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Millbrook Orchestra to disband

April 25, 2001

Millbrook Orchestra to disband



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


After enjoying success in membership and popularity since 1979, the end has come for the Millbrook Chamber Orchestra.

Although people still love the orchestra and faithfully attend its concerts, ticket sales make up only 25 percent of the musical group's revenue, Rhoda Bryant, treasurer for the group, said Tuesday.

Although Bryant did not have any figures Tuesday, she said a decrease in corporate and private donations is the reason the orchestra will disband.

The orchestra, which is led by conductor Leo Driehuys, will cease to function as of June 30, Bryant said.

It was considered unusual for a small town like Shepherdstown to have its own orchestra, Bryant said.

Driehuys had made great strides increasing the artistic quality of the group, and some of the 40 or so musicians who made up the group played with other groups like the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, Bryant said.

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It is not the first time Millbrook has had financial difficulties.

In 1993, the orchestra had a $20,000 deficit, and officials with the group considered disbanding Millbrook if it could not find a way to pay the debt.

Millbrook officials were able to avoid disbanding the group by increasing ticket prices and dropping its annual Christmas and youth concerts.

Millbrook is operated by the Eastern Panhandle Orchestra Society, which is made up of members from Martinsburg, Charles Town and Shepherdstown.

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