Venice Community Orchestra Looking to Grow

Venice, Florida, March 2018 – (Published in Venice Gondolier, Sarasota & North Port Herald Tribunes, March 2018)

The VCO was started in 2011 by a group of string players who simply wanted to get together to make music. Since then the orchestra has maintained this “amateur” motivation (to do for love), and it now includes an increasing number of professional musicians who also enjoy playing just for the love of it. The VCO is basically a string orchestra (violin 1 &2, viola, cello, double bass), and includes a pianist and a single flute. For the last three years the group has been led by Ann Alton (principal cellist of the Charlotte Symphony) and her husband, Bob Delfausse, who conducts and writes most of the arrangements. Bob takes music from both the classical and popular repertoires (J.S. Bach to the Beatles), and rewrites it to suit the VCO’s instrumentation.

Looking ahead to next year (Fall 2018), the group would like to grow in numbers while keeping its character as a friendly and noncompetitive chamber orchestra. We are playing and enjoying a gradually more challenging repertoire, and thus are hoping that more intermediate to advanced players will be able to join us. We suspect that there are many string players in the community who, given the right group with the right musical and interpersonal atmosphere, might want to join us. The aim is not to become a full symphony orchestra, but to achieve a large enough string sound so that we could add single winds to the group (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, French horn, trombone). We rehearse Saturday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30 at the Venice campus of the State College of Florida.

The VCO will have its end-of-season concert at 6:30 Wednesday, April 18 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Venice Island. Good will donations go to the bag lunch program at the Center of Hope in Venice. The program will include music by J.S. Bach, Robert Schumann, Ottorino Respighi, the Beatles, Boccherini, Arthur Benjamin, Leonard Bernstein, Vittorio Monti, and Riccardo Drigo. We hope that any and all string players who think they might want to join us next year will come and hear us.

Venice Community Orchestra Looking to Grow2019-09-19T21:34:22+00:00

2017 Spring Concert Update

Venice, Florida, May 2, 2017 Message from Martin Himmelfarb, Vice Chair Interfaith Outreach and member of the VCO (Violin 2) – Our hard work paid off and not just musically. Despite the fact that many people had already returned north, our April 19, 2017 spring concert raised $2,356, enough to fund 5 months of the free lunch program for the profoundly needy at the Center of Hope. This was a huge success by all accounts and we have been booked in for next April 18 already. Nancy Simmonds (violin 2) told us that the Haley House benefit concert in early April raised $1,600. The level to which our playing raised the spirits of the guests at the Salvation Army and at the Holiday dinner and the folks at the SRQ airport was immeasurable. It was a great season and we look forward to our new season in the fall. Thank you all so very, very much. Our music making shows great purpose.

Here are three YouTube video clips from our concert:

2017 Spring Concert Update2018-08-06T17:21:55+00:00

2017 Spring Concert

Venice, Florida, April 12, 2017 Fourteen-year-old cellist Jack Gallahan will perform with the Venice Community Orchestra in a concert to benefit others at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Venice, FL.

A ninth grader at the Pine View School in Osprey, Gallahan will solo in Gabriel Faure’s Elegie Opus 24 on a gorgeous 300-year-old cello and join the orchestra in a concert of classical and pops favorites. Open to the public, the free concert will also include works by the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and highlights from the Broadway smash South Pacific.

Gallahan began studying music with piano lessons at the age of five. After joining his school orchestra, he re-focused his musical energies on the cello and began studying with Julliard artist Dr. Anne Alton. Recognizing the positive impact of music on the lives of others, he started a program called “Music for Medicine” and raised the money to purchase a baby grand piano for the lobby at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

In addition to playing cello with the Pine View Orchestra, Gallahan performs with the “Concert Crew,” a group of local students who spread the joy of music by playing concerts at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities. When not playing music, he leads a club that 3-D prints prosthetic hands for people in need, based out of the Suncoast Science Center. He also captains a local rocket club and participates in numerous mathematics competitions. He hopes to study music and mathematics in college.

The Venice Community Orchestra, led by professional music performers and educators Bob Delfausse and Ann Alton, is comprised of dedicated amateur musicians who enjoy playing classics and pops together for charitable causes. They are assisted by professional musicians who have generously donated their talents and time to sit in and perform at the concert.

Although admission to the concert is free, donations will be requested to support the bag-lunch program of Interfaith Outreach, which provides over one hundred free lunches each week year round to those in South Sarasota County who need a helping hand.

Interfaith Outreach, a charitable organization, coordinates the distribution of free food for nearly 100,000 meals and snacks a year in the Venice area through four programs: BackPack Kids in conjunction with the All Faiths Food Bank, weekly community dinners that rotate among four churches, the bag-lunch program and in the winter a cold weather shelter.

The concert is at 6:30 pm, Wednesday, April 19. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 508 Riviera St., Venice Island. No need for tickets. Just come and enjoy the music and kindly make a freewill donation to pay for the lunches. For more information, call St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 508 Riviera St., Venice Island, at 941-488-7714 or Martin Himmelfarb at 941-244-2061.

Concert Poster
Click to enlarge

Jack Gallahan will perform April 19 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Venice to raise funds for Interfaith Outreach’s bag-lunch program for the needy of South Sarasota County.

2017 Spring Concert2019-03-26T22:42:45+00:00

2016 Spring Concert

Venice, Florida, February 19, 2016 – The Venice Community Orchestra and Friends are pleased to invite family and friends to their Spring Concert. The performance will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20st, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 508 Riviera St., Venice Island. Freewill offerings will be accepted to benefit the lunch program for the homeless and needy of South Sarasota County. Bob Delfausse, VCO Conductor and Artistic Co-Director, will be conducting.

Concert Poster
Click to enlarge

2016 Spring Concert2018-08-06T17:22:12+00:00

VCO Players Abound With Talent

Venice, Florida, April 29, 2015 – Bassist Nancy Leipold, who divides her time between Venice and Michigan, doubles on the French Horn…and on the violin…and on the alphorn…and on the banjo. And in addition to playing with the VCO, this retired nursing professor performs with the Gulf Coast Banjo Society at Snookhaven and with the Venice Concert Band, where she plays French horn and recently a banjo solo that was remarkable enough to draw the attention of the local media. This is a recent photo of Nancy, performing her solo in front of the ninety piece Venice Concert Orchestra. There were a thousand people in the audience. BRAVO!!

Nancy Leipold

Cellist Margaret Bartley, who summers in the Adirondack mountains of New York, besides playing in the orchestra is a writer with a book to her credit. “Grisha,” the story of legendary cellist Gregor Piatagorsky, was written as her master’s degree thesis in the Johns Hopkins University creative writing program. She became interested in the world renowned Russian cellist when she learned that his summer home was across the street from her husband’s childhood home in the mountains of upstate New York. Piatagorsky, along with other musicians of the NY Philharmonic, summered in the Adirondacks, where the orchestra and the Julliard School of Music both had summer programs. “Grisha” is sold on If you decide to read it, leave yourself time, because once you start it, you won’t be able to put it down.

VCO Players Abound With Talent2019-09-19T21:34:36+00:00

Venice Community Orchestra Announces Spring Recital Details…

Venice, Florida, March 18, 2015 – The Venice Community Orchestra is pleased to invite family and friends to their Spring Recital. The performance will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 21st, in the Selby Room of the Sarah H. Pappas Professional Development Center (Bldg. 800, SE corner of campus) on the campus of the State College of Florida, 8000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34293.

Laurie Vodnoy-Wright, VCO Artistic Director, will be conducting the group as they play the following selections;

Manchester Suite (Nelson)
Fantasie (Mozart)
Ode to Joy (Beethoven)
Rondeau (Mouret)
Air in D (Handel)
Hornpipe (Handel)
La Rejouissance (Handel)
Trumpet Tune (Clark)
O Mio Babbino (Puccini)
Capriol Suite for Orchestra (Warlock)
Menuet from the 11th Symphony (Hayden)
Concerto in D Major Harp and String Orchestra (Vivaldi)

Family and friends are invited to join the VCO members after the performance for a modest pot-luck lunch celebration.

Venice Community Orchestra Announces Spring Recital Details…2018-08-06T17:22:28+00:00

VCO Members to participate in New College of Florida recital of In C

Venice, Florida, February 19, 2015 – Under the direction of Ron Silver, Producer of New Music at New College of Florida in Sarasota, several VCO members will be participating in a recital of Terry Riley’s composition, In C. The performance will take place at 8pm, 3/14 at the Pepsico Arcade on New College of Florida campus.

In C is a musical piece composed by Mr. Riley in 1964 and consists of 53 melodic patterns played in sequence. It is often cited as the first minimalist composition of the time period. The patterns are played consecutively with each performer having the freedom to determine how many times he or she repeats each pattern before moving on to the next. Each pattern can be played in unison or canonically in any alignment with itself or with its neighboring patterns.

“One of the joys of In C is the interaction of the players in polyrhythmic combinations that spontaneously arise between patterns. Some quite fantastic sounds will arise and disintegrate as the group moves through the piece when it is properly played.” Mr. Riley has said.

The VCO members participating in the performance are excited about playing a little outside their “comfort zones”!

VCO Members to participate in New College of Florida recital of In C2015-05-27T20:57:01+00:00

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Venice, Florida, February 14, 2015 – What better way to celebrate a Valentine’s Day VCO practice than with “treats”! At Since Saturday’s regularly scheduled VCO practice fell on Valentine’s Day, Laurie Vodnoy-Wright, our conductor/coach, suggested that we celebrate. So, several members brought in “treats” for everyone to enjoy. Rest assured, we had a strenuous practice “workout” to play off the calories!

VCO Valentines Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!2017-04-12T19:20:34+00:00

VCO Members play at Valentine’s Day Interfaith Outreach Dinner

Venice, Florida, February 9, 2015 – After our successful debut at Interfaith Outreach’s holiday dinner in December, we were invited back to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church for their dinner the Monday before Valentine’s Day. So, with the helping hand of Martin Himmelfarb (violist & IO Head Chef!) and under the direction of Franz Schneider (cellist & conductor), we were able to put together some Italian themed pieces which were real “crowd pleasers”.

One of the most gratifying aspects of the evening was joining several of the diners at their tables for dinner. The gratitude they expressed and that of the volunteer servers was, once again, overwhelming.

VCO Members play at Valentine’s Day Interfaith Outreach Dinner2017-04-12T19:20:35+00:00

VCO Members play at Interfaith Outreach Holiday Celebration dinner

Venice, Florida, December 8, 2014 – With our well tested and perfected Holiday Selections play list in hand, VCO members performed at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church for Interfaith Outreach’s very special holiday dinner.

With over 100 diners and 30+ volunteers in attendance, the VCO members played many recognizable holiday favorites. In fact, the tunes were so well known that an impromptu “sing-along” broke out!

What a Joyous way for us to enjoy the holidays and give back to our Venice community!

VCO Members play at Interfaith Outreach Holiday Celebration dinner2015-05-27T20:57:01+00:00
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