Albany Senior Orchestra delights young and old

Ian Fitzgerald was obviously moved by the Albany Area Senior Orchestra’s selection.
Janine Budeschiem, center, conducts the Albany Area Senior Orchestra during their performance at the Watervliet Senior Center on October 30.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Janine Budeschiem, center, conducts the Albany Area Senior Orchestra during their performance at the Watervliet Senior Center on October 30.

Ian Fitzgerald was obviously moved by the Albany Area Senior Orchestra’s selection.

Clutching an action figure in one hand, the 41⁄2-year-old bounced in his seat, moving to the right and then left in time as the orchestra played “The Syncopated Clock,” a familiar piece of light classical music.

Nine-year-old Kaitlyn Plowman was also enjoying the music. Watching carefully, Plowman, who has just started taking violin lessons, pretended to be the conductor from her first row seat at the William K. Sanford Library on Albany-Shaker Road in Loudonville. She said afterwards that playing in an orchestra might be something she would do in the future.

Audience participation

The children were among the 40 or so people in the audience for the free concert. Though not everyone bounced in their seats, there was a lot of toe-tapping and occasional singing along as the mostly older crowd enjoyed “Tea for Two,” selections from “The Pirates of Penzance” and “The Angelus.”

Cellist Beth Brown has been with the orchestra for seven years. She said the group loves to get together and make music. The backgrounds of the musicians vary from professionals to people who hadn’t picked up their instruments since high school. “Some come to music later in life, some study. It’s a real mix,” said Brown, who at 73 is one of the younger members of the orchestra.

Playing is fun

The appeal of the orchestra is the fun, she said, and the joy of playing for people who often don’t get to hear live music.

The not-for-profit orchestra was founded in 1977 and has been playing together since then. The 50 or so members play just about all the orchestral instruments, including violins, oboes, flutes, cellos, trumpets and drums. “We can always use more string players,” the brochure reads.

At the library concert, conductors Charles “Joe” Trupia and Janine Budesheim took turns leading the approximately 40 orchestra members present. The sound was as wonderful, as full and rich as it was diverse.

songs performed

Generally, the hour-long performance includes Broadway show tunes, classical pieces and ends with a march. The audiences are usually residents of retirement communities, senior centers, nursing homes and schools.

As the last tune — a march titled “The American Patroon” — was played, one older man nodded his recognition and began to tap his hands in time with the music. As the concert ended, he and other members of the appreciative audience applauded heartily.

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