by Jan Cox


[media-credit name=”MVL” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]Symponysilk2[/media-credit]   Benjamin J. Wade truly fits the description of a Renaissance man. He is Coach on the popular “Survivor” show, coach of the men’s soccer team at Lassen Community College, Susanville, author of a new book called “No Turning Back” published by Shapato press, and Maestro for the Susanville Symphony.

Born into a musical family, Ben couldn’t wait until he could play trumpet like his father, who played professionally. At home, the entire family created music together; father on trumpet, mother on piano and brother on violin. Ben received his first trumpet in second grade and went on to win many awards.

His father’s work took them to many different countries where the family began playing music together four hours a day while he practiced another two. Through this family quartet, he learned how to balance his playing with others. And through his father, Ben learned to have a deep understanding of each note and how to extract as much from it as he could. Those earlier discoveries now lead him to expect the very best from the symphony members as they prepare for concerts.

When Wade arrived in Susanville in 2001, he encouraged the community to develop a symphony. It was here that music became very stimulating to him again (after a break from the trumpet to pursue his many interests.) It was also this transition that awakened a deeper part of him and led to composing music.

Ben was once told to “take your first love and make it your hobby and take your hobby and make it your career.” He says Susanville has allowed him to do that. This place allows him to coach soccer and direct the symphony, while enjoying the clear mountain air and beauty of the surroundings.

The Susanville Symphony is in its 9th season. Upcoming, December 2nd and 4th will be the Christmas Concert featuring Deb Sokol as soloist singing Ave Maria, Russian Christmas Music by Alexander Reed, Dancing Wooden Soldiers and some music that the Maestro, himself, has written.

In February, The Red Violin will be a once-in-a-lifetime concert featuring world renowned violinist, Elizabeth Pitcairn doing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. You will not want to miss this one. The April concert brings us Spanish music and June, the always popular, Pop’s Concert. Wade tailors his music to the people and hopes that everyone can experience a symphony in their lifetime.

Tickets may be ordered online at or from Leslie Jewelry, 700 Main St. Susanville, CA 96130. Concerts are held Fridays at 7pm and Sundays at 2:30pm.

And don’t forget, the Maestro can be seen on Survivor on CBS, Wednesday nights at 8pm!