OBU-Shawnee Community Orchestra Announces Auditions

Auditions for the 11th season of the OBU-Shawnee Community Orchestra (SCO) will be Monday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. in Raley Chapel on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University, announced Dr. Jim Hansford, retired professor of music at OBU and founding conductor of the orchestra.

The Aug. 29 audition is primarily for string players, Hansford said. Interested performers on wind and percussion instruments should contact Hansford at 878-2310 for additional information. Returning wind and percussion players do not need to re-audition at this time.

Musicians should arrive at the audition prepared to play an appropriate excerpt of a solo or an etude to demonstrate his or her skills. The principal players in the string section, all graduate students or professional players from the area, will conduct string auditions. Each person auditioning will also be asked to sight-read a short excerpt of music.

Funding for the first few years of the SCO was provided through a grant from the Kirkpatrick Foundation in Oklahoma City, Hansford said. The grant became a reality through the work of Dr. Paul Hammond, retired dean of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts. The grant provided funds necessary to form a graduate string quartet which was shared jointly by the University of Oklahoma and OBU. In recent years, corporate and private donors in the Shawnee area have supported the ensemble with generous gifts.

“Without the assistance of our loyal local donors, this orchestra would likely not be a reality,” Hansford said.

Through the years the orchestra has averaged about 50 percent of its membership coming from the community and the remainder being comprised of OBU students, faculty and staff. More than 80 musicians from the community and region have participated in the SCO over the years from towns including Muskogee, Edmond, Norman, Yukon, Ada, Tecumseh, McLoud, Harrah, Meeker, Oklahoma City, Chandler, Choctaw and Earlsboro. Likewise, numerous OBU wind, percussion and string majors have had an orchestral experience necessary for continued success in their chosen profession.

“The membership of the group is quite diverse including doctors, educators, homemakers, retired military and students ranging in age from 15 to 75 years,” Hansford remarked. “The beautiful thing about musical skill is that one can utilize and enjoy it for a lifetime.”

Six current members have been a part of the group since its inception. They include Sherry McWilliams, flute; Robert Smith, bassoon; John King, trumpet; Ada Sewell, violin/viola; Thresa Swadley, cello; and Toppie Lincicome, trombone.

Regular rehearsals are scheduled on Monday evenings from 7-9 p.m. in the instrumental rehearsal hall (room 104) in Raley Chapel. The first rehearsal will be on Sept. 12.

For further information, contact Hansford at jim.hansford@okbu.edu or (405) 878-2310.