Omaha ensemble bridges generation gap with music

Posted on: December 1, 2009

In Sunday’s (11/29) Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska), John Pitcher writes, “The conductor gives his cue, and his musicians dig into ‘The Pink Panther’ theme. It’s Sunday afternoon at First Christian Church, and the Intergenerational Orchestra is rehearsing for its next concert. The players give Henry Mancini’s famous score a sleek, slinky reading. … Omaha’s Intergenerational Orchestra may sound like any other community ensemble. But it definitely looks different. The orchestra, celebrating its 25th season, is composed only of musicians who are younger than 25 and older than 50. Christine Gillette, the orchestra’s project director, started the group in 1985 as a musical and sociological experiment. … [Conductor Chuck] Penington is the orchestra’s common denominator. Musicians young and old say they joined the orchestra so they could play for the popular 64-year-old maestro. ‘I joined because Chuck is such an outstanding teacher,’ said Sister Anna Wolfe, one of the orchestra’s second violinists and its oldest member. … Violinist Laura Baumgartner, 21, has also learned a lot from Penington. Yet she wanted to play for him for a different reason. ‘Chuck writes a lot of our music,’ she said. ‘So we don’t really sound like any other orchestra because most of the time we’re playing original music and arrangements that are exclusive to us.’ ”

Posted December 1, 2009