By Charles Carter
Recently the Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation made a decision to cancel the bi-monthly Sunday free concert series that was in its seventh, very successful season at the MTRP Visitor Center. The concert series was initiated when Dr. Mitsuo Tomita approached Jay Wilson, then the executive director of the MTRP Foundation, with the proposal to hold free concerts on Sunday afternoons. Dr. Tomita volunteered to book the musicians, and the concert series was born.
The concerts quickly became very popular and the musical talent continued to improve. Initially, there was one concert a month and it soon became twice a month. The attendance grew to between 75 and full capacity at 93 people attending every concert.
I began volunteering in 2011 by coordinating the activities at the concerts; meeting groups, providing programs, introducing the musicians and handling the donation basket for the musicians. Desiree Cera also joined our cadre of volunteers to assist at the concerts.
The concert series has always featured a wide variety of San Diego’s top quality musicians and singers from jazz, classical, Shakuhachi flutes, Celtic harp, marimbas, Tibetan singing bowls, choirs, bluegrass and renaissance just to name a few.
When it was announced the concert series at the MTRP Visitor Center would end this December, the initial challenge was where do we go? I immediately called Wilson and asked for his input. He recommended the Mission Trails Church at 4880 Zion Ave. and offered to contact the pastor, Kyle Walters, about the opportunity to host the concerts. Pastor Walters was interested and presented the idea to his board.
Fortunately, they approved the concert series and agreed to initially host one concert a month beginning in January 2019 on the second Sunday of the month at 3 p.m. The sanctuary will easily hold 140 people. It is a great location, good acoustics, and has ample parking.
Dr. Tomita is working on the concert schedule and it will be announced in December. Mark your calendar for Sunday, Jan. 13, 3 p.m. at the Mission Trails Church located at 4880 Zion Ave. in Allied Gardens.
—Charles Carter volunteers his time and talent to coordinating free public concerts at Mission Trails Park, and now Mission Trails Church.