Many major cities, including Denver, have a thriving music scene that includes a symphony orchestra. In fact, there are over 1,800 orchestras in the US alone. However, only about 20% have professional musicians (source: League of American Orchestras). The other 80% are volunteer, or community, orchestras made up of musicians who gladly donate their time and efforts to entertain, educate, and inspire their local community.
Even though many of us live near one of the professional organizations, we probably live even closer to a community orchestra that performs great music right in our backyard. If you haven’t checked yours out, especially if you are in the Parker area and haven’t heard the Parker Symphony Orchestra yet, here are 8 reasons why you really should attend a concert and support or even join your local community orchestra.
1. Community Orchestra Concerts Are a Great Value
There’s nothing quite like the experience of getting all dressed up to see the Symphony downtown in the big city. But there’s also nothing quite like the ticket prices either. If you would like to experience live classical music performances on a regular basis but can’t afford to do so at the big venues, community orchestra concerts are for you. Single concert tickets or even season tickets are quite reasonable and you hear many of the same works including famous symphonies like Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” and pop culture favorites like the Music of John Williams.
2. Community Orchestra Concerts Are Wonderful for New and Young Fans
So you don’t have a tuxedo or evening gown or you don’t know much about classical music? Maybe you want to introduce your kids to the genre? Community orchestra concerts are a great place to hear wonderful music that you may or may not be familiar with and tend to have a more relaxed atmosphere. While people still dress nicely, most of tuxedos, if not all, are worn by the male performers in the orchestra. The music is often very listenable and the audience is full of people of all ages and music knowledge levels. Community orchestras also sometimes offer children’s concerts to introduce very young kids to classical music and the various musical instruments.
3. A Local Symphony Orchestra Is Good for Business.
Businesses that want to attract capable and smart employees often choose a location based on local cultural opportunities. The thought is that an area with lots of cultural events is likely to attract a diverse, dynamic, intelligent, and talented group of people. A community orchestra not only provides residents a way enjoy the arts locally, but it also offers an opportunity for local musicians to perform.
4. Community Orchestras Support Emerging and Local Musicians
From youth choirs to local soloists to upcoming virtuosos, you can often hear the newest and brightest talent perform with community orchestras. Many are very supportive of the local schools, sometimes inviting students to play with the organization either as part of a section or as a soloist. Community orchestras are more than just groups of local performers – they are really ambassadors for music in the area.
5. Volunteer Orchestras Offer the Chance for Non-Professionals to Play
Volunteer orchestras certainly have their fair-share of musicians who are professionals in other groups, music teachers, and more. But if your day job isn’t in music, that doesn’t mean you can’t still play your instrument. If you’ve got the talent, a community orchestra may have a place for you too. In fact, the Parker Symphony Orchestra is always looking for good, local musicians to join us. Playing music has been shown to have long-term positive effects on the brain as outlined in this Ted-Ed Video.
6. Community Orchestras Have Members Who Can Connect You
Need a musician for your next event? Are you looking for a music teacher? Chances are an orchestra member can help or connect you with people who can. Getting to know the members of your local orchestra can connect you to the greater music scene in your area. You can get recommendations about music, classes, other events, instruments, repair shops, and more.
7. Local Orchestras Can Help Celebrate Holidays, Events, and Milestones
Music is an essential part of almost every event. While live bands are often the go-to for entertainment, local orchestras, too, can help celebrate the moment. A community orchestra can provide the perfect backdrop for a city anniversary celebration, a night under the stars, and more. Orchestral holiday music, like that at the Parker Symphony Orchestra holiday concerts, is a family-friendly way to ring in the season.
8. Support for a Volunteer Orchestra Is Often Tax Deductible
Many community orchestras are actually non-profits, relying solely on public and private support. For example, the Parker Symphony is a registered 501(c)3 organization so all donations are tax-deductible. Giving to a local symphony is a wonderful way to give back to your local community and help keep the music playing.