The Wenatchee Valley Symphony is celebrating its diamond anniversary this year, kicking off with its first concert on Saturday, Oct. 2 that features Wenatchee Valley native and current Texas resident Jenaesha Iwaasa Browder playing Haydn’s “Cello Concerto in D Major.”

Musical director and conductor Dr. Nik Caoile points out how fortunate we are to have an orchestra playing in its eighth consecutive decade. Very few community orchestras in the West can say that.

There are opportunities to see the concert in person with limited seating at the Numerica Performing Arts Center and you can also be there via livestream, thanks to a partnership with Skeeterbuggins Productions, said Caoile. One benefit of COVID is that it has opened up online options that would never have existed otherwise, and for the symphony, this has meant an opportunity to expand its audience. Last year, they had attendees from different parts of the country, plus Canada and Mexico, Caoile noted.

There is something magical about a community orchestra like the Wenatchee Valley Symphony. Unlike professional symphonies where members are paid and there is an aura of perfectionism and cutthroat competition, symphony members here represent a wide diversity of our community, from mechanics and teachers to lawyers, doctors and stay-at-home mothers.

“They’re doing it because they love music and they love connecting to each other through music,” Caoile told me. “And that kind of energy, that kind of positive energy is something you can buy when the audiences come to see us,” he continued. He said he would much rather conduct our symphony than one of the “professional” orchestras.

Caoile has been a tremendous leader through the 11 years that he has been its conductor. His enthusiasm is infectious and he makes the experience of being a symphony member rewarding.

If you want to experience the symphony concert, it’s really easy. I’m going to be out of town for the first concert and purchased my online ticket at wenatchee symphony.org.

I’m particularly excited to see Jenaesha Browder perform. The symphony has a young artist competition and she was a runner-up, Caoile said. She has a master’s degree in cello performance from Rice University and has performed in Canada, Europe and the United States.

Also on the program for the first concert will be “Prelude for String Orchestra” by Gerald Finzi and Mozart’s “Symphony No. 29.”

The symphony continues to follow and adapt to the changing COVID protocols instituted by the PAC to keep musicians and patrons healthy.

It’s been a challenging 18 months dealing with COVID and the challenges are continuing. Being part of supporting organizations like our symphony can lift our spirits by sharing in the making and appreciation of music.

As far as I’m concerned, the symphony is a wonderful antidote to the toxic stream of vitriol on social media and in the national media. After 75 years, our symphony is “keeping the beat.”

Rufus Woods is the publisher emeritus of The Wenatchee World. He may be reached at rwoods@wenatcheeworld.com or 509-665-1162.

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