The Linfield Chamber Orchestra has been loved by many in the Linfield and McMinnville communities. It was made up of gifted students, alongside talented professionals and teachers. However, like most great things, its time has come to an end. A new chamber ensemble will be taking its place.
“First it was announced that the Linfield Chamber board would dissolve, and we would start with a new model, where the orchestra type program would work directly with the music program not the college and the board,” said Faun Tiedge, director of the music department.
Economic challenge was the reason for reassessment of the Linfield Chamber Orchestra. Like for most businesses and clubs, maintaining economic stability has proved difficult in the aftermath of the recession.
The orchestra received funding from outside businesses and then that amount was matched by Linfield.
“The college has not reduced the funding, nor reduced the budget for this type of program,” Tiedge said. “To run the orchestra, it took a great deal of outside funding, which was diminishing in these tough economic times. The outside funding was not sustainable for an orchestra of that size.”
The new Chamber ensemble, which will be funded by Linfield, will hopefully bring in more talented Linfield musicians, as well as returning ones.
“We are looking forward to positive changes that will make the program more student-centered and give them more experience,” Tiedge said. “We are hoping now that not only will the students be able to play, but play more than they otherwise would have in the
other program. However, still in this model, students will be able to play next to professionals but in a chamber ensemble.”
This change was based upon stability. Funding for the orchestra program was not sustainable. With the new program, more audiences, and funding will be expected.
“Economically it became hard, and also our audience is a little bit smaller because the classical music audience is an older audience. So, we are finding new ways to get the younger generation to become more involved in this music,” Tiedge said. “We are reducing the ticket prices, have more variety in the concerts, are trying different times of day and taking our musicians out into the community so that there is a change in venues.”
It is hoped that the new chamber ensembles will provide for more opportunities for students to work closely with professionals from all over the area.
“The students love the opportunity to make beautiful music together in a large ensemble, and they love playing for our supportive audiences,” Tiedge said.
Junior Lauren Pak is reminiscent of the orchestra but is excited for the new changes.
“My favorite memory of the orchestra was definitely the children’s concerts. They are so responsive to our music, and it is also a great way to get involved in the community,” Pak said.
The orchestra will finish off its final 2012-13 year, and the new ensemble will start September 2013. Its next concert will be Dec. 2.
The music program at Linfield is embedded in the college’s history. This is why it is important for transformation to happen so that it can grow with the changing times.
“It’s time to do something new,” Tiedge said.