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Herndon Gets Own Orchestra

So far the Herndon orchestra is off to a rocky start. After holding its first rehearsal in May, the volunteer ensemble had to take three weeks off because its practice space, the Herndon Middle School band room, was otherwise occupied.

The room is once again the domain of the orchestra, at least from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, but now conductor Tim Adams has to deal with vacations.

Even so, Adams remains optimistic that the orchestra will hold its first performance this fall.

"We're not Wolf Trap material yet," Adams, 27, said. "I would like to see a European tour in five to six years."

For now, the orchestra's debut will most likely be "Herndon Lights Up the Holidays" at the Worldgate Center, which kicks off the holiday season for the town, if a date in September or October can not be secured.

FOR ABOUT A YEAR, Adams has been talking with the Herndon Council for the Arts about creating a town orchestra. Adams, a Herndon native now living in Oakton, is part of a jazz quartet that has played at town events and is an assistant band leader at Herndon High School.

"When we were having meetings to see if there was interest, I had a lady tell me she wanted an opportunity to perform with her father" said Karen Cobb, executive director of the Council, which is helping the orchestra get off the ground. "There isn't a lot of opportunities for people to do that."

To Cobb's knowledge the town has never had its own orchestra, instead inviting the Amadeus Orchestra of Great Falls to play at town events.

"I feel there are a lot of us who have taken lessons through high school and college and when we graduate, there is no opportunity to perform," Cobb said. "It gives people an outlet and not be scared to death because there's no auditions."

So far the orchestra has been embraced by the amateur musicians. Adams said he has 25 members signed up and hopes to increase to 40 by the time of the first concert. He would ultimately like to see the full orchestra top out at 60 members within two years.

"I really need strings," Adams said.

THE ORCHESTRA'S repertoire will be as varied as its members, Adams said, playing old orchestra pieces from Bach and Mozart, as well as contemporary pieces from Gershwin and even Frank Sinatra. He is also trying to get a copy of the "Harry Potter" score.

"I want to try to appeal to every age group," Adams said. "I would love to incorporate jazz pieces."

Adams also envisions concerts with other groups such as the Towne Square Singers.

The orchestra, which includes wind and string instruments, accepts all ages and talent levels.

"It gives a lot of various age levels an opportunity, from 6 to 100. We don't care. If you can get there, come on down," said Cobb. "I think it will be great."

The orchestra practices every Tuesday, from 7 to 9 p.m., in the Herndon Middle School band room. Contact the Council for the Arts, at 703-689-9535, for more information.