Whidbey orchestra draws musicians back to their instruments

For many musicians, their love of music starts at a young age. But after years of practice, some part with their instrument for new endeavors.

Elaine Ludtke

Elaine Ludtke

For many musicians, their love of music starts at a young age. But after years of practice, some part with their instrument for new endeavors.

It’s a common story for many members of the Whidbey Island Community Orchestra, but with one more chapter — finding the instrument once again.

The orchestra is a place for the musicians to explore and reestablish a love for performance.

Most members of the orchestra have returned to playing an instrument after 20 or more years, said Ron Meade, treasurer of the orchestra’s board of directors.

“There’s a lot of experience in the orchestra, along with passion,” he said. “It’s a nice blend of people.”

Meade joined the orchestra eight months ago and found the musical community supportive and hopes more long-lost musicians get involved.

Colleen Childs, who plays the French horn, heard of the orchestra through word-of-mouth from a friend.

Childs was inspired to play the trumpet again after hearing a concert in Seattle. When she heard of the community orchestra and its many returning members, she decided to join and learned a new instrument, the French horn.

Childs is now in her fifth season with the orchestra and enjoys the brain exercise playing music gives her.

One of the most unique parts about this orchestra is the intergenerational partnerships, she said, and being able to mentor younger members in the orchestra.

“It’s a thrill and so fun,” she said. “We keep each other inspired.”

For James Lux, who plays the trumpet and is the president of the board of directors, the orchestra was also a place to rejuvenate his musical talents.

He described returning to the trumpet similar to picking up a bicycle again — it’s simple, but “remembering the sensations is another thing,” he said. “Music is a skill that you need to keep up.”

The orchestra has raised the bar for Lux and his sons, Nathan and Shannon. It provides a place to play for a range of skill and age levels. He said it was important to him to be able to foster local music opportunities, especially for young musicians.

“Orchestra makes your mind work. Playing with other people makes your mind work,” he said. “When you get older you have less reason to push yourself. Music is one way to keep mentally active.”

Nathan Lux, 17, joined the orchestra a year and a half ago after playing in a youth orchestra.

Nathan was hesitant at first, but after encouragement from his dad, he decided to join.

Nathan now plays second violin for the orchestra and said fellow musicians have also helped him with his timing and pace.

“I thought it was a bad idea until I joined and really liked it,” he said.

One of his favorite parts about the orchestra is the music choices. He said the selections were better than the youth orchestra and more fun for him.

“I haven’t come across a single bad piece,” Nathan said.

Music Director Tigran Arakelyan said the variety of music is one of the best parts of the organization. In the orchestra’s upcoming concert on Friday, audience members will hear a range from Beethoven to music from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

He enjoys working with people of all ages and witnessing different generations help each other and collaborate.

Arakelyan said being a community orchestra on a voluntary basis draws a different set of musicians.

“We have people who are truly passionate about music,” he said.

 

 

Upcoming performance

The Whidbey Island Community Orchestra will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, March 14 at the Island Church of Whidbey, 503 Cascade Ave., Langley.

Tickets are free.


 

More in Life

Frances Schultz, holding a picture of her younger self, recently turned 100 years old. Her daughter, Connie Van Dyke, right, said her mother’s photo looks like one of actress Barbara Stanwyck. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
At 100, Oak Harbor woman reflects on busy life

Frances Schultz turned 100 years old on March 30.

Photo by Cara Hefflinger
After Coupeville resident Geri Nelson saw these two Great Horned owlets and their mother, she posted to social media to see if there was any local photography interest. Cara Hefflinger came to the tree, camera in hand.
Coupeville owl family makes an appearance in photographer’s lens

O ne woman’s discovery of a brood of owlets in Coupeville caught the eyes of many admirers on social media, including one South End photographer.

Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
Third grader Laszlo McDowell gets up close and personal with a gray whale skull.
Students learn about being ‘whale-wise’

South Whidbey Elementary School students got a taste of what it would be like to live as gray whales.

The Oystercatcher’s owner and chef, Tyler Hansen, prepares a dozen 3 Sisters beef bolognese lasagnas to go on the shelves at 3 Sisters Market. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Chef liaises with other business owners

A Coupeville chef has expanded his partnership with local business owners to… Continue reading

Tim Leonard, owner of the Machine Shop in Langley, hangs a purple neon star he made on the wall of his arcade. Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
Neon art show colorizes Machine Shop’s reopening

A cacophony of happy buzzers and bells and a riot of glowing… Continue reading

Rockin’ A Hard Place | All aboard for my big, post-jab Rock adventure

All aboard for my big, post-jab Rock adventure!

Freeland’s July 3 celebration canceled for 2021

The Celebrate America organizing team from South Whidbey Assembly of God had… Continue reading

Rishi Sharma checks levels in his camera before interviewing WWII combat veteran Frank Burns of Freeland last Saturday. Sharma travels the country interviewing WWII combat veterans for his oral history project and nonprofit, Heroes of the Second World War. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Recording for posterity tales of WWII vets across the U.S.

Rishi Sharma has met more than 1,100 World War II combat veterans to document their stories.

Sarah Santosa is surrounded by some bovine residents of Ballydídean Farm Sanctuary, including ‘Rez, Dahlia and Poco. Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
Animals put out to pasture, but not forgotten

A South Whidbey farm is welcoming those who may be interest in a COVID-safe spring photoshoot.

An Anna’s Hummingbird feeds from a red-flowering currant on Whidbey Island. Photo by Martha Ellis
Native plant habitat a wild bird’s best friend

Spring couldn’t come soon enough this year, not for just the birds, but for the nature enthusiasts.

Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
Rolands Abermanis, owner of Freeland business SPUNKS, loads a box of pumpkin seeds for delivery. The business is hoping to move production to Whidbey soon.
Sowing success

Pumpkin seeds with a kick

Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
Christopher Baldwin, owner of Island Time Coffee Company, arranges a display in Payless Foods.
New business perks up South Whidbey shelves

Three new blends of coffee are available in stores.