Arts and Entertainment

See Whidbey community in an orchestra

Director Debbie Knight leads a practice session of the Whidbey Orchestra in preparation for its final concert of the season at 7 p.m. Friday, May 31 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland. Admission is free.  - Contributed photo
Director Debbie Knight leads a practice session of the Whidbey Orchestra in preparation for its final concert of the season at 7 p.m. Friday, May 31 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland. Admission is free.
— image credit: Contributed photo

RECORD STAFF

You go to a football game to watch the kids in the community play, so why not go to a concert to hear your community play?

That’s the analogy used by Jim Lux, president of the Whidbey Orchestra, in urging people to attend its final concert of the season at 7 p.m. Friday, May 31, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Highway 525 and Woodard Avenue in Freeland.

And unlike a high school football game, you don’t have to pay to hear this 35-member orchestra. Donations are accepted, but those involved play for the pure joy of making music together.

The orchestra dates back more than two decades under various leaders. Lux said the present musical director, Debbie Knight, is doing a good job working with the wide range of talent, ages and instruments available in the community.

“Basically you show up and you play,” Lux said, describing how to get involved with the orchestra. A brass man himself as a trumpet player, he’d like to see a larger brass section. But there’s always room for more strings and winds, he added.

The orchestra has three sessions each year, ending each with a concert in the late fall, late winter and late spring before taking a summer break. Practices are held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. each Thursday at South Whidbey High School.

Concert-goers will hear an eclectic range of music, assuring there will be something to appeal to anyone’s musical tastes. There are concertos by Vivaldi, part of a Mozart symphony, and even music from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” among other selections.

Lux is in his third year with the orchestra but the May 31 presentation won’t be just another concert for him. It’ll be his first opportunity to direct the orchestra, in John Philip Sousa’s rousing “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

“I’ve never conducted before,” he said, his voice giving away a little nervousness. “It’s a lot more than standing there and waving your arms around.”

Lux said ages of musicians in the orchestra range from 9 to 83. “Eighty to 90 percent are ‘comeback players,’” he said, meaning people who played in their younger years, gave it up, and then came back. He’s a good example as he came back to playing the trumpet after a 35-year interlude.

He plays in smaller groups as well, but they just can’t match the musical experience of an orchestra, he said.

“The fundamental mission of a local orchestra is to provide a large orchestral orchestra for local people to play that type of music,” he said. “The value is being able to play with others and create the textures of music you can’t do wit a trio or quartet.”

Lux said all are welcome to next Friday’s concert and anyone with an instrument and some musical ability can join the group. “I’m interested in making and sustaining local music of this caliber,” he said. Give him a call at 321-4221.

 

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