The Westside Community & Youth Orchestra strives to provide high quality performances as an orchestra for our community, while cultivating the artistic growth and excellence of both youth and adult members through enriching orchestral experiences and mentoring among WCYO musicians.
ABOUT THE ORCHESTRA
The Westside Community & Youth Orchestra (originally named the Intel Orchestra) was founded in October 2007 by Intel engineer Rob Archibald to fill a need the Intel Singers had for a small orchestra for live accompaniment in concert. Over time, the orchestra grew to include Intel employees, family members and friends from diverse occupations and backgrounds, joined together by a common love for music. After eighteen months, together, the orchestra decided to reach out to the community to expand.
According to Archibald, “I'd learned that Hillsboro schools hadn't had an orchestra program for something like 30 years. Youth who wanted an orchestra opportunity had to go to Portland to participate in the larger youth orchestras, at significant time and financial sacrifice. Adults already had lots of community orchestra opportunities. So, we felt the best way to expand would be through youth, and the Westside Community & Youth Orchestra was born.”
“We started with about 12 string players. Last week at rehearsal, I counted about 50 players in strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion,” said Archibald. “Initially, adults would help to teach the youth the ropes of an orchestra, but as we've grown over the years, we now have about an equal number of youth as adults and the youth are now often mentoring the adults. It's been fun watching it grow over the years. And, while initially WCYO grew only through significant work getting the word out to schools, band teachers and private instructors, today we grow primarily through the excitement that our members have for the group. They tell their friends and we just keep growing.”
MUSICIANS OF ALL AGES
Cellist Phyllis Warfield is a perfect example of this sort of recruitment. Flutist Morgan Brown invited her one week before an upcoming holiday concert. Despite having only one rehearsal, Warfield had a positive experience and has been with the orchestra ever since.
“One of the coolest things about the Westside Community & Youth Orchestra is the way that whole families can participate in the orchestra,” reported Rob Archibald. “Off the top of my head I can think of at least 5 families with parents and children, siblings or husband/wife playing together. The Archibald family is one of those, as Rob plays cello while son Andrew (age 16) plays percussion and another son Matthew (age 14) plays trumpet. While they are all very much into music, WCYO is the only place they can perform together. Both Andrew and Matthew play in their school bands, but without WCYO they wouldn't have the opportunity to also play in an orchestra together as a family. The makes WCYO a unique opportunity locally.
Bass trombonist Brent Colvin represents one of the families noted by Archibald, as various family members have participated for several years now. “The first year I brought myself, my third daughter (violin), and my oldest son (percussion) along with two other families that also played in our homeschool band”, Colvin said. “My oldest daughter (viola) and my second son (trumpet) joined for the Spring Concert. The second year, myself, my third daughter and two sons played”, Colvin added. Since then it has been a revolving cast of family members involved, including on occasion, Colvin’s wife.
THE BENEFITS OF PLAYING IN AN ORCHESTRA
As for the benefits of playing in an orchestra, Colvin says, “WYCO plays music that is demanding, yet accessible, to some young but talented players who get to experience classical repertoire that is fun to play and hear. The encouragement from players of all ages allows all the players to grow and enjoy playing.”
Reflecting on the growth and development of the Westside Community & Youth orchestra over the past 8 years, Archibald observes, “WCYO is a great place for people of all ages to learn, share their talents and have fun together. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to see it grow and flourish over the years.”
We are always looking for new players, if you are interested in joining the orchestra or in volunteering in a non-musical capacity, you can contact us at .
OUR CONCERTS ARE FREE
The Westside Community & Youth Orchestra performs twice a year, once in the spring and again in the winter during the holiday season. All our concerts are free to the public.
The Westside Community & Youth Orchestra is overseen by a Board of Directors and operates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.