The Santa Cruz Symphony is pleased to announce that Board Member Lee Duffus has been selected by the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) to receive an MVP award at the 2018 ACSO Annual Conference.

Mr. Duffus has received this award to recognize his role in creating and managing Santa Cruz Symphony programs for music education in the schools of Santa Cruz County.

“As chair of our education committee Lee Duffus has been instrumental in driving our very successful education mission,” said Owen Brown, past Board President. “He has launched and expanded our in-class listening Classical Music Classrooms program, allowing nearly 2000 students to experience classical music every day.”

ACSO gives this important award to volunteers who help promote symphonic music in their communities. Mr. Duffus’ work has helped make the Santa Cruz Symphony one of the top three providers of Arts Education in Santa Cruz County.

“Lee has an unstoppable energy and dogged perseverance to get music into every elementary classroom,” said Cordelia Neff, the Santa Cruz Symphony’s Director of Education.

His work to provide music education to every student in Santa Cruz County schools has included adoption of Carnegie Hall’s Link Up program in 2018 and, with the collaboration of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, over 3,000 4th and 5th graders learned to read music and participated by clapping, singing and playing recorders along with the Santa Cruz Symphony at their four free Youth Concerts titled The Orchestra Rocks!

“It was truly Lee’s tenacity and determination that made this happen,” said Audrey Sirota, the SCCOE Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator. “When he first spoke to me about it, it seemed like an overwhelming endeavor. He was tireless in his commitment and belief that this was something extraordinary. Lee was not mistaken. True to his vision, it was an extraordinary sight to behold hundreds of students singing, moving in unison, and playing the recorder, ukulele, or cello at “The Orchestra Rocks!” concerts last February. Thank you Lee! We are so fortunate to have you in our county supporting music for ALL our county’s children.”

Under Mr. Duffus’ guidance music education is not limited to the young. He launched the Santa Cruz Symphony Open Rehearsal program to include free admission to anyone who wants to come learn how an orchestra prepares for a concert.

Mr. Duffus has spent a lifetime in education and enjoying classical music. He spent most of his career as an administrator at the University of California at Santa Cruz and has been a Board member and patron of the Santa Cruz Symphony for many years.

The MVP award will be presented to Mr. Duffus in a special ceremony at the 2018 ACSO Annual Conference on August 10 in Sacramento.

Founded in 1958, the Santa Cruz Symphony's mission is to inspire, educate and engage through artistic excellence, distinctive musical performances, and varied activities that celebrate and enhance cultural vibrancy. With Maestro Daniel Stewart as Music Director since 2013, the Symphony partners regularly with regional and international guest artists in both traditional and modern concerts.  A cornerstone of the performing arts in the Greater San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas, Santa Cruz Symphony receives frequent critical acclaim. Visit for more information.