It continues to be an interesting musical journey. Last night we resumed rehearsals for the new season with the Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra, better known as the RPO. Just reread my first posting about an early September rehearsal in 2007, probably a second. I was in the second violin section and discovering that my seat partner was a young woman from Roanoke who knew people I had known.
This begins my fourth year with the RPO. Our orchestra continues to grow musically as our conductor, Robert Mirakian, inspires more effort and looks for ways to attract and hold musicians who can deliver. The economic doldrums we find ourselves in hasn’t helped...the dues our musicians pay to belong have doubled to keep us solvent. Yes, there are other symphonies around and some even pay their musicians. However, next to our professional older brother, the Richmond Symphony, many who are in a position to know claim we’re the next in terms of size and significant repertoire.
We need several “angels” to donate significant sums to match what our musicians and ticket sales produce to make us “comfortable” again. Ticket sales usually bring in a third or less of any symphony’s budget needs. We have a small dedicated corps of volunteers who help make things happen but there are still major expenses related to venue and production costs that remain constant.
If you’re in the Richmond area, learn about this extraordinary gem of a symphony orchestra that is one of the area’s best kept secrets. It motivates fine area musicians to keep their skills honed. These in turn also provide the smaller ensembles utilized by local churches for their special presentations. . Some of our musicians are the music teachers in our areas schools. The rehearsal skills they learn from RPO sessions carry over into the music classroom. If you attend a fine orchestra concert by a local area school, it is quite likely that their conductor is or has been a member of the RPO.
When we first arrived in the Richmond area sevral years ago we knew very few others
outside of family.The RPO has been a life line to productive music making for me, again, beyond my wildest anticipation. For a senior citizen this has significant
merit and there are a few of us who benefit in just this way by belonging to the RPO.