Albany strings blend with Monmouth ensemble for Monday concert

2015-08-20T05:00:00Z Albany strings blend with Monmouth ensemble for Monday concertMIKE McINALLY The E Albany Democrat Herald
August 20, 2015 5:00 am  • 

It seems like a natural fit: The Albany String Orchestra, a group of 30 or so string players, mostly adults but with some students tossed into the mix during the summer, and Monmouth’s New Horizons Willamette Valley Orchestra, a similar group of musicians.

The two ensembles will join forces at 7 p.m. Monday for a free concert featuring a blend of material intended to please a late-summer audience: Some light classical, themes from TV Westerns, and favorite tunes and music from TV and movies, including “Star Wars” and “Mission: Impossible.”

Combining the Monmouth ensemble with the Albany String Orchestra has turned out well, said Kim Collar, who directs the Albany group, and here’s one of the reasons why: “I can give them a full string section,” she said.

Both ensembles tend to draw mostly adult players who might have played well during their school years but have since let the instrument slide. So the Albany String Orchestra is not for beginners, Collar said, but rather mostly for adults who might be taking lessons but who are looking for opportunities to play in an ensemble.

Opportunities such as Monday’s concert are rare for the players, and Collar said the musicians under her direction are excited for the show. “Both orchestras have been pretty energized for this,” she said. “It feeds itself, the energy and the enthusiasm.”

Chances for adult nonprofessional string players to perform live are rare as well, and Collar listed another benefit from the combination concert: It gives players in both ensembles the chance to hear full orchestration of music that they’ve been practicing in isolation.

As for members of the audience, they’ll hear a wide-ranging program that includes a little bit of something for every taste: A medley of light classical music, selections from movies and TV, including “Titanic” and “The Civil War,” “Memory,” from the musical “Cats,” and, of course, that “Mission: Impossible” theme, with its notoriously difficult 5/4 time signature: “It was an interesting experience, learning to count in five,” Collar said.

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