No Strings Attached

Musical Opportunities Abound for Pocket Violinist

By Corky Mau
February 2019

Reylynn Imai makes beautiful music, from classical to rock, with perhaps the most versatile musical tool ever invented—the violin.

“I love how the violin sings,” Imai says. “You can hear it humming and resonating through its whole body as you play. It’s as close to singing as I can get. I started playing at age 10 and I’m still not done learning this instrument.”

Imai, a Pocket resident, is a homegrown musician, raised in Folsom and educated at Sacramento State and San Francisco State. Her current musical life is multi-faceted. Monday through Friday, she is a private violin teacher whose students have ranged from age 4 to the mid-80s.

She also plays violin in a rock band and is a proud member of the Camellia Symphony Orchestra, now in its 56th season. Imai and her symphonic colleagues have been practicing for six weeks, preparing for a concert at C.K. McClatchy High School on Saturday, Feb. 16.

The Camellia Symphony has 90 musicians, including some of the area’s best professionals and top volunteer musicians selected by audition. Members frequently go to evening rehearsals straight from their day jobs, still dressed in medical scrubs or business suits.

Over the years, the orchestra has moved its home base around Sacramento, from local high schools to Sacramento City College Performing Arts Center. In 2018, the orchestra found a new home at the remodeled McClatchy auditorium. Funded by a multi-million-dollar grant, the auditorium has been described as the best venue for symphonic music in Sacramento.

Maestro Christian Baldini has served seven years as the orchestra’s music director and conductor. He has traveled the world working with orchestras, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony, but his young family now resides in Davis.

Baldini describes the Camellia Symphony Orchestra as “a cultural jewel in our community.” The musicians occasionally offer free bilingual family concerts. For each performance, elementary schools receive free tickets. This season, each concert includes at least one piece by a female composer.

The Feb. 16 concert, titled “Past, Present and Future,” is dedicated to works by African-American composers. A pre-concert talk begins at 6:45 p.m. and the performance follows at 7:30 p.m. To learn more about the Camellia Symphony, visit



The Central California Hemophilia Foundation will hold its annual Surf & Turf on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 5:30 p.m. at Elks Lodge No. 6. In addition to crab and grilled tri-tip, the evening will feature a silent auction and dancing to the Metro Swing Band. Tickets are $55 per person. Proceeds will provide assistance to local families and children with blood disorders. For more information or to purchase tickets, email or call (916) 448-0370.

The Elks Lodge No. 6 also will host its annual Crab & Shrimp Feast on Saturday, Feb. 23. No-host cocktails will begin at 6 p.m. and the all-you-can-eat dinner will be served at 7 p.m. Tickets are $55 per person and can be purchased from the lodge or by calling (916) 422-6666.



Pocket resident Carolyn Mullins has received the Boje and Price Award for Outstanding Volunteerism from the United Way California Capital Region chapter. This honor is awarded to a person who exemplifies the work of United Way as a champion for volunteerism in the community.

Mullins was honored for her commitment to the Square One Project, which ensures more students graduate from local high schools, prepared for success in college and beyond. To learn more about the United Way, visit



Enjoy the sounds of the legendary Jim Cullum Jazz Band at a Mardi Gras Jazz Brunch on Sunday, Feb. 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Elks Lodge No. 6.
Several local award-winning youth jazz bands also will entertain. Cost is $25 per person for the all-you-can-eat brunch and concert, or $15 for the concert only.



Assembly Member Jim Cooper will hold office hours at the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21. For more information, contact Daniel Washington at (916) 670-7888 or

Following from 6 to 7 p.m., District 7 City Council Member Rick Jennings will meet with constituents. For more information, contact Yoon Chau at (916) 808-7192 or

Corky Mau can be reached at Submissions are due six weeks prior to publication date.

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