By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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The amateur orchestra's first concert of this year was in February, and members have been honing their skills since with weekly rehearsals.
“Like many, I didn't play for 10 or 15 years after high school. Then I dusted off my cello and began playing again,” said cellist Gey Knutson.
Music Director Phil Morgan-Ellis said he has seen the growth in the orchestra's musicians since they began performing in 2012.
“From a beginning concert with rather easy music, such as Haydn's 'Toy Symphony,' to this concert, when they perform Gershwin's 'American in Paris,' they have grown as an ensemble,” said Morgan-Ellis, a veteran music teacher.
The free concert will be at 7 tonight at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave. Refreshments will be served at a reception for the orchestra following the concert.
In addition to Gershwin's tune, the “American Salute” concert includes such selections as Morton Gould's “American Salute” and Antonin Dvorak's “New World Symphony.”
“I think this will be the orchestra's best concert of its little over two years in existence,” orchestra President Lilias Green said.
Green said the orchestra was formed with the goal of improving musicians' skills, which were often dormant since many of the adult members, like Knutson, put down their instruments after high school.
“I didn't know if I'd be good enough,” said violinist Ann Zimmerman, who has played with the orchestra since its beginning. “It's a lot of work, and I've learned how to practice.
“I'm so glad it exists.”
This year, the orchestra spread its influence to schoolchildren, offering a beginning strings class at Greywolf Elementary School in Sequim.
Classroom space was provided by the school district, and Morgan-Ellis provided instruction to the strings students.
Community donations and grants from the Floyd and Delores Jones Foundation and the Norcliffe Foundation funded costs for the program.
The orchestra is funded through community donations.
For more, visit www.sequimcommunityorchestra.org.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.