Community Orchestra To Perform Spring Concert Sunday

The Jamestown Area Community Orchestra will present its annual spring concert Sunday at First Covenant Church, 520 Spring St., Jamestown, beginning at 4 p.m. Submitted photo by Craig Ridgway

The Jamestown Area Community Orchestra is preparing to kick off its 25th season with its annual spring concert this weekend.

The local nonprofit’s musical members will present the concert Sunday at First Covenant Church, 520 Spring St., Jamestown, beginning at 4 p.m.

This concert, under the direction of Andrew Coccagnia, will present “St. Lawrence Overture” by Washburn, “Slavonic Dance” by Dvorak, “Entrance March from The Gypsy Baron” by Strauss, “Suite from Jaws” by Williams and “The Summer Knows” by Legrand, among other selections. It will be free to the public, with free-will donations gratefully accepted.

Tracing its roots to its inaugural concert on April 25, 1993, at First Covenant Church, with Norman Lydell on the podium, JACO is recognizing the upcoming 2018 spring season of the orchestra as its 25th.

According to a 2005 article which appeared in The Post-Journal, the current Jamestown Area Community Orchestra began as the accompanying orchestra for First Covenant Church’s “Living Christmas Tree” cantata. Russell Johnson, retired chairman of the Music Department in the Jamestown Public Schools, and conductor of the Living Christmas Tree for its first 12 years, was the central organizing figure.

With the success and joy shared by its members in their “Living Christmas Tree” performances, JACO soon determined to have spring and fall concerts, as well. Interim and guest conductors over the life of the orchestra have included Lydell, Mary Ann Harp, John Cross, Russell Germaine, Donald Keddie, Anneke Severein and Dr. Paula Holcomb.

A board of directors was established and in 2015, JACO filed for incorporation as a nonprofit organization. JACO does not charge membership fees for performers or ticket fees for audiences, but relies on free-will collections at each concert to cover costs for new music, supplies, equipment and a conductor honorarium. Although numbers vary depending on the season, the orchestra typically contains approximately 40 or more players, including professionals, talented amateurs and a few advanced high school musicians.