A concert of many cultures

Sean Savoy

Photo by Carli Cutchin

Sean Savoy is chairman of the Foundation Orchestra Association, an organization he started last spring. The orchestra itself has been around since 1988 under the direction of Maestro Gary Robert Buchanan, but until Savoy came on board, it performed specifically for events hosted by the Andean Explorers Foundation, which was founded by Savoy’s father, Gene. Savoy believed that the orchestra was just too good to be kept out of the public eye. He established an administrative body to organize and promote public concerts, the first of which was held last October. This year’s spring concert is themed “Multicultural Musical Celebration” and will include music from Japan, Israel, Spain, Peru and Russia. The concert will be held at 3 p.m. March 24 in Nightingale Concert Hall inside the Church Fine Arts Complex at the University of Nevada, Reno. Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for students, seniors and Foundation members; elementary school students attend free with an adult. For more concert information, call 348-1818.

How did you get involved with the Foundation Orchestra Association?

I got involved because it was my idea … I thought we should organize an administrative body specifically for the orchestra so that the burden came off of the orchestra. I wanted a specific body to fund-raise, to promote, to create a season of special performances, to expand its appeal.

What’s the Andean Explorers Foundation all about?

The Andean Explorers Foundation was founded in 1957 in Peru by my father, Gene Savoy. We came to Reno in 1972, so the foundation moved with him. He remains the president. We do cultural explorations, mostly in South America. One of our main objectives is to bring to light evidence that ancient cultures around the world were in contact or could have been in contact with each other for religious and cultural reasons, that there was information that they shared and that there was reason to be in contact. South America—specifically Peru—was a hub of culture. We plan expeditions for our own research, or sometimes we include scientists. We take volunteers, students. Our group of people is diverse. And I can’t stress enough that the point of all of this is education. You can educate people by exposing them to different forms of information. This happens to be musical information. We’re all one people; we’re all the same species, the same family.

Is your dad an anthropologist? An archeologist?

He’s an explorer.

That sounds romantic.

[Laughs.] It’s very romantic. He has knowledge of archeology and has studied history. There’s no [college] degree in exploration. I think it’s an art and a science unto itself. And that sort of brings us back to the orchestra. … Part of cultural exchange is music, and music is a universal language. We studied the music of native peoples. It serves a cultural and an educational purpose. And it has entertainment value.

What’s the theme of this spring’s concert?

The concert committee decided it was going to be multicultural. [Maestro] Gary [Buchanan] …is the real genius behind everything. He formulates the program. We just want to reach all sectors of the community. Because it’s multicultural, it has a wide appeal. It’s reflective of the ethnic community here. One might ask why there’s another orchestra in town. It’s not to be in competition with the others. Our goal is to fill in a gap.