Civic Orchestra opens second season at St. John’s Cathedral

Civic Orchestra opens second season at St. John’s Cathedral
Members of the Civic Orchestra of Jacksonville at the season opening performance Oct. 5. (Photo by Dr. Mitchell Terk)

When pipe organ soloist Timothy Tuller played his opening chords from Camille Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 in C Minor at the Civic Orchestra of Jacksonville’s season opening performance, goosebumps rose. Even the orchestra members who had not done a full rehearsal with the pipe organ were thrilled.

“This is an extremely difficult piece. I was amazed and awed and so proud of the musicians. We have grown so much,” said Nadine Terk, president of the Board of Directors and violinist. “This was my favorite piece to play; I just felt like it was raining music.”

In its second year, the 60-piece nonprofit orchestra consists solely of volunteer musicians who give their time to rehearse and perform classical concerts for free throughout the community.

In addition to the Saint-Saëns piece, the orchestra performed an exciting Carmen Suite No. 1 by Georges Bizet to a packed house at St. John’s Cathedral on October 5.

Peggy Holt, Rick Beaver and Ginger Harris supported the Civic Orchestra Oct. 19 at “An Orchestration of Food, Wine and Music” benefit at Riverside Liquors.

Peggy Holt, Rick Beaver and Ginger Harris supported the Civic Orchestra Oct. 19 at “An Orchestration of Food, Wine and Music” benefit at Riverside Liquors.

The focus of the orchestra is to collaborate with musicians, dancers and visual artists to engage the community in the creative process. Melinda Gopp, current artist-in-residence, translates musical selections onto canvas to show the interconnectedness of music and art. Her work was on display at the champagne reception following the performance. 

In August the orchestra was presented with a prestigious Arts Alive grant of $10,000. Terk said the grant will help with their spring concert at the Terry Auditorium, which highlights cultural diversity, aid their artist-in-residence program, and promote an educational element by allowing presentations in schools.

Director Marguerite Richardson, an Australian native and former full-time violinist with Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, is “an incredible conductor,” said Terk. “She is very demanding, but extremely witty, funny and fun. As an educator she helps us with the process, as well as focusing on the end result. The selections she makes are challenging and designed to push us to the next level. She understands that this is a volunteer group with limited time but she fosters that passion in us!”

Orchestra members Molly Sweet of Riverside, Carolyn Coppedge and William Roberts agree that Richardson’s dynamic style is engaging.

“Her conducting style works well to translate and interpret the music to the musicians,” said Roberts, a clarinetist.

Richardson is currently associate professor of strings at Jacksonville University, where she teaches violin and viola studies and is conductor of the JU orchestra. Several of her JU students play in the Civic Orchestra, but the musicians come from all areas of the community and from a variety of professions.

Playing with the orchestra helps keep up their skills. “It is my way of self-care,” said Coppedge. 

The second season of Civic Orchestra began with energetic and masterful direction by Richardson, dynamic music, and enthusiasm and dedication from the musicians. The orchestra will next perform at Jacksonville Jewish Center on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m.


By Peggy Harrell Jennings
Resident Community News   

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