Santa Barbara Symphony welcomes Vice President of Community Education and Enrichment, Dr. Nicholas Fuentes

(September 2021) Santa Barbara, California – The Santa Barbara Symphony is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Nicholas Fuentes as the new Vice President of Community Education and Enrichment. In this key role, Dr Fuentes will lead the Symphony’s award-winning, inclusive and accessible programs and, through this, create a community of learners passionate about music and the arts.

“As a first generation American and first generation student, I care deeply about educating young people and enabling them to see that anything is possible through continued learning,” said Dr. Fuentes. “First generation youth often don’t have the social capital to be successful. I consider it my duty to ensure that all young people receive the encouragement, mentorship and knowledge necessary to be successful. Music is a wonderful vehicle to inspire students to develop essential life skills through training, performing in ensembles, and performing in front of audiences.

Each year, the Santa Barbara Symphony provides more than 10,000 children in Santa Barbara County with a high-quality, equal access music education through its music education programs: a continuum of connected programs designed to support and engage students. at each stage of their musical journey; foster collaboration, trust and community, empowering students to be their best through music. The Symphony offers the only music education programming in the region linked to a professional symphony orchestra. The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony has a long history in the community and notable alumni in and off the field. In addition, its strategic partnership with Westmont College provides even more opportunities for students through mentorship, creative youth development and performance.

Dr Fuentes has spent the past 12 years at CSU Channel Islands, as Director of the Extended Education Division and as Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Prior to that, he was Registrar and Director of Student Services for the Professional and Continuing Education Division at UC Santa Barbara.

A native of Los Angeles, Dr Fuentes received a BA in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara, an MA in Organizational Management from Antioch University in Santa Barbara, and an EdD in Educational Leadership. Fuentes has been passionate about music his whole life. He and his wife Renee have four grown children and live in Ventura with their two dogs.

Santa Barbara Symphony Artistic and Music Director Nir Kabretti said, “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Fuentes to the Symphony family to lead our various educational programs. This is a new milestone for the Symphony and shows our commitment to enriching the Santa Barbara community with the joy of musical education. Music is the journey of a lifetime and with the expertise of Dr Fuentes we look forward to continuing and expanding the impact of music on children and adults of all ages ”.

About the Santa Barbara Symphony Music Education Programs

The Symphony Orchestra’s music education programs will resume serving its Youth sets in-person students this season for all three ensembles: the Camerata Ensemble and the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Marisa McLeod and Karen Dutton, and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony conducted by Dr. Yvette Devereaux.

Symphony programs, designed to engage elementary school students, including WELL DONE! after school music lessons, Concerts for young people and the Music van, will be offered virtually during the pandemic. A “Virtual music van”Which was designed and produced by the Music Education team provides a virtual music experience for students to learn and enjoy. Guided by docents and volunteers, this video is available at our local schools as a virtual alternative to the Music Van in-person experience. Click HERE to watch the Music Van video. Educators can contact Marie Hebert at [email protected] to request the video and accompanying materials for the class.

About the Santa Barbara Symphony

A professional orchestra founded in 1953 on the belief that a special city deserves a special orchestra, the Santa Barbara Symphony is constantly praised for its innovation, artistic excellence, commitment to delivering dynamic music education programs and is widely recognized as the ‘one of the main establishments. Under the artistic direction since 2006 of charismatic Israeli conductor and resident of Santa Barbara, Nir Kabaretti, the Symphony is one of the few orchestras in the country to have found a way to bring the orchestra together for a full season of broadcasts in direct during COVID. Its mission to bring joy, commitment and connection to the community was amplified during the pandemic, when the Symphony was needed most. As the only music education program linked to a professional symphony orchestra in the region, its award-winning programs serve more than 10,000 students in Santa Barbara County each year. For more information, visit

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