Carl Herko
Vice President, Media & Public Relations

April 21, 2008



(PORTLAND, Ore.) – The first year of the Oregon Symphony’s two-year-long musical collaboration with the small eastern Oregon towns of La Grande and Cove will come to a memorable finale the weekend of May 9 and 10 as the entire orchestra heads east for a series of concerts.

Highlight of the weekend will be the community concert at 7 pm Saturday, May 10, at La Grande High School. Music Director Carlos Kalmar will conduct the orchestra in a program that includes Bedrich Smetana’s Overture to The Bartered Bride, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, and other works in which the orchestra will be joined by community and student musicians that orchestra members have been mentoring on previous visits to La Grande and Cove since January.

Those works will include Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite, for which the Oregon Symphony will be joined by members of the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra; Camille Saint-Saens’ Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah, to be performed with the La Grande and Cove high school bands; and Alexander Borodin’s Polovtzian Dances in a performance at which the orchestra will share the stage with the combined choirs of Cove, La Grande, Baker and Union high schools.

Tickets for the community concert are available for $8 (adults), $4 (students of any age) and $20 (families), from ArtsEast, (541) 663-ARTS.

Before the community concert, the Oregon Symphony will also perform two youth concerts Friday morning, May 9, for students in the La Grande and Cove elementary, middle and high schools. Resident Conductor Gregory Vajda will lead both performances at La Grande High School.

These concerts are among the more than 350 activities that have taken place in La Grande and Cove since January through the Community Music Partnership, the Oregon Symphony’s most far-reaching community-engagement initiative. Activities have included “informances,” ensemble performances, master classes with orchestra musicians, instrument “petting zoos,” and other student events, as well as chamber music concerts for the community presented by Oregon Symphony ensembles. Groups of Oregon Symphony musicians and staff have visited the two communities in Oregon’s northeastern corner multiple times to present activities.

“There is definitely an excitement and desire to experience classical music in the communities of La Grande and Cove. We hope to be a creative conduit between the schools and local artists and arts organizations and to foster a sustained relationship with the Oregon Symphony,” said Monica Hayes, the orchestra’s Acting Director of Education and Community Engagement.

La Grande, with a population of 12,500, and Cove, home to 500 people, are located 15 miles apart in eastern Oregon’s Grande Ronde Valley. The 2007-09 collaboration marks the first time in the Community Music Partnership’s six-year history that the orchestra has partnered jointly with two communities at once. Another milestone: By working with members of the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra, Vajda and musicians from the Oregon Symphony have had their first opportunity to work alongside a community orchestra, allowing for a true mentoring role to take place.

Next season, the second year of the La Grande-Cove partnership will focus on sustainability activities, such as teacher workshops and planning for continued community involvement in music programs at the schools and elsewhere.

The Community Music Partnership has previously taken Oregon Symphony members into the communities of Estacada, Baker City, North Bend, Redmond and Klamath Falls. The Community Music Partnership is funded by the Ford Family Foundation with additional support from the Lilley Family Foundation, the Oregon Community Foundation, the Samuel S. Johnson Foundation and the Oregon Arts Commission.

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