Friday, January 14, 2011

Orchestra Seeking More Recruits

September 1967
  So you haven’t picked up your fiddle in 10 years? Or blown your trombone since high school days?
  It doesn’t matter. With a little bit of brushing up you could become a full-fledged member of the Rochester Community Orchestra which opens rehearsals for the new season next Thursday night.
  The orchestra has come up with some professional-sounding and delightful programs during the past few years. And, according to members of the Association of the Rochester Community Orchestra, Inc., (ARCO) the lack of practice within the past 10 to 20 years doesn’t seem to matter. Most of the present orchestra musicians had neglected their musical talent for a long time too.
  For many years now, youngsters taking up musical instruments take one they can use in the school bands. Violins, cellos and all string instruments except guitars, just aren’t the “in” thing. So earlier this year the board of education voted to hire an instructor for stringed instruments. Eventually, they feel, the school may have an orchestra. But at last report, it has been impossible to even find an instructor.
  The popularity of the Detroit Symphony at the Meadow Brook Festival indicates that orchestras are far from losing their appeal. But only a few have the talent for playing with the pros. So a decade ago the Rochester Community Orchestra was born.
  It now has 30 members and needs more. ARCO president John Yongk and his son, Ron, compose two-thirds of the french horn section. “We have the feeling there are many who might want to play but don’t feel they are good enough. When he joined the orchestra a few years ago, he hadn’t touched a french horn for 20 years. John Stupka, the string bass player, hadn’t strummed that instrument for 30 years. And for Fred Weibe, it has been 40 years since he played the cello.
  Bob Dodge hadn’t blown his trombone for the last 10 years and one of the season’s guest pianists is Tom Kruger who has not seriously sat down to the piano in 35 years.
  OF COURSE, NOT EVERYONE in the orchestra has been away from their instruments. It has some high school and even a few junior high students who find that playing with an orchestra is an experience they cannot find any other place.
  Right now, according to John Yongk, the orchestra will sound even better if it can locate 10 to 12 more violins, two or three violas, a cello and one or two string basses, a clarinet, two bassoons, two trombones and two percussionists.
  Under the direction of Senior High band director Dick Goldsworthy, the orchestra rehearses in the new band room every Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Four concerts are planned for this season.