Carson Valley Pops celebrates 20th year |

Carson Valley Pops celebrates 20th year

Conductor CJ Birch and Cecilia Yale will be celebrating the Carson Valley Pops' 20th anniversary.
Bill Coyle/Special to the R-C

As Cecilia Yale tells it, she and husband Danny were lying down one day in late 1998 when he had a brainstorm.

“What this area needs is a musical group,” he said. “There’s nothing here. People have to travel to go somewhere else. It would be for the community.”

Looking back two decades later, Yale said she thought Danny would forget about it, but he didn’t.

And on Oct. 19, the Carson Valley Pops Orchestra will be performing a concert celebrating 20 years of making music.

In those early days, Yale said Danny and co-founder Brian Farnon couldn’t agree on a name for the new group.

“We couldn’t come up with a name we could agree on,” she said. “Then we finally up with the Carson Valley Pops Orchestra.”

Farnon’s Tahoe Dance Band was a staple at Harrah’s South Shore Room for 25 years, where he was music director.

The orchestra’s third rehearsal was in February 1999, according to a story written by R-C Editor Sheila Gardner.

Danny Yale started studying the violin at age 7 and played at the Metropolitan Opera and for Broadway musicals before moving to Minden. Both he and Cecelia would perform a Sunday brunch show at the Silver Legacy. Cecelia said she performed there for 13 years.

The orchestra was able to work a deal with the Town of Minden to use the CVIC Hall in exchange for performances, so it’s fitting that’s where the celebratory concert will be held.

Conducted by C.J. Birch, the orchestra will perform top favorites from throughout the years and feature a special performance by violinist Cecilia Yale, founding member and former Concert Master of the Orchestra.

She will perform “A Dance for Danny” written by local composer Aaron Pellegrini in honor of Danny, who also was a founding member and long-time conductor of the orchestra. Danny Yale died in 2013 at the age of 90, having given up conducting the orchestra only four years earlier.

“The Pops is excited to be celebrating our 20th year of bringing music to the Carson Valley,” said Judy Sheldrew, President of the Carson Valley Pops Orchestra’s Board of Directors. “We invite the public to join us for cake and champagne as we celebrate this milestone in our history, reminisce with old friends and look forward to the future.”

As always, admission to the concert is free. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. with the doors opening at 6 p.m.

For more information, contact Margaret Biggs at (775) 843-0830.

“I’m very glad it’s gone on, and I’m glad they asked me to perform,” Cecilia Yale said. “He really planted the seed that started the whole thing. One little idea had such an affect on so many people.”