Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Community Orchestra to play show tunes

From ‘West Side Story’ to ‘Harry Potter’ at Sawtooth Botanical Garden

Express Staff Writer

The Wood River Community Orchestra will play tonight at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, south of Ketchum. METRO photo

    The Wood River Community Orchestra will end its summer season at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden south of Ketchum at 6 p.m. today, Aug. 27. The orchestra will play favorite show tunes and movie scores at the garden’s “Wine Down Wednesday” series.
    Audience members are allowed to bring low-back chairs, picnics and lots of friends to enjoy live music around the Sawtooth Botanical Garden’s new gazebo.
    Conductor Brad Hershey will lead the orchestra in “Showtime,” a selection from Broadway stages and Hollywood movies, including “West Side Story,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Godfather” and “Harry Potter.”        The Wood River Community Orchestra was formed in 2007 as a venue for musicians of all ages and abilities to play together. A repertoire of music is chosen three times each season (fall through spring) and rehearsals lead to many free performances for the community. The orchestra members include teachers, police officers and other people from around the valley.
    Violinist Sue Mendelsohn said the orchestra welcomes new members, providing free lessons and instrument rentals.
    “Some of our members had not played their instruments since high school, before joining the orchestra,” she said.    
    Wood River Community Orchestra Director Brad Hershey played double bass for the Boise Philharmonic for six seasons after playing for three with the Washington-Idaho Symphony. He has performed with Dave Brubeck, Ernestine Anderson, Art Farmer and Paul Tillotson.
    Hershey moved from Boise to the Wood River Valley with his wife, Alyssa, in 2006 and is currently the Upper School music director at the Community School in Sun Valley. Alyssa Hershey plays principle violin in the orchestra and is head of the Middle School music department at the Community School.
    Last year, Brad Hershey was sponsored by the orchestra members and supporters to attend a directing workshop at the Julliard School in New York City, after being chosen from a long list of applicants for the scholarship.
    “We have a few angels around here who support us and believe in what we do,” Mendolsohn said.
    He has played double bass with the Sun Valley Jazz Trio, the Joe Fos Trio, and played in productions by Company of Fools, St. Thomas Playhouse, nexStage Theatre, Sun Valley Co., Sun Valley Opera and Caritas Chorale. Brad has been music director for several musical productions in the valley and also teaches at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony workshops. He has played bass or cello with the Wood River Community Orchestra since 2008.
    For more information about the orchestra, go to

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