Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra: Delivering Classical Concerts for Everyone

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By Erin Pittman

Sponsored by Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra

Whether you play an instrument or simply enjoy the blissful sounds of a symphonic orchestra, Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra has something to offer you. The orchestra is an all-volunteer ensemble made up of musicians “dedicated to providing stirring, low-cost or free, classical concerts in the greater Prince William area.” In addition to concerts, musicians also play community and private events.

Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra Musicians

Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra musicians vary in just about every way you can imagine. There are young and older, and those with Ph.D.s in music and amateurs with day jobs. The orchestra is also very culturally diverse.

Sheyna Burt

“This is the most diverse ensemble I’ve ever played in,” said Board President Sheyna Burt. “Kids come to performances and see themselves in the orchestra. What’s better than that?”

Many musicians also come from their partner organization, Youth Orchestras of Prince William. Members build the relationship with many youths, supporting their love of music and hoping they may have an interest in joining OBCO someday.

“We provide access to our library and some coaching, and we’re available to perform if they need someone. Some of our music teacher members work to get their students to play with the orchestra, too, as opposed to just taking lessons or playing in schools,” Burt said.

Joining the Orchestra

The orchestra was founded in 1998, motivated to make classical music accessible to everyone, and this mission continues today. For those wishing to become a member, Burt emphasizes that their audition process is designed to be a stress-free experience.

“If you’re interested in joining us, fill out the form on our website and our personnel director, Christopher Dixon, will be in touch. All he needs is a sense of the applicant’s performance background. If we’re looking for musicians that match their experience, we invite them to sit in on a rehearsal or two and have a conversation with our music director and section leader,” said Burt.

If the orchestra and applicant feel it’s a good match, then the musician is in.

“We are determined for this to be a welcoming process and want to encourage people who love playing and practicing to join us. Most auditions for other orchestras require solos, but we never want to scare anyone away because they don’t have a solo worked up,” Burt said.

Experiencing Their Sounds

For those who love the chamber orchestra experience, there are several opportunities coming up to experience their talents.

On Feb. 15, join them for a unique experience at The Potomac Shores Social Barn for the OBCO Drag Queen Music and Story Hour. Her Imperial Majesty, Empress IV, Muffy the Good is back for a second year, and she’s bringing her Drag Daughter, Magnolia Blossoms Stephyns. Start your evening with a cocktail and snacks donated by Tidewater Grill, then enjoy the sounds of the quartet accompanying the drag queen story time. This year’s selections are Politically Correct Rapunzel, featuring music from Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, and Ferdinand the Bull, featuring music from Bizet’s Carmen. Purchase tickets through EventBrite.

On March 14, join the orchestra for a more traditional concert. Enjoy Enigma Variations, and a special duet performance from Marcolivia – Marc Ramirez and Olivia Hajioff. And on May 23, come experience their season finale at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.

“Come enjoy big, loud John Williams songs,” said Burt.

The finale will include Harry Potter Symphonic Suite, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Superman Returns and Suite from the Star Wars Epic.

The orchestra is a member of the Prince William Arts Council and receives support from the Prince William County Department of Parks and Recreation. Learn more and keep up with all their performances at obco.org and facebook.com/obcomusic

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