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Pitch Perfect: Spotlight On Musicians

Our region is blessed with a plethora of multifaceted musicians who truly delight in bringing their passion for music to the community. Here are four noteworthy performers to watch.

Fara Elizalde

Instrument: Violin
Picking up the violin for the first time in middle school, Fara Elizalde’s talent led her to perform in community orchestras throughout the Bay Area and Sacramento; eventually, she became one of the founding members of the Folsom Lake Symphony where “the players have fun and support one another while being challenged to rise to higher levels of musicianship.”

Fara Elizalde


What attracts you to the violin?      
The power that can emanate from this small piece of wood never ceases to amaze me. As they say in the Harry Potter series, “the wand chooses the wizard.” The violin is versatile—it reaches down to mellow, warm tones yet can also soar to much higher, clearer notes.

What challenges have you faced?
I knew music would always be an important part of my life, yet I chose a corporate career path. Finding a balance between my professional life and the time I'd like to devote to practicing can be challenging. At times, I must compromise the quality of my violin playing to keep up with work and family life.

Any tips for beginning musicians?  
Don't worry so much about the elusive quest for perfection or how others will judge your abilities. Smile while you play, and practice, practice, practice!

Francesca Anderson

Instrument: Flute
Considering accomplished flutist Francesca Anderson’s teachers in high school and college were major influences in her music, it’s fitting that she also enjoys teaching. “My students make me proud every year with their accomplishments; many of them have been accepted into local and state honor bands and the Sacramento Youth Symphony.”

Francesca Anderson; photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


You learned to play the flute when you were nine years old. What do you love most about it?
From classical symphonic groups and rock bands, to beat boxing and jazz, the flute can do it all! Making music with my colleagues is also [incredibly] rewarding.

What has been a noteworthy performance?   
I feel blessed every time I can perform. When the audience loves a performance and reacts with loud applause and a standing ovation, it’s the best feeling. I hope everyone has a chance to experience the power and magic of a live musical performance.

Any advice for aspiring flutists?  
Playing with peers is essential. Join your school band, local orchestra, a private youth symphony, or the Sacramento Flute Club.

Jennifer Yen

Instrument: Cello
Customarily seeing cellos in an orchestral setting, Jennifer Yen has had the esteem of performing Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 at Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, as well as Beethoven’s 6th Symphony “Pastoral” at Carnegie Hall. However, Yen has also joined rock bands on stage, bringing depth to their pop melodies. “The cello can produce a wide range of rich sounds…you can play it lyrically and symphonically.”

Jennifer Yen


When did you begin playing?
I started my first private lesson when I was four and a half years old. I come from a musical family—my mom is a classical pianist, my dad is a retired violinist, and my sister an accomplished cellist. Growing up, we played music together and performed at local churches and community centers.

 What performance are you most excited about this year?
Alon Goldstein’s Rite of Spring performance on April 22 at the Harris Center. This will be his second time collaborating with [the Folsom Lake Symphony].

Greg Lamy

Instrument: Trombone
Starting with the piano and trumpet in third grade, Greg Lamy later found his zeal for the trombone in high school, where he was one of two musicians from California selected as a member of the McDonald’s All-American High School Band. “There’s a thrill making an inanimate object ‘sing,’ and it’s pretty special when you get that feeling of really being locked in on a piece or a specific section—especially in an ensemble.” 

Greg Lamy


What attracts you to the trombone?
I love that it’s a constant challenge to find the right partials on the slide and to make the sound what I want it to be. Having no fixed settings (like on the baritone) ups the difficulty level significantly, especially on fast sections. Music is an interesting combination of both technical (reading notes, instrument fingerings, etc.) and artistic, which can conflict with each other at times.

You’re a member of the Folsom Lake Symphony. What do you like most about performing with them?
It’s a perfect opportunity to continue to play, learn, and be a part of something special. While most of the members are still active with musical careers (teaching, performing, etc.) those of us who love to play but have chosen different paths can still participate. Before I joined, I hadn't really played my instrument for about 20 years and really missed what had been such a big part of my life. With the symphony, it’s up to me to be at the level of the other musicians—a constant challenge that I’m more than willing to take on.  

by  Heather L. Nelson
Fara Elizalde photo by Charlene Lane. Francesca Anderson photo by Taylor Gillespie ©stylemediagroup. Jennifer Su Yen photo by Charm Photography. Greg Lamy photo by Taylor Gillespie ©stylemediagroup.

Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group—please don’t steal our copyrighted photos. For more information about our editorial photos, please click here to contact us