Concert marks orchestra’s 40th year

Here’s why both the musicians, and the audience members, were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the East County Community Orchestra recently …

In the Hazelwood neighborhood, the East County Community Orchestra celebrates with a concert its 40 years of presenting great music to outer East Portland.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It was a joyous afternoon on January 21, at the David Douglas High School Howard Horner Performing Arts Center, as the East County Community Orchestra (ECCO) celebrated its 40th anniversary with a concert.

The music started promptly at 3:00 p.m. under the baton of a new conductor, David L. Kinch – starting with the Star-Spangled Banner, followed by The Pit and the Pendulum, and Russian Sailors Dance from “The Red Poppy”.

Keeping the program moving was Largo from Symphony #9 by Antonin Dvorak, followed by Johannes Brahms Symphony #1 Movement #4.

It’s a tradition: At intermission, the audience feasts on cookies provided by the orchestra members.

During the intermission, incoming conductor David Kinch spoke with East Portland News, telling of his background teaching “middle school band”, and directing the Vancouver Pops Orchestra for six years.

“I’ve also been teaching in a studio for longer than 20 years, and I sing in various choirs,” he smiled.

ECCO conductor David Kinch leads the orchestra during a classical selection.

“Musicians in this group also play in my other orchestra, and they told me there was an opening for conductor’s position here; and, connecting is one of the things I love to do, although I am a trombone player by trade!” enthused Kinch. “Most important reason that I participate in this organization is not for the pay – it is for the fun of it; and it truly is fun!

“Conducting an orchestra is fun!” says David Kinch.

“Playing in a group is good for your musical edification making one a better musician, but also, it’s scientifically proven to be good for your brain, and keeping the mind healthy and vibrant,” Kinch said.

About ECCO, Kinch commented, “They are so much fun; from the first day, they were making me feel ‘at home’, letting me know if I screw up, but being very supportive and kind.”

Punctuating a score with a tympani roll is percussionist Ken Kani.

With intermission over, the second half of the program started off with rousing selections from Suite from “Tannhauser” by Richard Wagner. Then the audience really seem to enjoy selections from the musical, “Carousel” by Rogers and Hammerstein, featuring overture, waltz, and several other numbers.

Moving into the pop music realm, the orchestra then played Mama Mia by ABBA. The program closed with the rousing selection Battle Hymn of the Republic.

The audience listens appreciatively to the performance of the ECCO.

With about 65 players, the East County Community Orchestra rehearses weekly for 10 months of the year, and performs two or three formal concerts, in addition to performances presented at retirement communities.

Its next public concert will be on Sunday, April 8, at the Horner Performing Arts Center.

This all-volunteer orchestra is a nonprofit organization; donations help defray operating expenses, including rental of rehearsal and performing spaces, and the purchase of new music.

Find out more their website CLICK HERE.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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