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