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.