Marcia Sloane is one of the founding members of the Symphony of the Redwoods and co-director of the Navarro River String Camp. A lifelong student and teacher of music, she continues to share her knowledge, as well as expand her own perception of what it means to connect with music.
Honolulu, Hawaii is where her musical exploration began. She started studying cello in the fourth grade, rehearsing with her school’s orchestra every day after school and the city-wide Honolulu Youth Symphony on weekends. “At different times in my life I’ve played clarinet, piano, conga, and berimbau,” said Sloane, “but the cello has been the instrument that stuck.”
After relocating to the California coast in 1976, she instantly became involved with the local classical music scene. Starting out in a small accompanying orchestra for a Mendocino community choir, Sloane noticed the growing number of classical musicians in the area and recognized the need for a separate ensemble. “Symphony of the Redwoods began as a class at College of the Redwoods co-directed by Tyler Lincoln and myself,” Sloane said as she recounted the establishment of the group in 1983. The Symphony now hosts about 50 musicians and performs three pairs of concerts a year.
Sloane joined the board two years ago, after the Navarro River String Camp was pulled under the Symphony’s umbrella. The bi-annual camp, founded by Sloane and fellow board member, Marion Crombie, provides an environment for beginning and intermediate adult players to perfect their skills and gain ensemble experience. “Our first camp in 2004 had sixteen campers and two staff,” said Sloane. “The size of the camp has increased to 10 staff and 64 campers. Participants come from all over the country and many return year after year. It’s a wonderful group of people.”
As the current board Vice President, Sloane is focusing on methods to bring the Symphony and the community closer. “Last year I organized a wine raffle for the Symphony that raised money and forged community connections with wineries throughout Mendocino County,” said Sloane. “Everyone on the board does a fantastic job handling a wide range of fundraising projects and concert and event productions.” She is also directing attention towards the inner workings of the board itself. “I am working to further define board member jobs and responsibilities and grow our board. To that end I just completed a six-month Building Better Boards workshop sponsored by the Community Foundation of Mendocino County.”
Throughout all of her commitments, Sloane still finds time to personally advance her musical techniques. “The first time I did Ta Ke Ti Na in 1992 I was hooked and subsequently took the first U.S. training offered in 1998-2001 to learn to facilitate the Ta Ke Ti Na process.” Ta Ke Ti Na is a group rhythm process developed by Reinhard Flatischler, an Austrian drummer and teacher. Standing in a circle, with the introduction of vocal syllables and a repeating stepping and clapping pattern by the facilitator, participants work at their own pace regardless of previous musical experience. “The training gave me a clearer picture of how our inner sense of rhythm directs how we express ourselves rhythmically, be it on an instrument, singing, dancing, or clapping and stepping in a Ta Ke Ti Na circle.”
Sloane has been performing in the Mendocino Music Festival since it began in 1986. She will be playing in all upcoming Festival Orchestra concerts this year. She runs a mail order music business, NavarroRiverMusic.com, selling her music CDs and sheet music. She performs with Sonatina, a quartet of flute and strings with Mindy Rosenfeld, Marcia Lotter, and Marion Crombie, playing music for events throughout the county. In the recent past, she has volunteered at the Mendocino Coast District Hospital playing music for patients and staff.