"Orchestra program adds second batonThe fledgling ensemble splits, to serve students of varied skill. "
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:56 PM
"The fledgling Bainbridge Youth Orchestra is attracting another outstanding musician to the island - definitely to work, perhaps to live.Diane Lange, who already has a remarkably rich and full musical life on the other side of Puget Sound, joins friend and long-time associate Gary Anderson to conduct the junior division of the orchestra.Not only is Diane a fine violinist, but a fabulous violin (and) strings teacher as well, Anderson said. We are fortunate to have her looking to relocate here.Anderson came to Bainbridge last year after finding a web site with an island home he could not resist. It was natural for him to think of Lange when the junior division of the just-forming Bainbridge Youth Orchestra needed a director, as the two have made music together for years in the Rainier Symphony and in other venues. Lange adds her Bainbridge commitments to what might be, for someone with less energy, a full roster. She teaches 84 private students, and this past year not only served as assistant concertmaster of the Rainier Symphony, but sat on the group's board and also served as librarian.She created the Highline School District's successful string program, now a model for public-private partnerships fostering music in the schools.We got funded with a grant for two elementary school and one middle, Lange said. Now we may expand. It's been a lot of work - but this is what I do. Lange has already contributed to Bainbridge's music life, serving as assistant concertmaster of the Bainbridge Island Orchestra for the last concert series.Next year, in addition to leading the Bainbridge Junior Youth Orchestra, she will be play with the Bainbridge Orchestra, the Bainbridge Orchestra's chamber ensemble, and for the Bainbridge Chamber Music series.Group effortThe new orchestras have their roots in the Orchestra Support Committee, formed last year by music teachers and parents to promote orchestral music in island schools. The group presented the First All-Island Youth Strings Concert at Sakai Intermediate School last May.It was partly a head count, private island music teacher and committee member Allison LeGendre said. We wanted to see just how many potential youth orchestra members were out there.Lange and Anderson attended the concert, and came away impressed. Anderson was commissioned to head to the program. The youth orchestra then became a plural, as he contemplated the potential frustrations for both experienced and inexperienced performers if they were to be shoehorned into a single group.Which orchestra a young person plays in will depend on ability and experience, rather than age, Anderson said. With the need for a second director, Anderson called on friend and colleague Lange, and sign-ups are now under way.The group still needs a space for Thursday evening rehearsals. Tuition is not yet set, but will be reasonable Anderson says, comparable to what other youth orchestras in Puget Sound charge their students.The directors look forward to taking up the batons.In professional groups you often find a lot of bored musicians playing the some things over and over, Anderson said. In community music groups and young peoples' groups, performers are there because they want to be. To us, that's what it's about - working with people and having fun. "