New Community Orchestra welcomes new members

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Music players of the Lowcountry, rejoice! There's a new Community Orchestra in town, and it's welcoming new members.

Organized by Dominque Geer, director and teacher at the Arco Music Academy on Hilton Head Island, the new Community Orchestra acts as a way to reconnect musicians with their instruments, as well as provide a means for students to keep their skills sharp between semesters.

Anyone over the age of 13 who can play and read music is qualified to join the newly launched orchestra, which has gained 15 members since it started in September.

Combining a casual environment with a focus on fun and learning, the orchestra is Geer's way to support and nurture the musical foundation of her members, to ensure the music always outshines any rust gathered over the years, or, in students' cases, to prevent that rust from gathering to begin with.

"With the new high school schedules, so many kids can't play throughout the entire year," said Geer. "The orchestra gives them the opportunity to."

This mission helps students like Joseph Hutchinson, a 13-year-old cellist, keep busy between lessons and music classes while providing a fun and entertaining environment to let creativity thrive.

"I love being a part of the orchestra," said Hutchinson. "There's an extreme difference between playing solo and in an orchestra. It's a very different and good type of skill to have."

Hutchinson started playing cello in fifth grade under the tutelage of Geer, who taught throughout the Hilton Head public school system from 2003 to 2015. Hutchinson was inspired to pick up the cello after Geer demonstrated the instrument to his class.

Joseph's mother, Fae Hutchinson, is thankful for the orchestra, as it provides an opportunity for different community members to come together and play music.

"It has been phenomenal for him and gives him something to do in the evening that is productive and encourages him musically," said Fae Hutchinson. "(Geer) has fostered this love of music, and he has just taken to it. As a mom, I really appreciate that."

The orchestra meets every Tuesday at Island Lutheran Church on the corner of Main Street and Wilborn Road from 6:45 to 8:15 p.m. All instruments are welcomed, though it is noted that there is no percussion equipment onsite. Fees range from $100 per trimester to $90 when you register with a buddy.

For more information, visit www.arco musicacademy.com, call 843-384-5746, or email info@arcomusicacademy.com.

Sam Posthuma of Bluffton is a freelance writer and production assistant for The Bluffton Sun.

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