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A full-length documentary film about how classical chamber music teaches young people to play well with others--in music and in life!

PACO Music Director and conductor Benjamin Simon hosted our short film or PHASE ONE as seen above--which inspires our team to launch a full-length documentary film or PHASE TWO!
PACO Music Director and conductor Benjamin Simon hosted our short film or PHASE ONE as seen above--which inspires our team to launch a full-length documentary film or PHASE TWO!

We're launching an ambitious full-length documentary film about The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (PACO) and its mission of teaching young people to play well with others in music and in life.  This second stage goal or PHASE TWO follows a successful campaign to produce PHASE ONE, a short film on the same subject already made possible with your help on Kickstarter.com!

And, yes, the short film is now DONE!  

We've posted the short film we're calling PHASE ONE on Kickstarter.com above to share it with you and to give you a clear and deeper understanding of what we envision, our capability--and why we believe the story of PACO will inspire you, too!

Thank you for all your generous support to make PHASE ONE a reality!

Cellist and Teacher Irene Sharp provides thoughtful insights about the history of PACO for the filmmakers.
Cellist and Teacher Irene Sharp provides thoughtful insights about the history of PACO for the filmmakers.

A team of talented filmmakers landed in Palo Alto in October 2012 to roll cameras for PHASE ONE--interviewing students, musicians, teachers, parents, alums, volunteers, staff--many extended family members of The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (PACO). 

First AC Justin Jeung, Camera Assistant Cara Briese and Director of Photography David Y. Chung prepare cameras for an interview with PACO's Board Chairman Cary Chin.
First AC Justin Jeung, Camera Assistant Cara Briese and Director of Photography David Y. Chung prepare cameras for an interview with PACO's Board Chairman Cary Chin.

The film team was received with open arms and given complete access to capture the magic and essence of this worthy, non-profit organization which has touched the lives of so many families since its founding in 1966.

PACO's Founding Conductor, Maestro William Whitson, and violinist Jenny Rudin celebrate a successful performance in this rare, historical photo.
PACO's Founding Conductor, Maestro William Whitson, and violinist Jenny Rudin celebrate a successful performance in this rare, historical photo.

Many legendary teachers who knew PACO's founding conductor William Whitson, granted rare access to our cameras to help the filmmakers better understand what sets this chamber ensemble orchestra apart and why its mission is so relevant and significant today and in the future!

Director Ty Kim and Violinist and Teacher Jenny Rudin discuss the documentary after cameras stopped rolling.
Director Ty Kim and Violinist and Teacher Jenny Rudin discuss the documentary after cameras stopped rolling.

After four days and nights of cameras rolling, dozens of complex camera set-ups, massive amounts of data wrangling, transcoding and color correcting, and many late night meals provided by PACO volunteer families, the film team returned to Los Angeles.  We worked around-the-clock with three editors to complete the post-production process!  PHASE ONE was truly an experience of a lifetime.

And, hey, we're just getting started!

Every frame of footage shot in PHASE ONE is part of a much bigger and ambitious project which we're now calling PHASE TWO: a full-length documentary film about the history, the musicians, the teachers, the generations of families of PACO--the lives it has impacted and changed, the careers in both music and outside of music it has launched and most of all the worthy mission of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra!

Cinematographer David Y. Chung and Director Ty Kim confer on how best to capture a shot while on set.
Cinematographer David Y. Chung and Director Ty Kim confer on how best to capture a shot while on set.

Some PACO alums have gone on to play for the great orchestras of the world including the New York Philharmonic while others have become renowned solo artists and teachers.  Others have gone on to successful careers in business, medicine, technology and education--you name it!  But, they all have one thing in common: they learned to play well with others early in life and that lesson impacted them to later become great teammates, collaborators, co-workers, managers, parents, husbands, wives and friends.

PACO Guest Conductor Kati Kyme leads the ensemble in a rousing performance of Bela Bartok's "Divertimento for String Orchestra."
PACO Guest Conductor Kati Kyme leads the ensemble in a rousing performance of Bela Bartok's "Divertimento for String Orchestra."

The message of learning to play well with others continues to resonate beyond the extended family of PACO across decades and continents.  Many of you have written us expressing support, encouragement and resources. The message of playing well with others has inspired backers from across the country and across oceans to support these two film projects on kickstarter.com.  WOW! Has word spread quickly!  Over 100 People on Facebook "liked" our PHASE ONE PROJECT...over 100 UNIQUE BACKERS on kickstarter.com helped us exceed our funding goals for PHASE ONE! Now, we need you to please do the same.  

We really are "The Little Engine That Could!" and with your help and support we can!

Digital Imaging Technician Stan Paik, Associate Producer Reba Rosenthal and PACO's Vae Sun prepare cameras.
Digital Imaging Technician Stan Paik, Associate Producer Reba Rosenthal and PACO's Vae Sun prepare cameras.

The full documentary of PACO in PHASE TWO, will ensure that cameras roll as the chamber ensemble travels to Italy with its centuries-long history and tradition of classical music.  Did you know that the violin family first appeared in essentially its modern form in northern Italy? It is believed that the violin actually originated from Italy in the early 1500s!

PACO's Director of Preparatory Orchestra & Superstrings Kris Yenney. Kris played in PACO as a child herself and now she conducts PACO!
PACO's Director of Preparatory Orchestra & Superstrings Kris Yenney. Kris played in PACO as a child herself and now she conducts PACO!

PHASE TWO is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness these bright, young musicians discovering the birthplace of modern classical music while performing in some of the most beautiful and significant concert venues in Italy.

More importantly, the documentary will serve as a historical record of an organization that has raised the bar in musical education and fostering cooperation among young musicians of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and walks of life since the mid-1960's!  Volunteers, parents and supportive patrons like you have helped PACO grow in a time when cutbacks for funding of the arts, public school music education and public awareness of classical music have changed how our children learn about music.

For years, Mentor Jenny Rudin taught students at PACO's summer music camp.  Today, teachers carry on the same tradition inspiring students who sometimes wake up at 5:00 am to practice!
For years, Mentor Jenny Rudin taught students at PACO's summer music camp. Today, teachers carry on the same tradition inspiring students who sometimes wake up at 5:00 am to practice!

The filmmakers believe the message of hope can help other youth music programs and inspire people from different generations and professions to do what these talented young people do:  to learn how to play well with others.

Cameraman Rob Englehardt and Director Ty Kim discuss a camera angle as PACO Guest Conductor Scott Krijnen inspires young musicians.
Cameraman Rob Englehardt and Director Ty Kim discuss a camera angle as PACO Guest Conductor Scott Krijnen inspires young musicians.

And, now some really great news!  The world renowned cellist Matt Haimovitz who began his musical journey as a member of PACO has agreed to tour with the chamber orchestra in Italy!  Which means our cameras will be rolling as Matt shares his musical insights and knowledge with these young musicians and with you!

Matt Haimovitz began his musical journey as a PACO student and continues to give generously of his time and support to PACO.
Matt Haimovitz began his musical journey as a PACO student and continues to give generously of his time and support to PACO.

Matt made his debut in 1984 at the age of thirteen, as a soloist with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic.  At seventeen, he made his first recording with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon (Universal Classics).  He has gone on to perform with the world's great orchestras including the New York Philharmonic with Zubin Mehta, the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Slatkin and the Cleveland Orchestra with Charles Dutoit.  Matt's performances are available on Oxingale Records.  

Today, renowned cellist Matt Haimovitz concertizes the world and will join PACO in Italy for the documentary you're reading about on kickstarter.com!                      Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Mackinnon.
Today, renowned cellist Matt Haimovitz concertizes the world and will join PACO in Italy for the documentary you're reading about on kickstarter.com! Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Mackinnon.

We really want to make sure this project can happen.  We've come so far and we cannot stop now.  So, now more than ever is the time to spread the word and to tell your friends, colleagues, family, fellow musicians and music lovers about our kickstarter.com campaign.  You've got us this far!  Now, let's hear your cadenza.

You're amazing!

THANK YOU!

So, please help us get cameras rolling for PHASE TWO and remind everyone why this truly is...

A STORY WORTH TELLING

Founded in 1966, the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (PACO) brings together talented young musicians of high school age and younger.

The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra.
The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra.

Members often spend 5-10 years working closely and by joining this extended musical family, young people learn a vital skill:  how to play well with others--not only as fellow musicians, but as people from diverse cultural backgrounds who form lifetime friendships and can to contribute to a team.  They leave PACO learning something that they take away with them for life!  In a world that often glorifies personal glory over a team effort, PACO instills the value of serving the group, not individual goals--all through the unique art form of chamber music.

The results have been remarkable.

As filmmakers, we feel passionate about bringing this refreshing, inspiring and original story to a wider audience because we think it can motivate others from all walks of life and remind them about the power of the human spirit. This is not just a small, sweet story about the dying art form of classical music. The heart and soul of the story about reaching inside someone and learning what it takes to give selflessly of time, energy and life force to others. And, realizing that if a child can do that in music, then all of us can learn to do the same in life.  In our workplace.  In our homes.  In marriage.  In community.  In life.

"Playing Well With Others" is not only the mission of PACO, it's the best way to live!
"Playing Well With Others" is not only the mission of PACO, it's the best way to live!

Every student who enters PACO goes through a rigorous audition process. While it attracts some of the most technically gifted and musical young minds, it's not just about hitting the right notes. The mighty beating heart of PACO rests in the gifted young musicians, families, volunteers and teachers who value gratitude, humility and teamwork.  We're awed and humbled by their generosity of spirit and their can-do approach.  Everyone pitches in and helps on any level--every student is regarded with the same level of importance. Players rotate chairs so everyone has a chance to work under the baton of PACO's music director, Benjamin Simon, who has led the organization since 2002.

PACO Music Director and Conductor Benjamin Simon has led the organization since 2002.
PACO Music Director and Conductor Benjamin Simon has led the organization since 2002.

Maestro Simon possesses the rare gift of being able to explain what the music means to people of all ages and all backgrounds including those in the audience who have no knowledge of classical music.  Mr. Simon made the successful transition to conductor following twenty-five years as a violist performing with some of the greatest orchestras in the world including The New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Today, he serves as the Music Director and Conductor of PACO as well as the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra which he transformed into one of the premiere professional ensembles in California.

To the filmmakers, Benjamin Simon is reminiscent of the legendary Leonard Bernstein who a generation ago, impacted and reached an international audience in his nationally televised "Young People's Concerts" which inspired children and parents to care deeply about classical music.

Legendary Maestro Leonard Bernstein inspired a national audience to care about classical music a generation ago.
Legendary Maestro Leonard Bernstein inspired a national audience to care about classical music a generation ago.

It's been a long time since we've seen someone willing to share that message with the public.  Through humor, wit and a razor-sharp intellect, Mr. Simon draws you into a world of chamber music and we promise you will be glad you went along for the ride.

Since we've gone "live" on kickstarter.com we have heard from not only current and recent students of PACO, but also many musicians who played and cherished their time with the organization's original founder and conductor, Maestro William Whitson.  

PACO's founding music director and conductor, Maestro William Whitson, led the organization for the first thirty-seven years.
PACO's founding music director and conductor, Maestro William Whitson, led the organization for the first thirty-seven years.

Maestro Whitson, a respected violinist and teacher, led PACO for its first thirty-seven years.  We've talked to many colleagues, teachers, friends and students who knew Bill even before PACO was launched and they have expressed their support of this documentary film because they want future generations to understand the lasting impact this experience has made on their lives.

THE PROJECT

There are TWO PHASES to bring this story to a wider audience.  We already successfully completed PHASE ONE (many thanks again!), and now we're launching PHASE TWO with this new kickstarter.com campaign.

PHASE ONE - was a short documentary film of about ten minutes in length. You can see what your generous donations and pledges produced in the short film we've posted at the top of the screen.

We raised enough funds for camera and equipment rentals, crew and expenses.  The film director recruited some of the very best working professionals in the film and television industry to lend their time, energy and talent to this project.  Many of the production team have earned over 100 show credits on network and major cable shows as well as feature films.  We shot PHASE ONE with Epic Red System cameras and edited the film on Final Cut Pro using Apple Computers.  The crew consisted of students, volunteers, parents, seasoned professionals and most of all the musical artists, staff and board of PACO.

PHASE TWO - A full-length feature documentary of approximately 90-minutes in length.

The documentary will expand on the short film as PACO travels to Italy to share its message and music with an international audience.  The feature will be a hypnotic, modern, visually and aurally compelling presentation that conveys the emotion, the power of classical music, the uplifting mission of PACO--playing well with others, set against the cultural backdrop of Italy in all its grand splendor.  We want the audience to feel the joy and struggle of young musicians as they feel what it is like to reach for a higher bar while traveling to the birth-place of modern instrument making in Cremona, Italy and play well with other young musicians a half a world away.

If you are interested in pledging support, offering resources, joining our filmmaking team or have any questions, please contact us through this site.

THE FILMMAKERS

We're a dedicated group of industry professionals many of whom have earned over 100 show credits working on highly visible films and television shows for major networks and leading cable networks.

Sound Technician Josh Atkins designs a solution with string, microphones and elbow grease to capture the true sonic fidelity of PACO's performance at Cubberley Auditorium in Palo Alto.
Sound Technician Josh Atkins designs a solution with string, microphones and elbow grease to capture the true sonic fidelity of PACO's performance at Cubberley Auditorium in Palo Alto.

Our director is an award-winning storyteller who recruited an experienced production team committed to backing worthy projects that employ state-of-the-art technology and some of the most talented craftsmen and craftswomen working in the business today.

Our team is hand-picked and we're always looking for talented people who know what it means to "play well with others" and to excel at their craft.  We're interested in giving our time and talent back to the community--and we firmly believe it's important to lend our ability to projects of worthy merit, not just about the bottom line.  Our director runs a private consulting practice that serves start-ups, pre-IPO companies, branded companies, private clients and non-profits.  We specialize in building brands with feature-film quality trailers that tell a story in a way that no one else can.  

Director Ty Kim and Muhammad Ali on set during a recent documentary about Native American culture and art.
Director Ty Kim and Muhammad Ali on set during a recent documentary about Native American culture and art.

A recent project was a half-hour documentary about the Native American culture and art hosted by former US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor with a rare appearance by Muhammad Ali who supports the message of peace and social justice.

WHAT IS KICKSTARTER?

Kickstarter is a crowd-source funding platform that allows people just like you to make donations towards ideas like our documentaries and turn them into reality.  You can donate any amount you wish to.  We understand and value every single dollar and what it means especially to working class families on a budget.  In exchange, you can know by doing your part to help "kickstart" the documentary, you will receive some cool gifts and a whole lot of gratitude.  

Please remember that Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" deal which means that we can only be funded if we reach our total goal.  So please accept our thanks in advance for being generous.  To donate, please click on the "Back This Project" button on the top right of this page.  We're grateful for a dollar or  any amount that you can pledge.

Thank you for watching!

Original artwork courtesy of the artist Kris Yenney.    All rights reserved.
Original artwork courtesy of the artist Kris Yenney. All rights reserved.

This documentary is dedicated to the musicians, teachers, volunteers, parents, friends, supporters, artists, luthiers, audiences--and to you!  The extended family of PACO!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Risks - We're hoping that we can fulfill your rewards according to our estimated timetable. However, there are always possible delays when it comes to making a film--and the post-production process of a full-length documentary is a huge and complex problem solving puzzle. So, we must please ask for your patience in delivering your earned prizes for your generous pledges.

Shipping - The post office can sometimes lose stuff. So, please know that we will monitor our mail through kickstarter and answer any questions you may have to ensure you receive your awards.

This worthy non-profit has been powered by volunteers and generous donors over the years. From a financial standpoint, the organization's health has been sustained under the careful and watchful eye of its board, appointed officers several of whom hold full-time positions with leading technology companies in Silicon Valley. PACO is financially healthy because our people pick up paperclips and save where we can for a rainy day. Most of all, we value the idea of giving the same opportunity to learn to future generations of talented young musicians.

PHASE TWO represents a new chapter in PACO's timeline and requires a tremendous amount of constant care to help "uplift" the mission to a broader audience. It will require continued patience, time, manpower and resources outside the scope of the organization. We understand that all good things must grow and change with the times or be left behind. PACO intends to lead and show what can be done even in a time of crisis for the arts. With your help and pledges, amazing things can be done.

Any film requires a distributor if it is to eventually find a wider audience. We plan to offer the documentary to a variety of traditional and modern distribution platforms to gain the type of access to a broader audience that we hope to reach with the message of "playing well with others." That being said, we cannot control the distribution process. Some very high profile projects that have gone on to become popular films sit on a shelf sometimes for years before they are selected for distribution. While that is not our plan, we believe a good story will always find a home. And, this is a very good story.

Challenges - There really is never enough time or resources. In order to meet our deadlines and deliver a full length documentary film, we must reach the proper funding levels to complete the production PHASE TWO. This, in turn, will allow us to hire the key personnel, rent the proper equipment, plan the process of pre-production, production and post-production.

The ample experience and commitment of the extended family of PACO will ensure that the mission of the organization will see the light of day. Proof positive is in the quality and execution of PHASE ONE. Many of the same team that brought PHASE ONE to reality are now involved and committed to PHASE TWO. We are blessed with a talented and generous group of filmmakers, storytellers, teachers, parents, educators, businessmen, businesswomen and most of all the amazing musicians of PACO--past, present and future.

FAQ

  • Sadly, no. As you can imagine, PHASE TWO is quite an operation to hire crews, rent equipment, travel, feed and house everyone who works on the film--even if they do bring all the good will in the world to the table. So, we're fundraising from multiple sources including corporate sources (with matching donations), foundations, holding fundraisers and doing everything we can to ensure that this historical record becomes a reality. All that we're asking for is for your help, ingenuity and ideas. If you have an idea or ten that can help us get our documentary made, please contact us through http://kickstarter.com. If as it was in PHASE ONE, you or someone you know wishes to pledge a large amount to our film, you can always PACO's office directly or reach us through Kickstarter and we will make sure we connect. We thank you very much for your time, your energy and your ideas.

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  • A whole lot of ways actually.

    1. If everyone person who believes in the message of "playing well with others" reached out to friends, colleagues, family members, fellow musicians, teachers--whether they like and listen to classical music or not--we can reach our goal one dollar at a time a lot quicker. Tell them about our kickstarter.com campaign. Send them the link. Pick up a phone and give them a call.

    2. Please "LIKE" our project on FACEBOOK. In PHASE ONE of our successful kickstarter.com project, almost nine percent of all pledges came through connections over FACEBOOK. Over 100 people LIKED our project. You can, too!

    3. The message of "playing well with others" is a universal and inspiring theme. We've gotten notes from everyone from world-class athletes to business executives who say the message of our film is more relevant and important than ever--and not just for young people, but for everyone! Let's reach out to people from all walks of life--who might connect with the heart and soul of our film. Let them know there's a way we can bring this message to the public!

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  • The good news: donations made to our project are tax-deductible! However, not through this Kickstarter campaign, but through our fiscal sponsor. The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts service organization; all donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

    The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra Documentary Film Project is a sponsored project of The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (PACO). If you're a US-tax payer and are in interested in making a tax-deductible donation for the purposes of this Kickstarter Campaign, please contact PACO through our website and you will be provided with a tax receipt by PACO.

    We know how hard you work to earn every dollar to pay rent, buy groceries and hopefully put something away for your retirement or your children's college education. From speaking to many donors, family foundations and patrons of the arts, the biggest challenge, however, is finding a worthy organization to give a donation.

    The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra is one of those special organizations. From a fiscal perspective, it is a healthy organization that has been run by volunteers since 1966. It watches the bottom line and provides value to so many young musicians and audiences.

    Please Google us and visit our website to learn more about PACO. Your donation for this project will be earmarked for the short documentary film and full length documentary film projects.

    In many cases, from a tax perspective many organizations such as foundations must donate a certain amount every year to charitable causes. Even in the case of individuals, a tax deductible donation is a strategic move. So, we appreciate anything that you can give and know that even a dollar will help this worthy cause.

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    Previous tier gifts plus a special, on-screen production credit for the film determined by the director. You'll be invited to join our Director and PACO's Music Director and Conductor for a special meal where a question and answer session about the making of the documentary will be held. There will be live music performed. We promise this will be an event you remember. Travel expenses are not included.

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- (60 days)