The Palos Verdes Symphonic Band has been a popular feature of the greater Los Angeles area musical scene since 1962 when it was founded by Dr. Eugene Reinaldo after he retired from his surgical practice to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Richard Schwalbe became director in 1973; the band became incorporated in 1982 as a non-profit organization and began receiving grants from Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates. Three overseas tours were completed under Mr. Schwabe, and successful performances were given in a dozen European cities. Director Emeritus Schwabe retired in 2005 after 32 years of dedication and leadership; his replacement, John E. Hall, III, relocated to the east coast in 2008 after three years of service to the band and the baton was then passed on to Grant Sevdayan. David Stanton was selected to conduct in 2011 and continued as Music Director until his passing in 2016. Christine Hayes was selected to be the Music Director in 2016.
Unique in Southern California, the ensemble provides a wide range of musical experiences and opportunities for musicians and enriches holiday and patriotic events for the residents of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and surrounding communities. The band gives concerts throughout the year at a variety of civic and charitable functions, including seasonal concerts at the South Coast Botanic Garden, and it has especially been honored for having recently been chosen as the band of choice for the annual Green Hills Memorial Day celebration. The ensemble provides a wide range of musical programming, including ever popular marches and lighter pieces during the summer, traditional transcriptions of the works of the masters, and pieces written specifically for concert band. A formal program is given every spring and a holiday concert every December.
The band consists of about sixty musicians, including school music teachers, engineers, physicians, homemakers, as well as current and former professional and amateur instrumentalists. Many members have played in university ensembles, military bands, and touring "big bands" under well known conductors. Individual musicians also teach publicly and privately as well as perform in local churches, orchestras, and community musical theater.
Christine Hayes is the recently appointed music director of the Palos Verdes Symphonic Band, having served as acting director for most of 2016. Christine is also a freelance trombonist who plays regularly with the Golden State Pops Orchestra, the Dana Point Symphony, and the Huntington Beach Symphony. She has been a featured soloist with the Palos Verdes Symphonic Band and the South Bay Youth Orchestra.
Christine teaches brass at Children of Promise Preparatory Academy and Amuse Music Center, and also maintains a private lesson studio. Her students are regularly awarded spots in the top ensembles at their schools, and many have had success on the honor band circuit and at solo and ensemble festivals.
Christine has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in music education from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and a Master of Music in trombone performance from California State University Long Beach. Her teachers include Michael Alexander, Noreen Harris Baer, James Miller, and Jeffrey Reynolds. When she’s not making music, Christine enjoys volunteering at her children’s elementary school and spending time in the great outdoors.
David Stanton received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance from USC, where he studied clarinet with Mitchell Lurie and conducting with William Schaefer. In postgraduate work at the Manhattan School of Music, he studied clarinet with Leon Russianoff and conducting with Anton Coppola. Along with his Master’s Degree in Clarinet, he was awarded the Andrew J. Goodman prize for best clarinetist.
David was praised by John Rockwell of the New York Times for "first-rate performances" and appeared in recitals at Lincoln Center, symphonic performances at Carnegie Hall, live radio broadcasts, and Broadway shows. Performing under Zubin Mehta, Edo de Waart, James Levine and Julius Rudel, David accompanied such artists as Frederika von Stade, Kathleen Battle, and Ransom Wilson.
Besides teaching at Princeton, Concordia College and Long Island University, David was a middle school music director and a music specialist with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District. He taught woodwinds at Amuse Music and performed at Amuse Music and performed regularly on both saxophone and clarinet with several jazz bands and orchestras.
Grant Sevdayan grew up in Armenia, where he pursued his musical training in conducting, theory, piano and composition at various institutions. After initial studies in the music school for children with exceptional musical abilities, he entered Yerevan State Conservatory where he majored in theory, composition and choral conducting. After immigrating to the United States in 1987, he completed his studies in organ performance and orchestral conducting, with honors, at the University of Southern California.
Maestro Sevdayan has been the music director and conductor of operas and musicals in Southern California as well as in Italy, Austria, and France. Among them were popular productions of La Traviata, The Barber of Seville, The Elixir of Love, Faust and Macbeth. His concert venues in Rome, Vienna, and Paris included St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Charles, Le Madeleine and Notre Dame. His performances have received high praises in concert reviews and from such notables as Msgr. Collino, the famous Director of Music Ministries of His Holiness Pope John II. He was the music director for the Palos Verdes Symphonic Band. Locally, Grant has recently conducted concerts with Casa Italiana, Intimate Opera Company, Inglewood Pops and the Peninsula Symphony.
Along with his duties as organist and choir director at St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church in Huntington Beach, Grant currently serves as music director of the Westside Symphonette, and the recently formed Huntington Beach Symphony Orchestra.
Maestro Hall is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music in New York where he was a student of French conductor Jean Morel. His early conducting career included European tours of “Porgy and Bess”, “My Fair Lady” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Mr. Hall has guest conducted in several other countries including Italy, Germany and Switzerland. As a Trombonist and Soloist he has performed and recorded with many of the greatest performing concert artists of our time like Placido Domingo, Donna Summers, Manhattan Transfer, Debbie Reynolds, Barry White, Leopold Stokowski, and Itzhak Perlman.
Performances and Teaching
Maestro Hall has shared his musical enthusiasm as a professor of instrumental instruction and orchestral studies at New York Community College, Cypress College, and California State University, Long Beach. Hall’s other engagements also included conducting at Palm Springs (CA) Annenburg Theater and of several California orchestras including the Merced Symphony Orchestra, the Torrance Symphony, and the Front Row Center Orchestra of Orange County (CA).
John E. Hall III recently relocated to Lowell, MA, where he is serving as part-time conductor with Nevers’ 2nd Regiment Band. In his semi-“retirement” in New England, John is enjoying being near his family, working part time, playing percussion in the Windham Band, and playing in various trombone ensembles.
Dick Schwalbe joined the Palos Verdes Symphonic Band as director in 1973. After 32 years of much appreciated service and leadership, Maestro Schwalbe retired from the band with the title of Director Emeritus.
Mr. Schwalbe holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois, is a member of the Musician’s Local Union 353 as a professional trumpet player, and serves as a music adjudicator for various music festivals.
Richard Schwalbe previously conducted the Hawthorne Civic Band and was director of instrumental music at Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, California.