Vanderhoof’s classical music enthusiasts, on and off stage, didn’t need to travel far for live musical notes from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra this season.
In Vanderhoof and Prince George last weekend, VSO veteran Gordon Cherry accompanied the Northern Orchestra’s first concerts of the season.
Performing in VSO and CBC Vancouver Radio Orchestra as principal trombonist from 1974 to 2009, Cherry had taught Gordon Lucas the trombone, the artistic director of the Northern Orchestra, for four years, Lucas said.
“He’s my teacher and he’s my friend,” he said. “I strong-armed him and brought him up.”
Cherry will be playing with the orchestra’s 50 members who hailed from both cities, with the majority from Vanderhoof, Lucas said.
The group of musicians encompassed a wide range of age groups, from the youngest at 11 to the oldest at 68, as well as all levels of playing — though not all may play in a concert, he added.
“There’s a minimum level that they have to play to, “Lucas said. “Although I have a lot of beginners in there…they can get in[to concerts] gradually.”
He added, “It’s a true community orchestra; I don’t say no to anybody.”
Lucas had founded the N.O. in 2002 when he retired from his role as principal violinist of the Prince George Symphony Orchestra.
“I started the orchestra because there was no amateur orchestra here and I felt there’s a need,” he said.
For Sara McBride, Gr. 12, who had joined the group last year and plays clarinet, the wide variety of individuals is beneficial for her music.
“I learn a lot more with people who are a lot better,” McBride said.
Peaige Loewen, who plays flute in the orchestra and has also become a member last year, agrees and finds the group an opportunity to meet players from different parts of the community.
“You get to meet people you never would have met,” Loewen said. “Some are even home-schooled.”
The Northern Orchestra’s vision lies in ensuring “that learning more about classical music is something the entire community can enjoy,” as well as including people from all walks of life who share a common passion and a love of live orchestral music, its website states.
With music from Grandahl, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, and Schubert, the orchestra’s first Vanderhoof concert of the season showcased Kevin Teichroeb as solo violin and Megan Loewen as solo cello in “Autumn” from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”.