Cheney Free Press -

Staff Intern 

West Plains Community Orchestra is getting in tune


Kelsey Lavelle

West Plains Community Orchestra conductor Dr. julian Gomez-Giraldo works with musicians at a recent rehearsal.

They may not be rock stars, but the members of the West Plains Community Orchestra have a passion for their music that is undeniable.

Since it's inception last spring the group has really shown progress and ability to incorporate new members and compensate if there is a lack of diversity in instruments.

At their most recent practice in the Eastern Washington University music hall, the orchestra had violins, flutes, clarinets and even a bassoon, which blended together filled the room with melodic harmony.

Amanda Scholer, director for the orchestra, recalled the difficulty from the initial practice.

"The first meeting was out of tune and now everyone comes together," she said to another member after the Wednesday night practice.

Scholer plays clarinet for the group along with her executive director duties.

It is arguable that the reason for such rapid improvement is the dedication and passion conductor Dr. Julian Gomez-Giraldo brings to the orchestra.

When Scholer's mother Julia was looking to start up a community orchestra, she reached out to EWU for assistance in finding a volunteer conductor.

It is arguable that any orchestra has challenges, but Giraldo meets issues head-on.

Practice begins with Giraldo greeting each member individually, shaking their hands and memorizing their name.

Once everyone is seated and ready to begin, Giraldo thanks each member for coming, "It's nice to have this crowd."

Tuning, scales and transposition followed.

Once the group was up and running Giraldo peppered the practice with encouraging sentiments.

"Bravo" and "beautiful" were common praise from Giraldo.

Community is an apt description for the group that includes locals ranging in ages from junior high students to retirees.

Each member is willing to help tune each other's instruments and share sheet music if there is a shortage.

Alex Brown, 13, who plays violin with the orchestra says her main performances have been solo acts in her school's talent shows and practicing with her younger brother Aaron, 10, also a violin member.

The orchestra is a good opportunity to hone her talents with other musicians under the guidance of an accomplished and passionate conductor.

As director of orchestras at EWU and numerous other positions as an accomplished conductor, Giraldo has a vast amount of experience to lend the younger generations of musicians.

Giraldo is glad to volunteer his time and talent for the progress of the group and acknowledges the support from EWU who lends the practice space to the orchestra Wednesday nights.

For Giraldo a goal of the West Plains Community Orchestra is to "strengthen our connection as musicians and as human beings."

The group is still looking for musicians wanting a place to play, like Christy Raben a flute player, who didn't have anywhere else to play, and want to dust off their instruments.

The orchestra hopes to have the opportunity to conduct a full performance soon for the West Plains area.

For more information about the West Plains Community Orchestra go to

Kelsey Lavelle can be reached at


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017