The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Community Orchestra is celebrating its 20th anniversary with s special concert on Sunday, April 29.
The concert, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 3 p.m. in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Buildings. Jeremy Lane, chair of the Department of Music, will commemorate the orchestra’s 20th anniversary and history.
The program’s concert includes Academic Festival Overture, op. 80 by Johannes Brahms, “Handel in the Strand” and “Molly on the Shore” by Percy Aldridge Grainger; “In the Steppes of Central Asia” and “Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor” by Alexander Borodin, and “Die Fiedermaus Overture” by Johann Strauss Jr.
The Community Orchestra formed in fall 1997 to provide a once-a-week musical experience for amateur musicians to play a wide range of music written for the symphonic orchestra. Victor Ellsworth, director of the Community Orchestra, took over as conductor of the orchestra in 1998, after playing viola for the first semester.
“I have tried to create an atmosphere of making music at whatever level of experience a member is at. We currently have 51 members when they all come,” Ellsworth said.
Including Ellsworth, there are four more member that have been with the Community Orchestra since 1997. They include Katherine Stanick, a 101-year-old cellist who also plays in a string quintet; violinist Linda VanBlaricom; Dr. Floyd Martin, UA Little Rock professor of art history and flutist; and Ellsworth’s daughter, Allison, who plays double bass.
“The following probably describe the orchestra best. After our first spring concert in 1998, the Arkansas Times had a review with the headline, ‘Beethoven in the Raw,’” Ellsworth said. “The reviewer was very kind and noted that orchestra played with soul and a love for the music.”