Playing for the love of it: community orchestras

Posted on: November 16, 2021

Trumpet player Joe Perry rehearses with the Lake Forest Civic Orchestra on November 4, 2021. Photo: Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune

“One night three years ago, I introduced myself to someone in a way that really mashed his buttons: ‘I’m an amateur violinist,’ ” writes Hannah Edgar in Sunday’s (11/14) Chicago Tribune. “He protested. Why so self-deprecating? I protested right back: I was proud to be an amateur, in the truest sense of its Latin root, ‘to love.’ I play violin for no other reason than because I love it…. I’d just joined Lakeview Orchestra, an experience that single-handedly turned my life around. After graduating college, … I’d moved too far across the city to be a hanger-on in my university orchestra, and my student quartet had dispersed to all quarters of the globe, as had most of my friends. Unemployed and unmoored, I couldn’t bear to touch my violin—until Lakeview. Tuesday night rehearsals never came soon enough.… [Volunteer orchestras] could be filled with artisans, schoolteachers, doctors, retail workers, lawyers, students and even the odd professional musician or two. What they all have in common is that they, too, lead with love.” Community orchestras in the article include South Loop Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, Lake Forest Civic Orchestra, and Northwestern Medical Orchestra.