West Coast Symphony Orchestra founder Christopher Story VI conducted free concerts at the Courthouse Sunken Gardens, including the annual Fourth of July concert, for decades. | Credit: Courtesy

West Coast Symphony Orchestra founder Christopher Story VI — a familiar sight for decades, baton in hand, conducting free annual concerts at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Gardens for Fiesta and Fourth of July, Bach by Candlelight, Mozart by Candlelight, and many other beloved community celebrations since 1966 — died this week. He was 97.

Founder and Musical Director Emeritus of the Cielo Foundation for Performing Arts, Maestro Story presented classical music concerts to appreciative Santa Barbara audiences since founding the nonprofit in 1969. He received his musical training at the University of Michigan and UCLA, and he conducted orchestras around the world, including Budapest and Moscow. 

Story was the father of six (five daughters and his namesake son, Christopher VII). His beloved wife, Barbara Joan Story, died in 2008.

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