Historic Heartland Orchestra young but big on sound

awoolen@macon.comJanuary 15, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- Despite forming less than six months ago, the Historic Heartland Orchestra is big on sound.

Conductors Jason Economides and Patty Baser are both violin players.

The transplants from Michigan were involved with orchestras in their hometown. Both have music degrees.

Baser teaches music at two Bibb County schools, while Economides freelances with his violin in orchestras while giving private violin lessons in Macon and at Wesleyan College.

The new orchestra is designed for all ages and skills.

“Don’t worry about your level,” Economides said.

Currently the group has two dozen members, who range in age from 10 to 72.

“It’s nice to have that intergenerational combination,” Baser said.

Baser and Economides’ two children, Zoe and Eleni, both play the violin in the group.

One of the thoughts behind the group is to bridge the gap between youth orchestra and professional play.

This orchestra was built “out of a need to fill the gap between where youth symphony ends and where the professional groups pick up,” said Economides.

For its first rehearsal Thursday after a break for the holidays, there were eight players, including four violins, a bass, a trumpet, flute and oboe while Economides conducted.

Though small in number, the sound produced by the few who attended was powerful.

“This is a nice piece,” Economides said while conducting the group during the first run through of the music.

The group practices 7-9 p.m. Thursdays at Green Acres Baptist Church in Warner Robins, where it held its first concert in November.

Kathy Giddens, who plays viola and is also the manager of the group, was busy putting sheet music on the music stands before practice.

She hopes the orchestra gains momentum and members.

“Our group is for recreation and education, though we encourage professionals and former professionals to come help us be the best we can be,” Giddens said.

For more information about the orchestra, go to www.hhcommunityorchestra.weebly.com.

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