McLean Supporters and friends of the McLean Orchestra came together Sunday, July 20 to re-affirm the commitment they’ve made to the organization, and to look forward to their upcoming "Season of Festivity," which will begin this fall. Ann Page, past president and board member, hosted several dozen supporters at her McLean home.
"The many supporters of this organization are a special group, businesses and individuals who know how important music is to the fabric of a community," Page said. "We’re always so thankful for the people who want to be involved in artistic endeavors."
The McLean Orchestra consists of more than 80 musicians, professional and amateur. They also have several ensembles within the group.
"I believe that arts are the lifeblood of a society," said Lola Reinsch, a supporter of the orchestra. "The McLean Orchestra is just a lovely organization, they bring such beautiful moments that are full of substance, and those of us who support them realize the importance of music."
Jon and Rosalia Williams always considered themselves fans of opera over orchestras when they came to their first McLean Orchestra show several years ago. As regulars to the Kennedy Center, they were blown away by the difference in atmosphere.
"The first time we came, my husband said to me ‘it’s like having an orchestra in our living room,’ that’s how intimate the show was," Rosalia Williams said. "They were so friendly, so welcoming, and after the show they held a little reception, where we could talk to the musicians face to face about the performance, it was a great experience."
Jon Williams said he has been impressed with the ambitious nature of the pieces the orchestra performs.
"They perform very challenging pieces, and they come up with very imaginative themes each season, and then proceed to come up with very diverse ways to explore those themes throughout the year," he said. "They can handle a wide range of music, and they certainly aren’t afraid to do so."
Chris Wright, a counselor whose business is based in McLean, says his favorite part about the orchestra is the pure ability they bring to the table.
"They’re just incredible, not just a volunteer orchestra, they’re filled with a variety of professionals and highly experienced players that can hold their own against any group I can think of," he said.
In addition to the adult musicians, the McLean Orchestra also runs the McLean Youth Orchestra. Founded in 1983, the McLean Youth Orchestra is for players age 12 to 18, and plays three to four concerts per season, sometimes with the main orchestra.
Wayne Sharp, past president of the McLean Orchestra says one of the major reasons the orchestra continues to seek support from the community is so they can continue to support young musicians.
"We’re still weathering tough times," he said. "Without our main orchestra, we can’t support our children’s orchestra, and both are an integral part of this community."
The orchestra is already gearing up for their annual gala, which will be April 26, 2014, at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
More information on the McLean Orchestra can be found at www.mclean-orchestra.org.