Every day, an average of 5,000 passengers come through the San Bernardino Transit Center as they travel to work, home, health care appointments, and other destinations throughout the region. On Wednesday, February 22nd, however, customers were in for a special treat as the transit and classical music worlds collided for a special afternoon.
San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra principal cellist Ana Maria Maldonado and violinist Laura Rosky-Santori brought a taste of the arts and local culture to the transit center for two hours as they performed for riders, staff, and passers-by as part of the Fine Arts Lunch program.
“This was made possible through a two-year grant from the James Irvine Foundation,” says Anne L. Viricel, executive director of the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra. “The grant seeks to test whether public perception of San Bernardino may improve through its fine arts community.”
Through the following months, musicians will conduct intimate public performances such as this at least three times each month in well-traveled areas around the city.
Ana, who began playing the cello in the sixth grade, has been a performer in San Bernardino since 1980 after relocating to Southern California to attend graduate school at USC. She decided to make this home and now teaches at cello lessons and music theory classes at different universities including Cal State San Bernardino and Chaffey College.
“The symphony here has really fine players and Southern California is a really good place for classical musicians. We’re so glad we got this grant, so that we could get out and perform for the community,” says Ana.
Mary, an Omnitrans rider, was pleasantly surprised to arrive at the transit center to the live performance. “I’m a classical music devotee, so this is a real treat,” she enthused.
For Santiago, another Omnitrans passenger, the soothing sounds of the cello and violin took him back to a pleasant moment in his childhood. “It brings back memories of my uncle who used to play music for me and my family when I was six or seven years old,” he said. “This is beautiful.”
A sizeable crowd gathered over the two-hour period, with transit regulars and local community members stopping by during their lunch hour to enjoy the talents of our local artists. Omnitrans had a promotional booth with information and giveaways, much to the attendees’ delight.
“Omnitrans is always happy to partner with wonderful organizations like the San Bernardino Symphony to bring positive experiences to our community. Our goal has always been for the SBTC to be a true community space, so this event was a great fit,” explains Omnitrans Marketing Manager Nicole Ramos.