The following was written by Samohi Orchestra parent Neil Hofland in 1999:

One of the Samohi Orchestra's most memorable concerts occurred at the 1982 CMEA meeting in a hotel in downtown Los Angeles.  The group was scheduled to play in the early afternoon and some of us parents managed to get free to come down and watch.  We arrived about a half hour before the scheduled time to find Mrs. Beasley and some of the kids in tears and all the kids standing around looking glum.  They had scheduled us in a room that could hardly contain the Orchestra.  Our Orchestra had 90 members at the time and we would have blown the roof off the place and nobody could get in to hear us.
 
A couple other parents and I got hold of whoever was in charge and said we had to have the biggest room available which was the main ballroom.  They had a jazz band scheduled in there.  Once they realized the goof-up everyone started running around and making changes to room assignments, and we were told we could use the ballroom.  The only problem was there were no music stands or podium and the place wasn't set up.  There was 15 to 20 minutes of frenzied activity while the kids and parents worked feverishly to improvise.  There were lots of chairs but only a few kids happened to have music stands, so we stacked up chairs to the height of music stands and put the music on them.
 
Someone came up with a piece of plywood and we pushed 4 chairs together facing each other and put the plywood on top to serve as the podium.  There was a really big stack of chairs in front of Mrs. Beasley to be her music stand.  Parents stood nearby to keep the chairs from sliding around, Mrs. Beasley was helped up to her podium, and took the kids through their normal warm-up and tuning exercises.
 
I moved to the back of the room and told my wife, Lorraine, that this was either going to be the biggest disaster we had ever seen or the most remarkable concert in history.  It turned out to be the most remarkable and best concert I have ever seen and heard in my life.  You could actually sense the tension, excitement, and determination those kids and Mrs. Beasley had.  It felt as if were I to light a match the whole room would explode.  Mrs. Beasley raised her baton to a room absolutely silent.  People were hardly breathing.  When she brought down her baton the room did explode into the most inspired and emotional performance anyone there had ever experienced.  The orchestra was absolutely magnificent.
 
When they started playing the concert of about half an hour there were only around 50 people in the room.  Some of them quickly got up and left, only to return shortly with others in tow.  The word flashed around the hotel and everyone came running.  There weren't enough chairs for the audience because we had used so many for music stands.  By the end of the first piece, all other activity had ceased at the convention and the room was filling up with teachers, people who were hotel guests who just happened to wander by, and students from other groups, including the jazz band.  By the end of the concert the room was filled like a sardine can.
 
The audience listened and watched with rapt attention and applauded wildly at the completion of each number.  Our kids didn't smile or in any way acknowledge the applause.  They just changed their music and never took their eyes off Mrs. Beasley.  They were in another world.  When they finished the final number the applause lasted for several minutes.  Adults and students were clapping wildly and yelling "Bravo."  Some of the students were whistling, cheering, and jumping up and down so they could see.  When the applause finally stopped, Mrs. Beasley was mobbed.  Those of us who were recognized as parents were approached by people who expressed their amazement at what they had just experienced.  Students pushed their way forward to the Orchestra and into the various sections who played the same instruments they did.  They treated our kids almost like rock stars and heaped praise upon them.
 
As things began to subside, we moved forward to talk to our sophomore daughter, Kirsti, who played the flute.  We literally just stared at each other for awhile and none of us could talk.  Finally my daughter composed herself enough to ask in a rather quivering voice if I could get her a drink of water.  I quickly moved to the nearest water cooler and brought back a cup of water for her.  When she reached for it she couldn't grab hold of it because her hand was shaking so much.  After a few moments she was able to take it from me and drink it.  When she finished she looked at us and smiled for the first time and asked if they had played as well as it sounded to her.  I told her it was better than she could imagine.  We all shed a couple of tears and went home.
 
True excellence is a rare commodity.  A very small number of people can truthfully say they were part of something truly excellent.  Most of those who have had the experience never forget it.  It may even mold their lives.  They learn what it takes to achieve and maintain excellence.  It is not easy.  It requires dedication, self sacrifice, practice, skill, concentration, and other qualities that can be applied throughout a lifetime of endeavors to achieve and succeed at high levels.
 
The 1982 CMEA concert represents to me, and I expect to most of the other parents and students who were there, the absolute high water mark for the Samohi Orchestra.  Our orchestras are always in the top percentile and there have been many other great performances, but nothing to match the way those kids and Mrs. Beasley rose to the occasion.  They demonstrated the skill, devotion, determination and courage that makes true champions.
  
- Written by a parent who was inspired by Lida Beasley
 
 

 
1984 California Music Educators Honor Concert
Samohi Orchestra Introduction
By the CMEA President
 
Santa Monica High School has the finest Orchestras, I say this without equivocation, in the United States. It has been my pleasure to hear quite a few groups, and Samohi has come through with flying colors, year after year. Their director is Lida Beasley who is just a super woman; super in the amount of energy she has, Number 1. Number 2, she is super in the amount of talent that she has. And Number 3, the one thing that all us as music educators are dedicated to, she is super with the love of the children that she works with.  The program that she is going to play reflects very, very well the great confidence that she justifiably has in her young charges, Beethoven and Berlioz, 2 great "B's", but I know one thing, they'll both come out "A plus".