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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Orchestra celebrates centennial

Monday, October 1, 2007  
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By Guest Writer

Carly Darrow

Members of the Oklahoma Community Orchestra are working hard in preparation for their first concert of the season. The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 in Hardeman Auditorium.

The concert will tie into the Oklahoma Centennial Celebration and feature David B. Hooten, a professional trumpeter and Oklahoma resident. Students, faculty and staff get into the performances free of charge with their university identification card.

The orchestra consists of Oklahoma Christian students and faculty as well as community members and professional musicians. Community participation is a key part of the orchestra’s success.

Orchestra director John Fletcher, also chair of the music department, said the community members come from a variety of professional backgrounds. The bond they all share is their love of music.

“It’s a different sort of an opportunity, but there is something satisfying about working with the community,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher has served as director of the OCO for four years.

“It is the chance to work with adults who love to keep making music and who are eager to practice each week that keeps bringing me back [as director],” Fletcher said.

Prior to his selection as director via a competitive application process, Fletcher was a member of the orchestra as a trombone player.

“I get the musical and personal satisfaction of conducting wonderful music and spending time with musicians who enjoy working together and bringing excitement to our audience,” Fletcher said.

Kathy Thompson, associate professor of music at Oklahoma Christian, said the orchestra provides a great opportunity for students to play in a full-size orchestra, a rarity for a small college. The students also receive the chance to network.

Michael Wright, a violin player and instrumental music education major at Oklahoma Christian, said the rehearsals are hard work. He also encourages students to join the orchestra.

“One benefit is performing with experienced adults,” Wright said. “I get a good amount of conducting and group experience from observing and performing.”

Students may receive academic credit for participating in the community orchestra as well.

Students are also given the opportunity to participate in the concerto competition that earns them the chance to play a solo with the orchestra in the spring.

“That is an exciting niche for us because often students don’t get the chance to play with a live orchestra, and that gives them the chance,” Thompson said.

The orchestra hopes for a large turnout from students and community members for the upcoming concert.

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