Adam Madison, The Triplicate

The Curry-Del Norte County Orchestra is at it again, rehearsing at the Smith River Methodist Church for the new season's set of three concerts in December.

Concerts will be held in Gold Beach, Ore., on Dec. 5, Crescent City on Dec. 6, and Brookings, Ore., on Dec. 7.

The Crescent City concert will be held at the Elk Valley Casino auditorium at 3 p.m. The Brookings and Gold Beach concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m., with the Brookings concert held at the Grace Lutheran Church.

The ensemble, composed of talented musicians from Del Norte and Curry counties, is primarily supported by contributions made to the Orchestra Guild and from the Southwestern Oregon Community College in Brookings.

The only paid member of this group of about 40 members is the conducter, Gary De Roest, according to his wife, Della, who took time out recently to talk about this remarkable ensemble. Rehearsals, which run from September through April, support performances held in the fall and spring. Dates for spring concerts will be announced later.

Besides maintaining the orchestra, which began as a string quartet in 1987, these people also have a "prep" orchestra designed to help young musicians.

"This is an important group," explained Mrs. DeRoest, "as the schools have mostly done away with the music programs these days."

Organized and staffed by volunteers, the orchestra's supporting infrastructure manages an unusual group composed of what looks like a cross-section of the populace. Among the musicians are doctors, dentists, school teachers, a principal, a para-legal, a us driver, a prison guard, gifted highschool and college students, and possibly your next door neighbor. Check out one of the next concerts and see.

Funds raised by the Guild and by donations at large from the communities it serves are used to purchase instruments and music that can't be rented. Among recent acquisitions are a set of chimes, two timpani and a public address system. Sutter Coast Hospital has donated a file cabinet for the Prep Orchestra. Wanted now is a marimba or a xylophone. The marimba is preferred, says Mrs. DeRoest and either will cost about $5,000.

By the way, Curry Public Transit hauls the orchestra's instruments, music, etc., from concert to concert in return for a notice in the printed programs. Also, DeRoest could use a few good musicians to augment his ensemble.

For information, contact the Orchestra Guild, P.O. Box 1274, Crescent City, or Southwestern Oregon Community College, at 541-469-5017 in Brookings.

Ann Terrill Garlick is a veteran, award-winning journalist and a native Californian. She spent nearly 23 years as one of the editors at the Orange County Register.