Orchestra comes back after aborted season

September 02, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The Millbrook Orchestra returns to the stage in September for its 19th season in a smaller form and with fewer performances.

Last season ended prematurely with the Shepherdstown-based orchestra unable to finance the final five concerts.

The orchestra had grown over the years from a small, community group to one gaining stature.

However, the administration of the orchestra could not keep up with the expenses of the orchestra, said Managing Director Katherine Edelen.

"Musically, the orchestra is great. Administratively we're still trying to play catch up to the level of the orchestra," Edelen said.


The 1996-1997 season started with a budget of $183,000 and at times the symphony included up to 50 professional musicians, she said.

Four concerts were held last season before the orchestra was in too much debt to continue, Edelen said.

This season starts with the orchestra out of debt due to successful fund-raisers and support from the orchestra's patrons, many of whom did not ask for refunds, but instead donated the money to the orchestra, Edelen said.

The 1997-1998 season has a $102,000 budget for a chamber orchestra with 33 musicians, she said.

One of the scheduled four performances will feature a wind ensemble with 15 performers, Edelen said. It was necessary to scale down the Millbrook Orchestra because the community is not large enough to support a full-scale symphony orchestra, she said.

Earlier this year, it appeared to be the end of the Millbrook Orchestra after the performances for the 18th season were canceled.

But the community's support has remained strong through the trying times and the debt was paid off in June, she said.

Lu Morrow, president of the Millbrook Auxiliary, said the fund-raisers include a bus trip to Wolf Trap, a charity card game at a country club and a fashion show.

"About every month we have something to raise money for the orchestra so we can, you know, keep it going. It's very important. It's a shared cultural experience," Morrow said.

The first concert this season will be at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, featuring Johann Christian Bach's "Sinfonia No. 2 in B Flat, Op. 18," Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Concerto for Flute and Harp" with soloists from the U.S. Marine Corps Band, Betsy Hill on flute and Karen Grimsey on harp, and Ludwig van Beethoven's "Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21."

At 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 22, a symphonic wind ensemble will perform Charles Gounod's "Petite Symphony," Richard Strauss' "Serenade, Op. 7," and Antonin Dvorak's "Serenade in D minor, Op. 44."

At 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7, the orchestra will perform William Boyce's "Symphony No. 8 in D minor," Mozart's "Concerto for Piano No. 20 in D minor" with soloist Eric Conway on the piano, and Franz Schubert's "Symphony No. 3 in D."

The performance at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, will include Franz Joseph Haydn's "Symphony No. 101 in D" and Beethoven's "Concerto for Violin in D, Op. 61," with soloist Jose Cueto on violin.

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