Making joyful noise

Community orchestra forms in Camas

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The group meets every Thursday, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Camas United Methodist Church, 706 N.E. 14th Ave.

The orchestra is for people of all ages and skill levels who want to practice and experience the joy of making music together.

Those who would like to participate should bring their own instruments and music stands.

For more information about participating, email Orchestra Conductor Tatiana Kolchanova at tatianakolchanova@gmail.com, or visit www.camasumc.org, then click on "Community Orchestra."

The group meets every Thursday, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Camas United Methodist Church, 706 N.E. 14th Ave.

The orchestra is for people of all ages and skill levels who want to practice and experience the joy of making music together.

Those who would like to participate should bring their own instruments and music stands.

For more information about participating, email Orchestra Conductor Tatiana Kolchanova at tatianakolchanova@gmail.com, or visit www.camasumc.org, then click on “Community Orchestra.”

The melodies of compositions written by Mozart, Gluck, Grieg and Beethoven can sometimes be heard dancing among the eaves of the sanctuary inside Camas United Methodist Church, then gently tiptoeing out toward the surrounding Crown Park neighborhood — tempting the ears of those who happen to be strolling past.

“We’ve had some people who were just walking by stop in to listen,” said Pastor Richenda Fairhurst.

The music is being created by what is currently a small group of Clark County residents who are taking part in a newly formed community orchestra.

Directed by accomplished violinist, pianist and composer Tatiana Kolchanova, it is open to people of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels. Anyone who has a desire to practice and make music with others is welcome.

Kolchanova, 50, who moved to the United States from Russia in 2007, said leading the group has been an incredible experience.

“I like to learn,” she said. “I am learning through teaching different people and different ages. They teach me. We are learning from each other.”

Kolchanova’s resume in music is long and distinguished.

After showing an interest in playing the piano at the age of 5, her parents enrolled her in private lessons. She also took up the violin — the instrument that she chose to place her focus on as she continued her formal education.

Kolchanova graduated from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in 1989 and earned a doctorate in 1993.

She was a violinist for the Russian Radio and TV Orchestra for eight years, and was first violin for the Glinka State (Russia) Quartet for 10 years.

Kolchanova has toured throughout the world including performances at Carnegie Hall in New York City under Zubin Mehta and cooperative performances with Jessye Norman in France, Italy, Lebanon and Germany.

She taught in Russia at the Moscow Conservatory and its Academic Music College and at Central Music School.

Currently, Kolchanova is a core regular player with the Portland Opera as well as a substitute with the Oregon Symphony. She has taught at the Rose City Music Academy in Portland, and the Classique Music Academy in Vancouver, as well as the Vancouver School of Arts & Academics, Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Vancouver and Union High School in Camas.

The idea of forming a community orchestra came about one day when Fairhurst and Kolchanova were chatting.

“I have played music my whole life,” Kolchanova said. “I wanted to share my experience with others.”

They were both surprised something similar didn’t already exist.

“It didn’t make sense,” Fairhurst said. “People have such wonderful gifts here.”

Word spread that the group was forming, and practice officially began in August at CUMC.

“We are their chief supporters and cheerleaders,” Fairhurst said. “When there is good in the world, we want to support it. We have lovers of music here. For most of our members, it is such a joy to be a part of this.”

Now approximately 14 people strong, instruments represented include the violin, cello, harp, guitar, flute, alto saxophone, clarinet, banjo and viola. A new member will soon bring a percussion element to the group.

Vancouver resident Liz Nedela, an accomplished musician and composer in her own right, is a member of the community orchestra. She serves as a conductor, and also plays the cello.

“The people are wonderful,” Nedela said. “They are so easy to work with. I learn from them. I learn from Tatiana. I just feel music is lifelong education. It’s insatiable. I can’t get enough of it.”

Nedela, 69, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music. She has been a studio music teacher and was also active as a cellist and conductor in another community orchestra in Billings, Mont., where she and her husband lived for 30 years before moving to Vancouver in 2008.

“I had been wanting to get involved in another one, and I preferred to stay in Washington instead of having to cross the river into Portland,” she said. “I was just thrilled that Tatiana did this. I think it’s wonderful that she’s put together this community orchestra. I just love it.”

Christina Lind, another member of the community orchestra, first picked up the flute when she was 13 years old, and has taken lessons on and off for many years. Although she is currently a piano teacher, the flute holds a special place in her heart.

“I love the flute,” she said. “It’s got a beautiful sound — a lyrical quality. It’s soothing. It makes melodious music.”

Lind, 26, currently the community orchestra’s only flutist, enjoys being part of the group because it gives her a chance to perform in a new environment.

“A dream of mine would be to play with the Clark College orchestra,” she said. “This group would be a good way to gain experience on my way to that goal.”

Lind, whose sister Ashley plays violin in the community orchestra, said she appreciate’s Kolchanova’s approach.

“I like how she’s encouraged anybody to come and play,” she said. “She’s encouraging to everyone, no matter what their skill level is.”

The group is currently preparing for a concert in December. Music will include Sailor’s Song by Edward Grieg, Evening Prayer by Engelbert Humperdinck, Ode to Joy by Beethoven, as well as some Christmas music.

Kolchanova’s musical talent has taken her around the world, and she is now sharing her expertise with the members of the Camas-Washougal community orchestra. She has found that being part of this group has allowed her to continue to enrich her life in a variety of ways.

“I am so happy to be here,” she said. “There are so many beautiful people. I am in the right place.”

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