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Musicians hope to one day be resident orchestra at Center for the Arts

From the soundtrack of the Disney movie 'Fantasia' to Wily Coyote cartoon tunes, the Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra's debut concert in East County promises to be a musical trip down memory lane in a venue that's just down the street.


In its third season of performing encore concerts at Good Shepherd Community Church in Boring, the 60-member Portland-based symphony will treat its growing audience to music recognizable from television shows and movies, including Rossini's 'Overture to William Tell,' used in the TV series 'The Lone Ranger' and Grieg's 'Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16,' used in Nike commercials, among others. The concert will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14.

'I think October's concert is going to really be a fun one,' said Shelly Williams, symphony spokeswoman. 'It's going to be all familiar, bright, chirpy music.'

The Portland Columbia symphony began performing in Boring three years ago after one of its violinists suggested her church as a secondary site to the group's regular performances in the First United Methodist Church in Portland.

'We really wanted to open it up to another section of the community who was not getting the arts, and on the eastside, they have to drive,' Williams said.

Audiences for the symphony's performances have grown from 75 to about 300 as word has spread about the concerts. Williams said the musicians have been thrilled with the exposure and the feedback they receive.

'They love it that they don't have to drive to Portland, and they love it that the quality is so surprising,' Williams said. 'They're expecting it to be a community orchestra, and we're not. Also, because we have it in this very intimate venue, they get to go shake hands with the musicians after the concert; it's much more personable.'

As the symphony rehearses for its upcoming season, which includes concerts at Good Shepherd church on Oct. 14, Nov. 18, Feb. 24 and March 30, it also is making inroads to Gresham's arts community. It just held a Sept. 16 symphony safari interactive event on the site of the future Center for the Arts, a plaza, events center and theater planned for the two blocks in Gresham's historic downtown core between Northeast Hood and Kelly avenues and Second and Third streets.

Since the symphony began performing in East County, both Williams and Executive Director Betsy Hatton have joined the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce and last year held the symphony's annual fundraiser at Persimmon Country Club in Gresham.

Williams said once the Center for the Arts is built, the symphony would move its performances there and become the center's 'resident orchestra.'

'We hope to be one of the founding arts groups that will be housed in that center,' she said.

As momentum grows to raise funds and generate interest in the center, Williams said she believes East County is ready for such a facility.

'They have the land and they have the plans, they just need the money, and they have a good start on that, and they can get it built,' she said. 'It's very exciting, because you have a professional theater group, you have two or three springing up that are very good, you have a wonderful children's theater, and you have dance going on, so it very much appears you are ripe to have this building.'

Symphony schedule

Boldly Beautiful

The orchestra kicks off its 26th year with a fanciful journey through some of film's greatest music.

3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 14, at Good Shepherd Community Church, 28986 S.E. Haley Road in Boring. Huw Edwards, in his eighth season, conducts.

• Rossini: 'Overture to William Tell,' used in the TV series 'The Lone Ranger.'

• Grieg: 'Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16,' used in Nike commercials and in 'Lolita.' (Soloist Eloise Kim, of Beaverton, plays Grieg's Piano Concerto.)

• Handel: Royal Fireworks Overture from various movies.

• Mussorgsky: 'A Night on Bald Mountain,' used in the Disney movie 'Fantasia.'

• Liszt: 'Hungarian Rhapsody #2,' used in Wily Coyote cartoons.

Daring Differences

Mighten Yip, though young in age, tackles the mighty Mozart and the orchestra perfects Elgar's rich 'Symphony No. 1.'

3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at Good Shepherd Community Church, 28986 S.E. Haley Road in Boring.

• Mozart: 'Piano Concerto No. 9,' featuring Mighten Yip, piano.

• Elgar: 'Symphony No. 1.'

Distinctive Accents

Styles and sounds from Britain (Wales), Spain, and Austria overwhelm the senses in this sensitive and artful concert.

3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, at Good Shepherd Community Church, 28986 S.E. Haley Road in Boring.

• Vaughan Williams: 'Rhosymedre: Prelude on a Welsh Hymn Tune.'

• Rodrigo: 'Concierto de Aranjuez,' featuring David Franzen, guitar.

• Schubert: 'Symphony No. 9.'

Generation Gaps

Premier of a work by Portlander Amber Gudaitis, now a graduate student at Arizona State University. Jennifer Choi, now based in New York, graces Columbia Symphony Orchestra stage for the third time.

3 p.m. Sunday, March 30, at Good Shepherd Community Church, 28986 S.E. Haley Road in Boring.

• Gudaitis, Amber: 'CSO Commission.'

• Strauss, R.: 'Death and Transfiguration.'

• Beethoven: 'Violin Concerto in D major,' featuring Jennifer Choi.

Tickets cost $25 for adults; $20 for seniors; and $5 for students.

For more information, call 503-234-4077 or check the Web site: www.columbiasym

phony.org.

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