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BOOK BITES   .   .   .

Exciting new releases for summer and fall include:

Chaucer's Bookstore Santa Barbara, CA

♦  ♦  ♦

Marilyn McMahon Santa Barbara Career Journalist Dies 

Marilyn McMahon

Marilyn McMahon

06/08/1930 – 08/24/2024 

Marilyn McMahon died at her home in Santa Barbara on August 24, 2023. She was 93.

Marilyn was a force of nature. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in June 1930 to Martha and Bernard Kwiatkowski, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1948 with a degree in secondary education. She began her career in the local high schools teaching English and advising school newspapers and yearbooks. Her love of journalism began at an early age. 

Coming to Santa Barbara in the mid-1950s, she met local attorney Tim McMahon, married and had Steve and Kate McMahon. Determined to forge her own identity and career, she began teaching in the Santa Barbara School District as a substitute at the Junior and Senior High Schools. In 1975 she took a full-time job writing for the Santa Barbara News-Press during its glory years under the New York Times ownership. She excelled at doing long features and interviews on a myriad of subjects. Her contact list is long and full of interesting names across the spectrum from entertainment, literature and politics. 

In the early 2000s News-Press was sold, resulting in a long, slow, painful slide into its eventual bankruptcy in 2023. Marilyn remained to help form a union against some of the unfair labor practices that were imposed by the new owner. She continued to work at the News-Press until June of 2023 with the closure of the paper. That is somewhat mind-boggling to spend 48 years with the same employer and a testament to her toughness to work full time till age 93. 

She loved the routine of getting up in the morning and walking one of her several rescue Labradors over the years. She would decide to change their given names to one of her choosing and then wonder why the dog didn’t come when called, never once seeing the irony. She would then head off to work in the heart of town for a full day and return home to her deck for a beloved gin and tonic overlooking the Mission. She was a tireless volunteer. She was a two-term president of the Junior League of Santa Barbara. She founded the Courthouse Docent Council and became a member of the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury. She was also the founder of the Lawyers Wives of Santa Barbara and its president for many years. She loved her house and wanted others to be able to enjoy it with her. She held a series of parties spaced throughout the year that included family, friends and always interesting people that might become good friends going forward. She relished having a diverse group over during Fiesta in August and then another elaborate get-together on Christmas Eve. Indeed, she leaves untold numbers of holiday nutcrackers that she collected over the years that all had to be placed like soldiers with military precision each year. These parties went off like clockwork for over fifty years. Babies born back in the earlier days grew up and then brought their kids as thirty-year-olds. Her living room began to get ever smaller as new generations began to cycle in. She was intensely loyal and continued these traditions all the way to her passing.

Marilyn was bold. If someone was delivering mail or a package one day in December, she had no problem asking for help to haul in a Christmas Tree or boxes of ornaments from the garage. No one ever turned her down and many did it year after year. Her sense of humor and ability to launch one-line zingers was legendary and she spared no one. It was never personal, and it was extremely endearing to try and match her wit and her command of the English language. She read voraciously and there were few topics she was not conversant in.

She is survived by her son Steve McMahon (Laurie) of Carpinteria, Calif., and Kate McMahon, of Santa Barbara, Calif. Her grandchildren are Thomas McMahon of Ventura, Calif., Megan Stone of Carpinteria, Calif., Chandler Davis of Santa Barbara, Calif. and Piper Davis of Santa Barbara, Calif. Her great-grandchildren are Augustine Colburn and Tyler Stone. She is predeceased by siblings Eleanor Zar of Birmingham, Mich., Dr. Ervin C. Kaye of San Marino, Calif., Ruth Lane of Bremerton, Wash. and Gilbert Kwiatkowski of Milwaukee, Wis. 

A special thanks to Robert Davis, who was instrumental in Marilyn staying in her house during the past five years of her life. Marilyn was proud to call him “my estate manager.”

Any donations can be sent to Planned Parenthood or Santa Barbara County Courthouse Docent Council. A celebration of life is being planned. Please respond to MkMcMahon23@gmail.com if you are planning to attend and details will be provided for the time and date.

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Santa Barbara Music News   .   .    .


A SPECIAL INVITATON:

The Santa Barbara Symphony is inviting the community to a FREE Season Preview event on Thursday, September 7 at the Lobero Theatre. A welcome reception on the promenade will begin at 4:30 p.m. and the program will begin inside promptly at 5:00 p.m. The public will hear all about the upcoming 2023-24 season while enjoying musical performances and behind-the-scenes conversations with the Symphony's artistic team and renowned guest performers.

Community Invited to a FREE Symphony Season Preview Event 


Join Music & Artistic Director Nir Kabaretti for musical performances, and a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming 2023-24 season


Event attendees will enjoy performances, champagne reception & ticket offers


From Beethoven to the Oscars, Mahler to jazz, and Dvorak to opera, the Santa Barbara Symphony is for everyone! Music & Artistic Director Maestro Nir Kabaretti has assembled a spectacular season of diverse talent and repertoire to create a fantastic symphonic journey October 2023 - May 2024.


This celebratory Season Preview event is hosted by Music & Artistic Director Nir Kabaretti, and attendees will be treated to performances, stories and behind the scenes inspiration - all aimed at creating connections to the music, musicians and the organization creating only-in-Santa-Barbara experiences:


  • Performances by some of the locally-based guest artists that will join the Symphony this season, including Natasha Kislenko, Principal Pianist of the Santa Barbara Symphony, and Christina Pezzarossi Ramsey, Mezzo-Soprano from Opera Santa Barbara

  • What’s involved in bringing four local choruses together for Beethoven 9

  • How jazz, film music, opera, and pop all belong in a Santa Barbara Symphony season

  • Why guest artists love performing for our Symphony audiences

  • Background and historical context on the music you’ll hear this season

  • The Symphony’s participation in the statewide California Festival


The Symphony’s Season Preview Event is free to attend, and no RSVP is required. For additional information about the Santa Barbara Symphony's 2023-24 season and upcoming events, please visit TheSymphony.org.


The 2023-2024 Season includes:


  • A Grand Season Opening — With more than 150 singers from Santa Barbara-based choruses joining the orchestra on stage, we open with the epic Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9—an Ode to Joy and to our community!


  • Exceptional Guest Artists Dazzle — This Season has a record-breaking number of guest artists (23!), including 8 vocal soloists, 4 choral groups, 2 trios and 1 guest conductor! The high-energy, Grammy®-winning, string trio Time for Three performs Contact, by acclaimed American composer Kevin Puts; international superstar David Krakauer dazzles in Marhulets’ Concerto for Klezmer Clarinet; and the great Marcus Roberts Trio truly innovates on Rhapsody in D.


  • Vital Collaborations — The Symphony builds vital collaborations on and off the stage with arts and cultural organizations including Jazz at The Lobero series, the Granada’s Synergy Series and the statewide California Festival: A Celebration in New Music; and Opera Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Choral Society, SBCC Quire of Voyces, Westmont College Choir, and Santa Barbara Gay Men’s Chorus.


  • Abundant Classical Favorites — Highlights include Mozart, Mahler, Dvořák, Beethoven and Ravel, and we honor outstanding women in February with rising star violinist Sirena Huang, and a work by pioneering French composer Louise Farrenc.


  • Epic Glitz, Glamor & Opera — opera’s “fan favorites” including Wagner, Verdi, Puccini & more, and a program of epic film scenes with live orchestra from Hollywood’s Golden Age of Oscar®!



About the Santa Barbara Symphony


The Santa Barbara Symphony delivers artistic excellence, outstanding music education stewardship and programming, and community collaboration - all through symphonic music. Under the artistic leadership of Maestro Nir Kabaretti as Music & Artistic Director since 2006, The Symphony is one of the region's premier cultural institutions. Through his charismatic leadership, this globally admired conductor and Santa Barbara resident invigorates audiences and musicians alike through his passion, creativity, and vast experience. The Symphony’s award-winning music education programs are the only music tied to a symphony orchestra in the region, The Symphony serves more than 2,000 students annually throughout Santa Barbara County via the Youth Ensembles program and the Music Van program. While The Symphony continues to evolve, its mission to bring joy, engagement, and connection remains steadfast and was evident in the organization's ability to thrive during the pandemic. In 2021 a historic announcement was made that board chair Janet Garufis and President & CEO Kathryn R Martin joined Music & Artistic Director Nir Kabaretti in making a five-year commitment to serve in their roles. For more information, visit TheSymphony.org.

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