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Questions For: Festival Mozaic executive director 

NEW TIMES How many people does it take to put on an event of this grandeur?

SWIGGER It takes a large group of committed people to put on an event like Festival Mozaic: three full-time staff in the office year-round, our music director, a committed group of volunteers, and a dynamite board of directors who work tirelessly to ensure that the festival is well-executed and fun!

NEW TIMES Can you tell me a little about the Fringe Series? What does the mix of classical and contemporary offer the community?

SWIGGER The Fringe series showcases classically trained musicians playing outside of the traditional genres. Fringe concerts are a way for people to experience the rigor, joy, and liveliness that comes from musicians who work very hard practicing a craft, without the perceived formality of a classical music concert.

NEW TIMES Any funny stories from past years?

SWIGGER Last year, on the morning of the opening orchestra concert, the power went out at Cuesta College. We had to move a 65-person orchestra, two piano soloists, and a 400-person audience to a new site for the concert. It was quite a feat; the staff, the volunteers, and our techs all just dove in and made it happen.

NEW TIMES Why do you love this genre?

SWIGGER I come from a family of music lovers. I started playing viola at age 5 and started attending concerts at age 8. Classical music was always on the radio in my house, and it was the soundtrack to my life. I can’t imagine my life without it.

NEW TIMES What would you say to someone who says, “I don’t like classical music”?

SWIGGER I’d probably ask them if they like watching TV shows or movies and if they think music adds anything to them. I believe people are more musically literate than they think they are, because of their exposure to this music through television and film. Plus, just within the classical genre there are so many styles, textures, rhythms, and instrumentations—I personally don’t see why we have to pigeonhole music into one type or another.

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