Spring orchestral concert delights

You may have missed the great music, but take a look at where – and why – the East County Community Orchestra plays …

From all over the metropolitan area, people come to outer East Portland for the orchestral music.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Audience members were tapping their toes as music filled the air, during the spring East County Community Orchestra (ECCO) concert on May 21 at the David Douglas High School Horner Performing Arts Center Theater.

Even with beautiful summer-like weather outside, the auditorium was filled with people who came to enjoy classic, standard, and march tunes.

The East County Community Orchestra begins its spring concert.

As always, the program started off with the Star-Spangled Banner, followed with a rollicking John Philip Sousa March, The Diplomat.

The orchestra moved next to “A Tribute To Artie Shaw” featuring Dancing in the Dark, Begin the Beguine, Star Dust, and Frenesi. From there they musically moved on to the Sleeping Beauty Waltz, by Peter Tchaikovsky, from the ballet of that name.

First violin section musicians Don Sears and Bonnie Dalton play with conviction.

A George Gershwin medley of I Got Rhythm, Someone to Watch Over Me,’S Wonderful, and Rhapsody in Blue was well received. Closing the first half of the recital was Rossini’s William Tell Overture.

A favorite feature of every ECCO concert includes intermission, with cookies and coffee.

During the intermission, members of the audience and the orchestra mingled in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center, scooping up some of the many cookies put out on plates and tables. As they munched, and sipped coffee, visitors were able to meet members of the orchestra, and talk among themselves.

Dr. Roger G. Nickerson conducts during the orchestra’s spring concert.

“Our featured music today invokes memories of great performers of the 20s and 30s, plus a little musical memorabilia, including circus marches that we’re less likely to hear, now that Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey is closing,” commented the group’s conductor, Dr. Roger G. Nickerson.

About the music selection for ECCO, Nickerson commented, “I try to pick a theme, and then make sure that it’s not music we’ve played before. We have a great library, so we like introducing new pieces every time.

“And, I like to help members of the orchestra to grow musically,” Nickerson told East Portland News. “Each concert season, the pieces are little more difficult. But our musicians rise to the occasion.”

The ECCO begins the second half of the concert with a “Tribute to Lerner and Lowe” show tune medley, followed up by Giuseppe Verdi’s Anvil Chorus.

Some the audience members were singing along to “The Wizard of Oz Overture” featuring Over the Rainbow; Ding, Dong the Witch Is Dead; We’re Off To See the Wizard; The Merry Old Land of Oz; and If I Only Had a Brain.

The next lively tune was by Johann Strauss Jr. – the Thunder and Lightning Polka – followed by the Emblem of Unity March and concluding with the Radetzky March.

As the notes of the final rollicking march ring through the auditorium, the concert comes to an end.

Numbering about 70 all-volunteer players, the nonprofit East County Community Orchestra rehearses weekly for ten months of the year, and performs two or three formal concerts at this venue, plus concerts at retirement communities.

Find out more by visiting their official website: CLICK HERE.

> One our Front Page: French Horn section leader Greg Mowe adds his instrument’s mellow brass sound to a musical selection.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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