Musician absences don’t stop outer East Portland concert

MUSICAL VIDEO INCLUDED | Although this concert didn’t go as planned, those who attended got to enjoy good music performed by the East County Community Orchestra …

For the first time since the pandemic struck, the East County Community Orchestra again performs before the public.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, a concert by two volunteer musical organizations was scheduled for the afternoon of June 5, in the Howard Horner Performing Arts Center, at David Douglas High School.

It was scheduled as a “combined concert” featuring both the East County Community Orchestra (ECCO), and the Portland Metro Concert Band (PMCB).

However, because a large number of PMCB members were absent, for reasons not explained at the time, the concert was truncated; only the ECCO performed that afternoon.

For its part, though, the orchestra provided a delightful program of eight selections, plus the American Legion March – originally on the program to be performed by the Concert Band.

ECCO Assistant Director Curt Cassingham conducts a selection in the program.

The concert opened promptly at 3:00 PM, with the ECCO playing the Star Spangled Banner. Staying with the patriotic theme, the orchestra followed that up with America the Beautiful.

The next selection was the Brandenburg Sinfonia by J. S. Bach. Then, R. Wagner’s Grand March from “Tannhauser” followed. Moving on, the orchestra performed Prelude and Fugue in B-flat by J. S. Bach.

Concert-goers are treated both to classical musical selections and Broadway tunes.

The concert continued with In The Hall of the Mountain King from “Peer Gynt” by Greig. – then Themes from Scheherazade by Nikoli Rimsky-Korsakov.

Finally, to conclude the performance, “Broadway selections” from “The Sound of Music”, by Rogers and Hammerstein.

Because there was no “second half” to the program, there was no intermission. And, if there had been, the traditional cookies-and-coffee meet-and-greet could not have taken place, because of COVID-19 coronavirus concerns.

ECCO Musical Director and Conductor Dr. Roger Nickerson introduces the last musical presentation.

After the concert, orchestra Musical Director and Conductor, Dr. Roger Nickerson spoke with East Portland News.

“Is so good for all of us to be out playing live music to real people,” he began. “It’s good for the audience to finally have some socialization, and we’re glad we have a an audience for whom to play!

“I think we have 58 people in the orchestra today,” Nickerson enumerated. “We’ve been rehearsing since November, and, this is the first time this group has been out to play in 2½ years,” he observed. “This is a good way for us to get back into the stream of things.”

Get a taste of the ECCO, in concert, in this musical video:

This concert was made possible by a grant from the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition and the Oregon Cultural Trust.

To learn more about the ECCO and PMCB, see their websites: and

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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