Boone County Youth Orchestra highlights courthouse history


By Chris Bavender

The Boone County Youth Orchestra is set to perform at the Boone County Courthouse at 7 p.m. May 11 as part of “Celebrate! Boone County,” a free event highlighting the history of the courthouse.

“It is a beautiful, gorgeous building. I have done a lot of research on it and in old newspapers, (the courthouse) was described as ‘a song in glass and stone,’” said Barb Walters, executive director of Boone County Youth Orchestra. “I went to the historical room at the library to find out everything about the courthouse and came up with a lot of interesting information, some of it poignant, some of it rather hilarious, so I am working on a script and selecting songs I think musically depict the stories we wanted to tell.”

Formed in 2009, the orchestra has 40 members, 20 youth and 20 adults, including Walters, who plays strings. The group has two concerts a year with one in the fall and one in the spring. The orchestra has six rehearsals before each performance. Members range from elementary-school students to people in their 70s.

“We have several families who play together, a lot of small family groups, and it is very special for them,” Walters said. “It’s adults, generally, who maybe played in high school and stepped away and now their child is playing and they realize they have an opportunity to actually play and perform with their child, and that is very exciting. We love that.”

Not only is the orchestra performing in the courthouse, but the clock tower will actually be part of the performance.

“Last fall as Chaz Rhodes, our artistic director, stepped up and raised his arms for the downbeat for the first piece, the clock tower gonged seven times, and that made me think, ‘Let’s make that part of the concert,’” Walters said. “So, as soon as the seventh gong ends, we start a piece called ‘It’s About Time.’ I am very excited to open that way.”

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