CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — History comes alive through music during an upcoming performance that pays homage to the composers whose names mark streets in the so-called “Composer District.”
On Sept. 21, as part of the Cardiff Centennial celebration, the performance will also include a multimedia historical presentation to benefit the Cardiff School District music programs.
The namesakes of the winding roads in the town are an insight into the earliest development of what was a sleepy outpost by the Pacific Ocean in the early part of the 1900s.
Victor Kremer, a German-born music publisher and composer found his way to Cardiff and laid claim to the Composer District, north of Birmingham Drive. Current resident Billy Stern said his experience walking through his neighborhood with his oldest son in 2004, and noticing all of the street names designated as great composers was intriguing.
Stern set out on a journey of discovery to uncover the origins of the neighborhood street names.
“It was just a great story of Victor Kremer and his passion for music and the arts,” Stern said.
Given his own deep love of music, Stern, who is on the board of directors of the nonprofit Guitars in the Classroom and an accomplished guitarist, the process of learning about the roots of his neighborhood came naturally.
“I definitely care about the community and I definitely care about music,” he said.
A self described “knowledge navigator,” Stern said he was aptly prepared to find out why Kremer chose the composers such as Mozart and Verdi and others to put a stamp on the area.
“Each composer was a brilliant character,” Stern said. He said there are so many interesting people that still live here today and are attracted to the area that the existence of the composer district serves as a metaphor.
“When he (Kremer) put a street sign up it was meant to inspire people,” Stern said he believes.
What was originally going to be named “the paradise artists’ colony” became the Composer District. While his fellow musicians scoffed at the idea of living in a remote outpost, Kremer was not deterred.
Perhaps his most obvious legacy is the addition of “by-the-Sea” to Cardiff, taken from the popular 1914 song “By the Beautiful Sea.”
“This is an opportunity to learn about the fascinating history of the Cardiff Composer District and the 12 composer-named streets and enjoy a musical performance of the composers’ pieces by one of San Diego’s finest guitar duos,” Stern said. He will narrate a multimedia history followed by a musical performance by classically trained guitarists Fred Benedetti and George Svoboda.
“It’s a story about someone following their passion and really caring about the community they live in,” Stern said. “Kramer planted seeds that would benefit generations to come. These composers were bigger than rock stars. They were virtuosos appreciated by royalty and common people alike.
“The 12 composers are each amazing stories, some of them weren’t appreciated at all during their life,” he said, referring to especially to Bach.
“For the younger audience there’s an interesting depth to what you see on the surface of things,” Stern said. “I think one of the lessons is to take the time to learn some of the history of the community, of your own life.
“It’s really about appreciating history, the music and making your community a really wonderful place to live,” he said. That’s exactly what Kramer did according to Stern.
The venue has changed to the Ada Harris Elementary School Auditorium in order to accommodate a larger audience. Doors open at 6 p.m. with light refreshments served and the program will begin at 7 p.m. There is a suggested ticket donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children, but any amount will be accep