sept. 11, at 7 p.m., on Comcast Channel 97 and AT&T U-verse Channel 99 as part of a special partnership between the Merced County Office of Education (MCOE), Merced Educational Television (METV), and the Merced Symphony Association (MSA) to help bring new and educational experiences to residents and students throughout Merced County.

The symphony will be performing Dvorak’s “American” Quartet; Haydn’s G Major Quartet Op. 77 No. 1; Salut D’Amour by Edward Elgar; Autumn & Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons; Bach’s Arioso; Meditation from Thais by Jules Massenet; an electric violin solo by Matthew Szemela; Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings; and Grieg Holburg’s Suite.

“It’s so exciting to bring the symphony, now in our 63rd year, into the 21st Century,” said Ryan Heller, president of the Merced Symphony Association. “It’s important for the community to know that during these uncertain times, we’re not just surviving, but thriving, and we’re going to do everything we can to continue supporting arts and education in Merced County.”

Heller went on to explain that the organization’s goal has always been to provide as much live music as possible to people in Merced, especially those who haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy it. From a subsidized ticket price compared to what one would pay to listen to live musicians from the surrounding area to making major efforts to become even more accessible, the Merced Symphony has continued to push to meet residents looking for a live orchestral experience where they are, making the new partnership particularly important to the organization.

“The pandemic has finally given us the push we needed to get into live simulcast for those who cannot join us in person. I am confident that we’re going to find ways to continue this tradition from time to time, even when in person performances are permitted again,” said Heller. “It’s also critical for us to continue to support our musicians, who are struggling just like everyone else — and this concert gives us the opportunity to do that.”

Heller thanked Dr. Steve Tietjen, the superintendent of Merced County schools and the METV team for making the broadcast possible. “This was a great opportunity to learn about their extensive technical capabilities,” he said. 

The Merced County Office of Education launched METV more than two decades ago as a virtual platform to accompany in-classroom education. It has been growing ever since, and even more so during these times when local students remain under a distance learning model. 

But even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, METV underwent a substantial technology upgrade last year that allows for new broadcast avenues into the community.

“Because of foresight and good fortune, we upgraded our infrastructure at the right time so we have the ability to simultaneously broadcast on TV as well as online,” said Nathan Quevedo, media and communications manager for MCOE. “We are excited about the many possibilities we have to help with virtual learning, and unique partnerships like the one with the Merced Symphony Association.”

Throughout Friday’s performance, viewers will be presented with information on how to contribute to the Merced Symphony Association as it continues its mission of bringing music to the masses during these challenging times. 

From the annual Children’s Concert, which in partnership with MCOE allows over 1,000 elementary school students to experience live symphonic music, to numerous community involvement programs, there are numerous way to aide the symphony in its work.

For more information on the Merced Symphony and how to provide charitable support, residents are encouraged to log onto In addition to viewing the concert live on TV, residents can also log onto MCOE’s Facebook or YouTube pages to watch the broadcast online. For those who miss the live broadcast, the program will be archived and available on MCOE’s YouTube account.

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