Next Concert

Saturday, May 6th, 2016

Elgar: Enigma Variations
Rachnmaninov: Symphony No. 2

Church of the Savior
United Methodist

8005 Pfeiffer Road
Cincinnati, OH 45242
Google Map and Directions

Every concert is free, but we appreciate your donations!

Thank you for supporting the CCO!

CCO Concert 4- May 6, 2017

Gerry Doan, Music Director and Conductor of the Cincinnati Community Orchestra has announced his retirement and that the May concert will be his final one with the CCO.

Make your plans now to join us in celebrating his 35 years with the CCO. The concert program features two of Gerry’s favorite works:

Elgar: Enigma Variations
Rachnmaninov: Symphony No. 2

CCO Concert 3- March 4, 2017

Beethoven – Leonore Overture No. 3
Brahms/Doan – How Lovely is thy Dwelling Place
Smetana – Three Dances from the Bartered Bride
Debussy – Fetes
Brahms – Symphony No. 1

CCO Concert 1- October 22, 2016

Join us for the first concert of the Cincinnati Community Orchestra 2016-2017 Season

Beethoven – Symphony No. 5
Wagner – Prelude to Die Meistersinger
Verdi – Overture to Nabucco
Brahms – Academic Festival Overture
Prokofieff – Lieutenant Kije

7:30PM Saturday, October 22, 2016
Church of the Saviour United Methodist
8005 Pfeiffer Rd, Cincinnati 45242


Concert Dates for CCO 2016-2017 Season

Saturday, October 22, 2016
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Saturday, May 6, 2017

Concerts begin at 7:30PM

Church of the Savior United Methodist

8005 Pfeiffer Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242

Google Map and Directions



Playing a big piece of music is hard. Other types of musical groups such as quartets and quintets may play extended works, but the orchestra, with all its sound possibilities, is the natural vehicle for large works.

What do I mean by large? I mean the time it takes to play a work, the number of players on the stage, and the complexity of the music.

Our March 5 concert features not one, but two large extended works. Both works are from the 19th century and written within 30 years of each other. One is a conventional symphony, a form perfected during the 19th century. The other is a symphonic poem, a form of “romantic” music. This poem is as long as a symphony, with several movements, but its main claim to fame is it tells a story, through sounds. We also call this program music.

So from the performers side, what is hard about playing this music?


Even when there are movements or other divisions within the piece, the space between movements is much shorter than the time between two separate pieces. The space between movements can’t be too long, as each movement is related in some way to what comes before and after.

Wind players need to dry out their horns, string players have to check their pegs so they keep busy doing these kinds of things quickly during these short breaks. And some of us have to wet our whistle for the next movement!



Keeping your mind on the music can be a challenge when playing long works. There may be three pages of repeated phrases and it’s easy to get lost if you don’t stay focused. If you’ve had a long day at work and then a two hour rehearsal, it’s easy to get lost and hard to stay focused when playing these long works. Being a musician is hard work!


What if you don’t particularly like the music of a composer you are performing? If it’s just five minutes, you can tolerate playing it, but if it’s an hour long piece, what cha gonna do?

Well, after reality sets in and the music doesn’t go away, time to figure out a solution. This happened to me a few years ago. We were performing two large works by the same composer, not one of my favorites. So I figured out a way to begin understanding his music a little more. During rehearsals, I would choose short excerpts where I wasn’t playing and really listened to the music. I found some very cool and beautiful phrases that I never heard in previous listens. This composer is still not one of my top faves, but I certainly listen to his music with new ears.

My hunch is you know one of these pieces and the other not so much. But join us as we fill the hall with large music – plenty of melodies to please everyone and then we all go home -  exhausted but inspired!

Major league playing; minor league cost- part 2

We continue our backstage journey with the Cincinnati Community Orchestra. I’d like to introduce you to four of our members who exemplify both the talent and commitment you find in all our members.

First, let me introduce to you the youngest member of our orchestra.

Peter McCutcheon, 16
Double Bassist

Many of us have taken different paths to this orchestra. How did you wind up here and also being the youngest musician on stage?

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my story of my membership within the orchestra! For the past 4 years, this orchestra has been such a blessing in growing as a bassist and as a young man. I was 12 at the time. My eighth grade of school was also my first year in Dr. Doan’s Cincinnati Junior Strings–believe it or not, I failed my first CJS audition the year before. Anyways, as I was unpacking my instrument before rehearsal, the Doctor approaches me holding a black folder. “Hey squirt, want to play Mahler’s 1st Symphony?” How could I say no to that? So from the next Monday for the next year, I would see Dr. Doan on Sundays for CJS and Monday nights in the Community Orchestra.

You must be a very busy young man. What keeps you motivated to add another commitment to your hectic schedule?

I’m not sure how intentional this is, but Dr. Doan has a way of selecting certain pieces of music that are popular audition pieces on double bass. Holst’s Planets, Tchaikovsky’s 4th and 6th Symphonies, etc., all challenge me throughout the years. It’s unthinkable to think that I’ve played full length performances at such a young age, and all I can say is that I’ve been really blessed. I’m motivated to perform at the level that Dr. Doan expects from me, and to perform as well as everyone else in the Community Orchestra. I’m blessed to be a member.

So if you were not at CCO rehearsals on Monday nights, what would you be doing?

Being a high schooler comes with the homework. Without the orchestra, I would almost certainly be sitting at home, burning the candle on both ends finishing homework. There’s really not much to it other than that. Jazz Ensemble and other school-extra-curricular groups meet on Monday nights, but homework would most certainly hold priority if not for the Community Orchestra.


Now, I’d like you to meet one of our older musicians in the orchestra. However, please note that with age comes experience. And experienced we are. About 35% of the orchestra is over 50 and that adds up to a lot of years of experience!

Judy Martin

Many of us have taken different paths to this orchestra. How did you end up here?

Actually, I have come full circle BACK to the CCO! When I first came to Cincinnati as a viola major at CCM, my teacher Eric Kahlson was CCO’s conductor, so I was recruited right away. Then my dream since 6th grade came true when I won an audition with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and I played there 34 years. On my first day, my stand-partner was my future husband of 44 years, Allen. After retiring from the CSO, I switched to playing violin (a better size for me), and it was the natural thing to rejoin the CCO. After all, I’ve been playing in orchestras since I was 10 years old. But playing violin now makes it new and challenging!

So if you were not at CCO rehearsals on Monday nights, what would you be doing?

You might find me participating in my church activities, walking, natural foods cooking, teaching violin, getting together with my family and friends (just attended my youngest nephew’s graduation from the Marine Corps Basic Training in San Diego), and English Country Dancing.


What makes an exceptional arts organization is exceptional leadership. We have both with Dr. Gerald Doan, our director and Eric Bruestle our board of trustees president.

Eric Bruestle
French Horn

So many of us have ties with the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.  Share with us how that intersects with your path to the CCO:

My dream was to make my living as an orchestral musician. As a Freshman at CCM, I was one of 25 horn majors (9 of whom were grad students) vying for 10 orchestra spots. Tough odds. If I was going to gain experience with a full-sized orchestra that year, I had to look off campus. I was so fortunate that year to be invited by a guest conductor, Herb Tiemeyer (former CSO member), to play in CCO. With only 2 or 3 exceptions, I have played in every CCO concert for the last 43 years. What a joy and a privilege. Although my career plans changed, my involvement with CCO has allowed me to keep live music as a very important part of my life.

What keeps you motivated to play in the CCO?

I have remained a member because it is such a rare and rewarding opportunity. Across the country, there aren’t many amateur orchestras of this size and caliber. We can handle a broad range of some of the best orchestral literature ever composed. To have a chance to experience this music first-hand, learn it in depth through the outstanding direction of Gerry Doan, then perform it with such a great group of friends before enthusiastic audiences- well, it just doesn’t get much better than that.

And where would we find you on Monday nights if you weren’t at rehearsals?

If I wasn’t devoting my time to CCO, I would probably spend more time with my family, especially my beautiful granddaughters aged 1, 2 & 3. As they grow older, I hope they will find something to enrich their lives as much as CCO has mine.


And finally, Dr. Doan’s right (left?) hand musician who has a most important role in our orchestra, is our concertmaster Rachel Bierkan.

Rachel Bierkan

Many of us have taken different paths to this orchestra. Rachel, what’s your story?

I started playing in CCO my senior year at CCM.  I was a music education major and Dr. Doan was one of my professors.  While I student taught, I was not playing in an orchestra at CCM.  I missed orchestra and I wanted to keep learning new music so it did not take a lot for Dr. Doan to convince me to join his adult orchestra.  After graduating from CCM I was hired to be the string teacher/orchestra director for Loveland Schools (I was actually hired to start a string program for Loveland) so I stayed in Cincinnati and continued to play in CCO.  It just became a part of every Monday night.

What keeps you motivated to play in the CCO?

I enjoy playing my violin and CCO is the best, most consistent way to keep me playing good music.  It is fun to learn new pieces – symphonies and concertos, overtures and all.  We do pieces from the standard orchestral repertoire but we also find a few of those undiscovered gems.  I love that I can listen to WGUC and then tell Gerry what I’ve heard and see what he thinks about our playing it.  I think that Dr. Doan does a good job balancing the literature giving us old/new/standards/not-so-standards and keeping us growing in our technique and musicianship.  Playing in CCO has made me a better violinist than I was when I graduated from CCM and playing in CCO helps me to be a better teacher.

If you were not in the CCO, what would you be doing with your Monday nights?

When not at CCO on Mondays, I am busy hanging out with my husband, Matt, and our son, Joel.  We like to be cooking, doing house projects, or sometimes even playing violin!  I would probably be planning more trips for Cincinnati Junior Strings or my Loveland High School orchestras…but, actually I’ll be doing that even with my Monday nights booked at CCO :)  We like to travel and spend time with family and friends.

Join Peter, Judy, Eric, Rachel and the rest of our dynamite musicians for a great evening of music on Saturday, December 5th at 7:30 p.m. Free admission, parking, convenient location, refreshments and concerts of the highest quality of music performed enthusiastically and at a level beyond most community groups – that’s what you’ll experience at a CCO concert.


Major league playing; minor league cost

I am an oboist with the Cincinnati Community Orchestra and a blogger about arts, education, and life in general. I’ll be writing a different blog for each of our four concerts this year that highlights my favorite musical group, the Cincinnati Community Orchestra. And in such a big baseball town (even in years like we just finished we root, right?), I’m calling this series “Major league playing; minor league cost.” Because when you attend one of our concerts, you’ll hear professional level playing but at a minor league cost!

As we begin our 62nd year of music making, I thought you would like to know a little about the backstage side of this ensemble. So let’s dispel some myths about this community orchestra and see how much you know!


Since it’s a community group anyone can join. 

Not true. The Cincinnati Community Orchestra is truly a major league group. All members audition for the Director before they join the ensemble.


So if it’s that good, then the players must get paid.

Not true. In fact our organization requires that the performers pay to play. All of us pay a yearly membership and are encouraged to give the orchestra an additional financial gift. This is why our concerts are free – because the musicians help pay the costs for our performances.


Since you don’t get paid, does this mean you don’t have to show up for rehearsals?

Absolutely untrue! Dr. Doan programs music that challenges all of us. If we miss a rehearsal, we fall behind the group and like a baseball team, each position relies on the other position to be there. An orchestra is truly one large musical instrument that functions as one. Because we all feel the responsibility we have to the ensemble, we make Monday night rehearsals a priority in our calendar.


Sounds like a lot of work. Does that mean it’s not fun to be in the orchestra?

Absolutely, definitely untrue! We are a collegial group. We enjoy visiting during our break, we have parties after the performances, and many of us become good friends outside of the orchestra. Social interaction is a critical factor in any community based activity, be it a book club, a softball league or a musical group.


So you’ve dispelled all our perceptions of the Cincinnati Community Orchestra. What is true?

What is true is we need you! Our rehearsing and practicing for each of the concerts is not worth it if we don’t have an audience. We love to see the church filled for our concerts. We even provide the refreshments for you at intermission! All we ask is that you consider donating at the end of the performance to help defray the costs of our concerts.


Speaking of concerts, we are gearing up for the first concert of the new season. On October 24 at 7:30 p.m. we will be playing a very difficult, but beloved symphony by Tchaikovsky, his 4th Symphony. And we’re very honored to have Janet Carpenter performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.  Janet is one of the youngest members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and a former member of the Cincinnati Community Orchestra. I had the privilege of watching her develop from an elementary music student to holding a position in a major orchestra and you do not want to miss her performance!


Free admission (even better than minor league!), free parking, convenient location, refreshments and concerts of the highest quality of music performed enthusiastically and at a level beyond most community groups – that’s what you’ll experience at a CCO concert.


My next blog will introduce you to some of our members. I think you’ll be impressed with the scope of our group. See you on October 24!

Amy Dennison






2015-2016 Concert Dates

2015-2016 Concert Dates. Mark your calendars!

October 24, 2015 – 7:30 p.m.
Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
Tschaikowsky – Symphony No. 4
Tschaikowsky Violin Concerto with Janet Carpenter

December 5, 2015 – 7:30 p.m.

Mozart – Overture to Marriage of Figaro
Enesco – Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1
Hubler – Concerto for Horns
Schumann – Symphony No. 3

March 5, 2016 – 7:30 p.m.
Bizet – Symphony in C and Rimsky-Korsakoff – Scheherazade

May 7, 2016 – 7:30 p.m.  “Percy Goes to the Movies”
Works by Percy Grainger, Elmer Bernstein, and John Williams

Concerts begin at 7:30pm

Church of the Saviour United Methodist
8005 Pfeiffer Road
Cincinnati, OH 45242

Update: Our 2014-2015 Season!

CINCINNATI COMMUNITY ORCHESTRA - sixty-first season – 2014-2015

OCTOBER 18, 2014 “Romance”

von Weber – Andante and Hungarian

(Wendy Haas – bassoon)

Ireland – A Downland Suite

Bach/Elgar – Fantasia and Fugue in C

Brahms – Hungarian Dance no. 5

Borodin – Polovetsian Dances

Tschaikowsky – Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture

DECEMBER 6, 2014 “Seasonal Fantasies”

Jacob – Fantasia on the Alleluia Hymn

Sibelius – March from Karelia

Rossini/ Respighi – The Fantastic Toyshop

Smith – A Rhapsody on Christmas Carols

Prokofieff – Peter and the Wolf

Davis – Cantique de Noel / Stille Nacht

MARCH 7, 2015 “Concerto”

Dvorak – Symphony No. 7

Prokofieff – Piano Concerto No. 3

MAY 2, 2015 “Celebrating Summer”

Gershwin – Summertime

(Wendy Haas – bassoon)

Handel – Music for the Royal Fireworks

Mendelssohn – Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream

Verdi – Triumphal March from Aida


Dvorak – Carnival Overture

Reineke / Thayer – Casey at the Bat

(Jeff Imel – narrator)

A Tribute to Irving Berlin

Raise money for the orchestra just by eating!

Please have dinner at Ferrari’s Little Italy on Sunday, May 4 and/or Monday May 5! Ferrari’s will donate a generous portion of ALL proceeds on those two days to the orchestra. Stop by and say hi!