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Prelude to a Sequim community orchestra

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by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette

Those who always have wanted to play in an orchestra, but were put off by their lack of experience, are in luck.

 

The now-forming Sequim Community Orchestra will provide new members with their “orchestral chops” — the training and experience to be fully orchestra-ready.

 

Phil Morgan-Ellis, the founder and director of the North Olympic Youth Orchestra and a Port Angeles Schools string program teacher, is providing much of the guidance.

 

There will be weekly rehearsals in Sequim and additional section training with Port Angeles Symphony members.

 

“All you need,” organizers say, “is an instrument, some note-reading ability and the joy of playing music with others.”

 

Musicians of all ages are welcome; the orchestra is open to those who play strings, winds, brass or percussion.

 

Mary Moon, the co-concertmaster of the Port Angeles Symphony and a teacher of violin, viola, piano and voice, said, “The school districts here in Sequim support wholeheartedly the band program ... (but there) is no room or money for a string program in Sequim.

 

“I try to train my young violinists to think toward joining the symphony someday, but there is often no motivation for them to do so because they have never experienced the amazing fun and joy of playing good music with a group of their peers. I did convince one of my young students to join the symphony.

 

It was extraordinarily difficult for her at first because no one had ever taught her the basics of playing in an orchestra. We need a training ground for future symphony members.”

 

Lilias Green, principal violist in the symphony and also a teacher, described the orchestra’s special appeal to Sequim musicians, saying, “All of us who teach in Sequim lament the lack of orchestral training opportunities for school-age string players, as well as for adults.

 

“The Sequim schools have training for wind and brass players, but no opportunities for strings. Port Angeles city schools have a complete music program, including an excellent string program, and many from these programs eventually play with the Port Angeles Symphony.”

 

Providing the training to take the next step is the job of the new Sequim Community Orchestra, Green said.

 

To sign up, visit pmorg.net/sco.html, or call Lilias Green at 681-5469.

 


Reach Mark Couhig at mcouhig@sequimgazette.com.

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