Orchestra takes walk on wild side in 27th season

Aug. 24, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

The Lee County Community Orchestra will offer Lee County residents a glimpse at the wild side of music with the theme for its 27th season, “Symphonic Creatures.”

“There is a huge catalog of orchestral music that represents or depicts different types of animals, mythological creatures and extinct creatures,” said LCCO Conductor Tara Keith. “We wanted to target all kinds of audiences, especially children, for our first concert by finding music with themes of animals.”

The orchestra, which performs free concerts in Lee County, kicked off the season Tuesday with its first rehearsal in the practice hall of the Lee County High School Fine Arts building.

“It was a huge turnout,” said Keith, who has been with the LCCO for six years. “And we had over 10 new members, which is a lot for the first rehearsal to have so many new people come out. Of the new folks, we had several high school students but also several adult players come out for the first time.”

Rehearsals are open to musicians of all ages, and Keith said the orchestra’s make-up includes everyone from middle schoolers to retirees.

“In comparison to past seasons, we definitely have a higher percentage of high schoolers than before,” Keith said. “The number of high schoolers has been increasing over the last three years. About a third

see orchestra/page a10

of the group or more are high schoolers.”

There are eight additional rehearsals scheduled before the LCCO’s first show in October, “Musical Zoo,” which will feature an instrument petting zoo on Oct. 12.

“Instead of animals on display, along the fence there will be stations with wind instruments, percussion, woodwinds, and strings,” said LCCO President Reinette Seaman, “so that children ... have that joy of knowing that music comes from the entire orchestra, from each individual instrument’s contribution.”

The LCCO has three other concerts scheduled throughout its season, including “Holiday Critters” in December, “Philharmonia Untamed” in March and “Movie Menagerie” in May.

Keith said the final show of the season, “Movie Menagerie,” will feature orchestral music from movies with fantastic creatures such as “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “E.T.”, “Lord of the Rings” and “How to Train your Dragon”.

“Whats nice about the orchestral repertoire in regards to creatures,” Keith said, “is that it covers a lot of different time periods of music and different orchestral genres. ...The orchestra is also going to be in costume for these concerts as well. Hopefully we will look kind of like a musical zoo [for the first show].”

Keith has served as the LCCO’s conductor for six seasons and has been the musical director for the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra for 12. She resides in Davidson, but said she loves making the trip to Sanford each Tuesday for LCCO rehearsals.

“The reason I go out there even though I don’t live out there is just because [the LCCO] has so much heart,” Keith said. “It’s incredibly rewarding and enjoyable. ... All of our concerts are free. We’re always happy to welcome new faces. We’re just happy to continue to offer free concerts to everybody.”

For more details about the LCCO season, see http://www.leecountycommunityorchestra.com.