Discover a new passion with classical music


Appreciation classes presented by long-time educator Ron Tarica

ATASCADERO — Ron Tarica’s series of music appreciation classes continue with a 12-week course covering Romantic Period composers dating from 1825 to 1900. It will be on Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m. from Aug. 22 to Nov. 14, with no class on Oct. 3, at the Colony Park Community Center, 5599 Traffic Way.
Composers presented include Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and other favorites.
This period covers some of the most beautiful music ever written, according to Tarica. In each session, usually covering only one composer, Tarica will introduce background about the composers, sometimes with humorous anecdotes, and play excerpts of their music.
The sessions consist of lecture, discussion and listening to classical music. Many of Tarica’s students have said this was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon and even repeated the whole series of classes multiple times.
Tarica discovered this passion for classical music at a young age when his parents, who were born in Italy, wanted him to learn to play the accordion. According to Tarica, he took lessons from the age of 7 to 17 and learned classical compositions written for piano. Though music had little to do with his chosen area of study at Illinois Institute of Technology and Northwestern University, he received a doctorate in chemical engineering from the latter, he found time to sit in on music appreciation classes.
After a 28-year career with Chevron in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tarica and a fellow retiree developed this series of classes and taught them there from 1998 to 2005. In that year Tarica and his wife moved to the Central Coast to be near their son and family. That’s when he began teaching the classes on his own. He has been teaching the classes ever since on Tuesdays in Morro Bay, Wednesdays in Atascadero and Thursdays in Paso Robles.             
“I also sing with the San Luis Obispo Master Chorale and while my wife and I lived in Marin County we performed in a dozen or so operas,” Tarica said. “I really enjoy presenting these classes and it is very rewarding to enlighten people who may otherwise have dismissed classical music. Moreover, it opens up awareness that these composers are not just famous names but real people. I also present some history of each period.”
Most of the individuals who participate in the classes are retired, but really anyone can attend.
“My hope is that people find a passion for classical music through my classes,” he said.
Registration is at Colony Park from 9 a.m. to  3 p.m. Monday to Friday or online at www.atascadero.org, Recreation Division. There is a $62 charge for each six-week session for residents and $67 for non-residents.

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