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Orchestra performance to help ease the soul

Updated: October 3, 2012 10:26PM

It’s been a rough week in Aurora. We lost the irreplaceable Jack Schultz, weathered a storm, and witnessed tension at the West Aurora School Board meeting. After Jack’s New Orleans style funeral Saturday, with all the loud, proud brass of that fine tradition, it may be time on Sunday to enjoy the precise and controlled, yet passionate notes of Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony to help us relax and reflect. The Fox Valley Orchestra can help.

The FVO’s 2012-2013 concert season begins this weekend with a Saturday 7:30 p.m. performance in St. Charles at the Norris Cultural Arts Center. The same concert, entitled “Russian Masterpieces,” will be repeated on Sunday at Aurora University’s Crimi Auditorium at 3 p.m. It will include Mussorgsky’s “Prelude to Khovanshchina” and Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella Suite,” along with the featured Tchaikovsky.

As you may remember, new life was breathed into the former Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra in 2010. It is now simply the “Fox Valley Orchestra.” They continue to be led by Colin Holman, much to everyone’s delight. Since they regrouped, the Fox Valley area has responded enthusiastically and the orchestra has now grown to 56 members.

One of those members is Kim Scharf, who plays clarinet. Scharf told me she was “born and raised in Aurora,” a product of our city’s great music programs. She began playing clarinet in 5th grade at Smith Elementary and has continued for the past 26 years. She now teaches music at Greenman Elementary School. She is excited about the coming season and all the great music that’s in store.

“I think being in the FVO is especially meaningful for me, having grown up here in Aurora, in such a great musical community,” said Scharf. “I get to make music with people who are friends, teachers, and co-workers.”

Bev Anderson, who also plays in the FVO and is on their board of directors, was once Scharf’s private clarinet instructor. Someday perhaps some of Scharf’s own students will sit beside her in the FVO. “I love seeing some of my students and their families at our concerts,” she added.

Scharf described FVO as a very accessible group. “We have concerts on weekends, we do two shows, one to the north in St. Charles, and one down south in Aurora. The ticket price is very affordable, and our group gives musicians from all over the Fox Valley and beyond a chance to continue growing musically and share their love of music. It’s a talented, professional group and I am grateful to have such an opportunity.”

It looks like a fun lineup this season. After “Russian Masterpieces,” the October concerts will be an “American Patchwork” with Barber, Bernstein, Griffes, and Copland’s ever popular “Rodeo Suite.” Later concerts include a “Holiday Festival,” “All Things English,” the annual choral concert in partnership with the Aurora University Chorus, and a Summer Pops Concert of light classical and show tunes.

All six shows are only $55. Three concerts are just $30. You can purchase either of these packages or single tickets in advance ($12 adults, $10 students or seniors) at or by calling 630-891-2525. Single tickets are $13 at the door ($11 students and seniors, $5 children 8 and under).

“The arts are such a critical part of our lives,” said Scharf. “It’s fantastic that the FVO can bring these quality concerts to the Fox Valley community.”

I hope you will stop by for some relaxing hours of music in St. Charles on Saturday or at Aurora University on Sunday. It’s good for the soul.

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