Wednesday, April 13, 2011

‘Orchestra is in overdrive’

Community ensemble to perform spring concerts

Express Staff Writer

Wood River Community Orchestra music director Andrew Lewis prepares for a concert. Express photo by Roland Lane

One of the most enjoyable cultural activities in the Wood River Valley is to attend a Wood River Community Orchestra concert to see and hear friends and family members perform.

The Wood River Community Orchestra, led by music director Andrew Lewis, is an open ensemble comprised of Blaine County community members of all ages and levels of experience who share a passion for playing.

"The orchestra is in overdrive," Lewis said. "We have 18 to 20 core members with a good wind section, trumpets and a bassoon."

Lewis said there is an upcoming percussionist learning to play. The orchestra has a full string section but is low on cellos.

"We want more people all the time," he said. "We have applied for a grant for adult and community education."

The Wood River Community Orchestra will have two spring concert performances. The first show will take place at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Sun Valley Road on Saturday, April 16, at 4 p.m. Another will take place on Sunday, April 17, at the Community Campus in Hailey at 4 p.m.

The concerts will feature music by Mozart and Beethoven. The orchestra will perform a piece from Mozart—"Quodlibet," Latin for "whatever pleases"—and a world premier of music by Karl Eberl called "Where Else But Idaho?"

"Eberl is special because he's the founder of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, and we use his library for our orchestra," Lewis said. "It's a handwritten score. I had to extrapolate the parts from it. It's still wet on the paper."

A special guest to the Wood River Orchestra concerts will be Paul Tillotson. Tillotson will be part of two orchestral premieres of his own music as well. He is a long-time performer at the Sun Valley Resort who plays regularly throughout the winter at the Duchin Lounge with his trio as well as with his other band, the Love Trio, and other musicians from around the U.S.

"Paul is energizing for the orchestra," Lewis said. "He will play on the 'quodlibet' and a Gershwin piece as well as for the Eberl piece."

This is the fourth season for the orchestra, a tax-exempt corporation.

"I am excited," he said. "We're becoming an established entity."

The concerts are free. In addition, the Wood River Community Orchestra will have other surprises for the performances. For interest in joining the orchestra or concerts, call 928-6448 or e-mail

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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