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TSO Tells Tale of Dusty Locks in Family Series Show

For immediate release: April 19, 2017


Story by Local Author Susan Lowell
Features Music Composed by TSO Violist Ilona Vukovic-Gay

Michael Hall to Conduct Program with Favorites Including
Music from Star Wars and a “This Old Man” Sing-along

Instrument “Petting Zoo” Featured

(Tucson, AZ)─The Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Family Series will feature a wild and funny retelling of the Goldilocks tale-Southwest style in Dusty Locks and the Three Bears. Michael Hall will conduct two performances at 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29 at the Leo Rich Theater. There will be an instrument “petting zoo” on the plaza outside the theater from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. The “petting zoo” will be hosted by the Civic Orchestra of Tucson.

Way out West live three bears who like to keep their cabin neat and tidy. But one day while they're out for a walk, a dusty little girl barges in. She hadn't had a bath for a month of Sundays, so everybody called her Dusty Locks. But Trouble was her middle name. When the bears come home to find their nice, neat house looking like it was hit by a whirlwind, they get riled and Dusty Locks runs home so fast the dust doesn't settle for a week.

Dusty Locks and the Three Bears was written by Tucson author Susan Lowell with music composed by the Tucson Symphony’s Ilona Vukovic-Gay, Assistant Principal Viola and the Young Composers Project instructor. Vukovic-Gay studied composition at Manhattan School of Music and Yale University. Her works have premiered in Tucson, Arizona, New Haven, Connecticut and Wigmore Hall in London, England.

Vukovic-Gay and Lowell met on their daughters’ preschool playground and the idea to add music to the stories evolved. They have collaborated on eight of Lowell’s children’s books. Dusty Locks is a great tale to relate as a western foot stomping style musical that also introduces the instruments of the orchestra.

“I grew up in a multi-generational home that maintained many of the cultural traditions of Slovakia,” explains Vukovic-Gay. “Music was always important in my family and many of the folk songs were either sung or danced. Dusty Lock’s theme is based on “Tancuj, Tancuj, Vykrúcaj!” (Dance, Dance, Twist, Twist), a Slovak children’s folk song and lively dance that musically describes Dusty Locks’ character perfectly.

Joseph Rousos-Hammond, TSO Principal Violin ll, will play both the little bear cub who is just knee-high to a bumblebee and also the great big humpbacked grizzly who is nine feet tall and as cross as two sticks! Robert Chamberlain, cellist, will be the mild mannered middle sized Mama Bear. Wynne Wong-Rife, violinist, will portray Dusty Locks.

The 50-minute program will open with John Williams Throne Room and Finale from Star Wars and will also include Swan from Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, music from the Leonard Bernstein musical On the Town, a movement from Beethoven’s first symphony and a chance to sing along with “This Old Man.”

Now in his third season as Music Director of the Kennett Symphony, Michael Hall has been a frequent guest conductor with the TSO for the past decade. For six years Hall held the position of Associate Conductor with the Pacific Symphony in California, where he developed innovative Family Concerts based on his own original scripts. In addition to Dusty Locks and the Three Bears, Hall will also conduct the Kinderkonzerts and Young People’s Concerts. Hall holds a Master’s degree in conducting from the University of Michigan and a DipRAM from the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he worked with Sir Colin Davis.

Tickets for Dusty Locks and the Three Bears are $18 for adults and $12 for children under 18. They are available online, at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Box Office, 2175 N. Sixth Avenue or by phone at (520) 882-8585. TSO Box Office hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.

Contact: Terry Marshall, Public Relations Manager, (520) 620-9158,, 250-5947 (mobile)