For over 60 years, the Alma Symphony Orchestra has entertained audiences across Michigan.
Then came 2020 and the group was disbanded by Alma College as a cost-cutting measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ASO was unique because it included members of the quorum and the community.
Although it may return at some point in the future, another musical group has been formed in the meantime.
The Alma Chamber Orchestra will begin a season of four concerts at 8 p.m. on Monday, November 15 in the Presbyterian Hall of the Remick Heritage Center for the Performing Arts at Alma College.
The ACO will perform among others the Christmas Concerto by Arcangelo Corelli.
Alma resident Jan Caputo, who founded the Gratiot County Vintage Strings, which is now the Pine River Chamber Orchestra, worked with the college’s music department to form the new group.
“It’s a full string ensemble, but in the future we hope for more than that,” she said.
“It’s a mix of university students and volunteer musicians from the community. The group is part of the college’s music department and is a class for students. All PRCO members have been invited to join. This is exactly how the ASO was launched over 60 years ago.
The group is under the direction of Dr Takeshi Abo, a member of the college’s music faculty.
Caputo’s PRCO also had to halt its performance last year due to restrictions linked to the pandemic.
“We kind of went into limbo because all of our sites were closed,” she explained. “We didn’t have a place to practice or play.”
But discussions with the college’s music faculty continued.
“We wanted to try and bring something back,” Caputo said. “They supported me a lot. Things are going well.”
Currently, the ACO has 24 members, 12 students and 12 community members, she added.
The group’s first concert will also feature songs from the pre-level and advanced music students of the PRCO.
“(University music teacher) Murray Gross is writing a piece for a solo saxophone called ‘The Dawn is Ours’ which will be premiered at our third concert and we play Mozart’s Requiem for the last concert,” Caputo said. .
For more details on the ACO or future performance, see the Alma College website or Facebook page.