Lynn Seppala believes that music plays an important role in defining a community's quality of life and, consequently, its sense of identity.
"You need the arts for the spirit of the community," said Seppala, chief optical designer for the laser fusion program and 34-year LLNL veteran. "Having vibrant cultural arts helps bring jobs to the Livermore area. People want good schools, amenities, a clean environment and something to do culturally."
Seppala, a Livermore resident for the last 25 years, has been a longtime supporter of local and regional symphonies, opera and other classical music groups, most recently the Pacific Chamber Symphony. He served for two years as president of the symphony's governing board and continues to play an active role.
While the Pacific Chamber Symphony has been performing since 1989 in San Francisco, Napa, Contra Costa and Alameda counties, notably in Livermore, the board has in recent years undertaken to provide a broader, more stable funding base through individual contributions, such as the HOME Campaign, and support from local cultural arts organizations.
"We're very proud of what we've been able to do," Seppala said, noting the increase in the numbers of local people attending concerts and supporting the symphony.
The opening of the Bankhead Theater in Livermore has been a boon for the cultural arts in the Tri-Valley, especially music organizations that now have a venue in which to perform. "With the Bankhead we're seeing arts organizations stepping up and putting on more professional musical productions," he said. "It's a beautiful thing to have the Bankhead. Livermore has a burgeoning arts scene. I believe it is very important to create an identity for the city center so we can grow inside our boundaries.
"You don't have to go to San Francisco any more to hear top quality music," Seppala added. "You can go to the Bankhead, dine casually and be home by 10:30 p.m. We find more people are coming here from surrounding communities.
"It's also important to support cultural arts groups like the Pacific Chamber Symphony to give kids in the Livermore area the opportunity to hear top quality classical music," he said. "Music is important for youth because it can instill discipline and self-esteem and encourage personal growth. An appreciation of music is something you treasure forever."
Music has always been an important part of Seppala's life. While he is not a musician, he grew up in a musical household. His mother played piano in church and his sisters sang. To this day he cannot hear a performance of Handel's "Messiah" without hearing his sister's voice. "I grew up listening to religious music," he said. "I've always been involved in music and I have learned to appreciate more and more."
Supporting the Pacific Chamber Symphony enhances the city and the region's reputation as a vibrant cultural center, according to Seppala. "Livermore is unique in that there are very few cities of 80,000 people in the United States that have an opera company, a symphony and a chamber music group."
For more information about the Pacific Chamber Symphony see the Pacific Chamber Symphony Website.