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Community orchestra hopes to attract musicians – all ages and skill levels


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Music librarian Allister Fraser, left, conductor Ken Henderson and president David Prince discuss selections for the Pictou County Community Orchestra’s spring concert. The orchestra is currently looking for new members. Jennifer Vardy Little – The News

STELLARTON – Wanted: musicians.

The Pictou County Community Orchestra, which has been a fixture in the county for more than 20 years, is looking for some new members. The only requirement is a passion for playing with a group and owning an instrument.

Allister Fraser, who serves as the group’s music librarian, says there are currently about 20-25 members in the group right now. But since most orchestras operate with over 50 members, there’s significant room to expand.

“We’re starting a new year, and people are straggling in, but we need people, as many strings as we can possibly get,” Fraser said. “That’s the hardest to get, because no one teaches it in the area, except fiddling.”

Due to a lack of viola players, Fraser picked up the instrument about 10 years ago. Due to his background as a violin player, he was able to learn fairly quickly. He says other instruments like woodwinds – particularly the oboe – and the brass section, like the trombone and French horns, are also needed.

People of all ages and skill levels are welcome, he added.

“We have high school students, a lot of retired people. I’m 87, so I’m probably the oldest,” Fraser said. “We can fit most people in, no matter what their skill level is, because we have a composing program to arrange music to fit around skills of our players. We can make it simpler for people who aren’t at the same level – I think it’s pretty unique.”

The group focuses on classical music – “not too modern or difficult,” Fraser says – and typically has two performances each year, at Christmas and in the spring.

“It’s a nice group activity, I really enjoy it,” he said. “It started over 20 years ago and I think it’s getting better all the time.”

The group, under the direction of conductor Ken Henderson, rehearses in the Stellarton town hall at 4 p.m. each Sunday.

Anyone interested in participating can attend one of the rehearsals with their instrument or call orchestra president David Prince at 928-0364 or Allister Fraser at 752-0754.

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