If you are a string musician in the Canton area, you might know how difficult it is to find a group of like-minded musicians to perform with. You may be in luck, however. The newly-founded Canton Community Orchestra, which is a group that is designed to bring together symphonic musicians in the Canton area, has begun holding bi-weekly meetings in the Johnson Center.
Founded by senior music education major Samson Toe, the Canton Community Orchestra is “a group that is designed to give amateur [orchestral] players the platform to play in an orchestral setting” according to Toe.
“As a young conductor there are no opportunities to conduct,” Toe said.
He wanted to create “a platform for not just players to play but for people who might be interested in conducting, or people who might be interested in arranging and composing music.” Toe said that the Canton Community Orchestra “would be an ensemble that [composers] could submit a work to be performed.”
Sophomore percussionist Matt Lautanen said that the Canton Community Orchestra is “an orchestra for people to get together and play music out of joy.”
“[Canton Community Orchestra] could serve as an outlet to musicians,” Lautanen said. “It gives people a chance to get involved in the community in ways that weren’t previously accessible to them.”
“This is band country,” Toe said. “There is a heavier emphasis on football [and thus] there is a heavier emphasis on bands.”
Toe recognizes that the Canton area puts less emphasis on symphonic-type bands.
“Canton City Schools has no orchestra and I can only think of two area schools that actually have orchestra programs,” Toe said.
In recognizing this, Toe realized that there needed to be more opportunities for string instrument players in the Canton area to have a chance to play in a symphonic setting.
“It’s a community orchestra,” Toe said. “It’s for college students, it’s for kids who are in youth orchestra and it’s for people who haven’t picked up a violin in 50 years.”
As an up-and-coming conductor, Toe also sees Canton Community Orchestra as an opportunity for himself to conduct. It also gives an opportunity to individuals in the Canton area who are also looking for a chance to conduct.
Toe also wanted the Canton Community Orchestra to be an opportunity for those individuals who compose symphonic-type pieces to have their compositions played.
As a performer, Lautanen said that the Canton Community Orchestra allows him to “try things that are new to me and allows me to better myself as a musician.”
He also said that the Canton Community Orchestra allows him “to work with different people and be in different environments.”
According to Toe, as long as a person has “a low working knowledge of their instrument” and is able to read sheet music, they are welcome to join. Toe asks, however, that if anyone would like to attend a meeting that they should contact him so he can arrange parts for them to play.
The Canton Community Orchestra is not limited to Malone students. Anyone from the Canton area is welcome to join.
The group meets every other Sunday from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the instrumental rehearsal room located in the Johnson Center. The meetings began on Nov. 27.
Seth Yergin is a contributing writer for Aviso AVW