Community orchestra an outlet for the musical

Published 8:40 pm Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Turnage Theatre stage will be set for Christmas on Sunday with the Beaufort County Community Orchestra’s annual Christmas concert.

The orchestra will be performing Haydn’s Symphony No. 70 in D Major along with a slew of Christmas favorites: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Waldteufel’s The Skater’s Waltz and “Jingle Bells,” along with a Christmas sing-a-long.

For attendees, it’s a way to celebrate the music of the season. For orchestra members, it represents a different kind of opportunity altogether: the opportunity to play.

The orchestra is made up of volunteers — people who have learned to play an instrument at some point in their lives and simply want to continue to exercise their musical talents. For French horn player Laura Bardill, one of the newest members of the orchestra, it was after she and her husband retired to Belhaven that she decided to re-immerse herself in music. She’d grown up playing French horn — her mother’s side of the family was very musical — but once she left college and embarked on a teaching, then administrating, career, the opportunities to play fell away. That changed last year.

“I took it back up. Last year, my husband gave me a horn for Christmas. I took it back up and I’ve loved it,” Bardill said.

Joining the Beaufort County Community Orchestra has given the retired school principal musical goals and spurs her to continue playing, she said.

“A lot of times, if you don’t have a reason to play — especially with a horn — sometimes, it just sits in the case. It gives you an opportunity to do what you love with others who love it, too,” Bardill said.

The orchestra is always looking for more players, according to Ellen Ratcliffe, publicist for BCCO. There are no tryouts — all that’s required is an instrument and the willingness to learn, she said.

Sunday’s concert is slated for 3 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. The Turnage Theatre is located at 150 W. Main St., Washington.