For the last three years I have enjoyed playing with the Akron Pops Orchestra. I started playing cello when I was 10 and played a lot through seminary, but when I started serving as a pastor, it was hard to commit to to the time it took to practice and play concerts with an orchestra. However, the small ads I saw in the newspaper every Thursday intrigued me – Akron Pops Orchestra, needs string players, no audition necessary. Finally I took the plunge and attended my first practice.
What a delight it has been to play with this group of people every week. We practice on Thursday nights from September through June and have concerts, usually on Thursday nights, in December, and then throughout the spring and summer. In June and July we play outside, which is a treat on cool summer evenings when there isn’t much of a breeze. Obviously a breeze makes reading the music more of a challenge, hence the clothespins you can see in the pictures.
We play a variety of music – showtunes, Leroy Anderson, classics from Beethoven, Vivaldi, Strauss, etc. The Christmas music is especially fun and we usually include one sing-a-long piece with familiar Christmas Carols. The orchestra members are at all levels of playing ability. Some of the members are music professionals, but most of us just love the instruments that we started playing long ago and never put down.
We played at Oak Park last night in Cuyahoga Falls. We played music from “Fiddler on the Roof,” Strauss, Mozart, Vivaldi, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Leroy Anderson. My favorite piece right now is “Lord of the Dance.” The cellos gets to be the low notes on the bagpipes while the violins have to work like crazy! Tom took some pictures for me, and as he says, he isn’t much of a photographer. But I really appreciate having some pictures of me playing with the orchestra. We have two more concerts this “season”: Thursday, July 24 at Briarwood in Stow, and Thursday, July 31 at the Cuyahoga Falls Library at 7:15. Concerts are free and open to the public.
I have really enjoyed this fine group of people. I have looked forward to playing my cello every Thursday night. I will miss them and miss playing regularly when we hit the road.