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Marilyn Best

She has served on the Sacramento Youth Symphony (SYS) board for more than 20 years. However, she had some involvement before that. Even before moving to Europe, her children participated in a rhythms program in the Junior Music Sponsors (JMS) program here in Sacramento.  JMS was a group responsible for establishing the first junior orchestra in this city.


After her husband passed on, and while her children were still young, she decided to move to Switzerland for a year. Her children had the opportunity to study with the Geneva Music Conservatory, and she studied with one of the faculty there. Her one-year plan turned into 23 years in Switzerland.


In 1983, she resumed her involvement with JMS even though her children were now grown. Shortly thereafter, Artistic Director and Premier Orchestra Conductor, Michael Neumann, invited the JMS orchestra to merge with the SYS family.


Marilyn started with the piano as a child and progressed to the organ later.  She was the organist for her church in Geneva for a time, and while there, she also learned to play the pipe organ.


Both of her parents were heavily involved with music. Her father was president of the “Symphony Association;” he generated the idea of Symphony Youth Concerts and the dream became a reality. The first series of concerts, which her father underwrote, was called “Symphony Concerts for Young People,” which came about in 1959. Later, music awards funded by her parents, were given to the graduating senior in each of the nine high schools in the San Juan Unified District who contributed most to music during his or her years at the school. Her mother served the Sacramento Symphony Association for many years, earning her several “Distinguished Service” awards.


Marilyn joined the board as a non-voting member in 1985, and a few years later became a regular member. She has been on the board ever since.

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