by Amy Dennison


Here in the Cincinnati Community Orchestra, our director Dr. Gerry Doan, designs a variety of programs. For the first concert this season, the emphasis was on the music of Brahms, and therefore, a fairly narrow perspective on the extensive breadth of classical music. However, if you are a fan of Brahms or just plain romantic music, a concert like that is up your alley.  From a performer’s perspective, the opportunity to perform two lengthy works by the same composer, helps us to learn and reinforce performance style of a particular composer. When you are reading the music, you recognize a similar phrase or pattern that may have occurred in the other work and you can apply your knowledge to the music.

If we compare musical concerts to salad bars (I know, wierd, but that’s how my brain operates) this would be analagous to the person who loves to make one large green salad from the salad bar. She may put a lot of ingredients onto that salad, but it is still one salad.Then there are those customers who prefer the salad bar with about 50 different choices of salads. Count me in on that one. There’s tossed salads, potatoe salads, vegetable salads, jello salads, chicken salad, and so on. The plate isn’t large enough because you want a taste of everyone!

OK, if you are that kind of a salad bar consumer, you will love our upcoming concert! Dr. Doan has programmed a wide variety of orchestral selections from classical through music written near the close of the 20th century. Yet, Dr. Doan has cleverly tied all of the pieces together in a theme of “flying.” And some of the music flys by way fast!

Playing several pieces of contrasting style and approach is tricky. All of the musicians have to be nimble and ready to change styles. Playing John Williams soundtracks requires a different approach than playing a Rossini overture. But wait a minute! Both works serve essentially the same purpose: they enhance a visual experience.

Deciding what to perform on a concert requires a lot of thought and past experience. Know that any CCO concert you attend will be a concert that originated with many hours of thought by the director followed with many hours of personal practice and orchestral rehearsal before we present it to the public. We hope you fly with us on Saturday December 7!

Amy Dennison is an oboist for the Cincinnati Community Orchestra. You can find her blog at