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Community orchestra has musicians of all ages

Musicians young and old get the opportunity to perform together as the Alder Creek Middle School community orchestra tunes up for its second year.

Randy Humphreys, Alder Creek Middle School music director, said there is a need for the orchestra, which got its start last year.

Humphreys, Truckee music teacher Susie Gonzalez and Alder Creek Middle School’s principal came up with the idea to offer weekly orchestra practices in the school’s band room.



“It’s a small group but it’s been building,” Gonzalez said.

The community orchestra is open to all musicians “as long as they can read music,” Gonzalez said. She said many parents and their kids are involved with the orchestra and she hopes more families will be a part of the group this year.




“They’re (children) sitting in there playing right next to the adults,” Gonzalez said.

The youngest musician in the ensemble is a 6-year-old violinist, she said.

The music selection ranges from classical to pop tunes, with songs like “March of Joshua” to the “Bluegrass Ball.”

She said she also teaches music theory during the weekly practices to talk about why the group is playing a particular song.

Gonzalez has been teaching private music lessons in town for 19 years. She’s also involved with Sierra Strings and teaches youngsters at Glenshire Elementary School.

Last year about 25 people participated, and the orchestra performed at the Truckee Senior Center, the Glenshire pancake breakfast, and a joint performance with students from Glenshire Elementary School, she said.

This year Gonzalez said she is excited the orchestra is adding a winds and strings section.

Humphreys said there is only a small number of students who play string instruments at Alder Creek Middle School and the orchestra provides more opportunities for children who want to learn.

For Humphreys who has taught music in Truckee for 12 years, “watching the kids grow and seeing their faces when they get it right” is the most rewarding part of teaching music.

The Alder Creek Middle School community orchestra will meet Wednesday, Sept. 20 from 6-8 p.m. at the Alder Creek Middle School band room. For more information contact Susie Gonzalez at 582-8199.


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