East County Community Orchestra packs auditorium for Spring Concert

See the man for whom the David Douglas High School’s Horner Performing Arts Center was named oompah out tunes, playing a classic Sousaphone ‚Ķ

Starting the evening’s program, backed up by the East County Symphony Orchestra, Mary Lou Cosby’s professional and cultured voice sings the National Anthem.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Hundreds filed into David Douglass High School’s Horner Performing Arts Center on June 9 to hear the East County Symphony Orchestra’s Spring Concert.

The nearly sold-out house on June 9 was treated to marches, romantic tunes, country melodies, selections from “My Fair Lady”, swing music and even spirituals.

The man behind the building
What many people don’t know is that the individual for whom the theater is named plays each concert, sitting in the back row of the band!

Dr. Howard Horner toots out the bass line playing the Sousaphone at the summer concert of the East County Symphony Orchestra

Dr. Howard Horner was David Douglas High School’s first Principal. The respected educator went on to become the Superintendent of the district before retiring. Horner is credited with establishing the district’s conservative financial approach ‚Äì one that has allowed it to survive the lean funding years, without cutting programs.

A firm believer in arts education, Horner wanted to see the school have a first-class performing arts center. After it was constructed, and the school district’s officers named it after Horner.

At a break in the concert, we asked Horner why he was sitting in the back row of the orchestra. “I love to play the Sousaphone, and this is where we sit! I like playing this kind of music. And, I keep coming back because they tolerate me!”

Horner says he’s been involved on the orchestra since its inception “That’s back quite a number of years. It was founded by Harold Webber 26 years ago. Our current director, Jack Mahoney, is excellent. He’s a fine person, and very good with music and people.”

While the orchestra is comprised mainly of senior-citizen musicians, Horner told us they also have young people playing specialty instruments. “But, one of our clarinet players is 92 years old; many of us are on the high side of 70.  This is a good opportunity for seniors to play and enjoy music.”

Be watching for the Winter Concert of this fine East Portland musical organization.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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