The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (PACO) is staging a "Holiday Extravaganza" that features big news for the youth orchestra.
The Dec. 18 concert brings together all five of PACO's ensembles and invites alumni back to the stage to perform, but it also comes with a special reveal: the identity of the orchestra's new music director.
PACO has been conducting a nationwide search for the past year as Music Director Ben Simon, who has led the orchestra for 20 years, plans to step down after the close of the 2022-23 season. Simon is only the second director for the orchestra, despite its nearly 60-year history, according to a release about the event. He will be retiring from his work with PACO, as well as his role as conductor of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra.
Founded in 1966, PACO is a strings-only orchestra made up of musicians who are high school age and younger. The orchestra boasts alumni who include Bay Area musician Robin Sharp and members of the St. Michael Trio.
The "Holiday Extravaganza" program will see performances by PACO's five ensembles. The program culminates with the groups playing together, along with alumni, in a performance of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.
PACO's Holiday Extravaganza takes place Dec. 18, 4 p.m. at Spangenberg Theatre, Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto. Tickets are $30. For more information, visit pacomusic.org.