Ted Simons: In tonight's edition of "Arizona Artbeat," we meet a local volunteer orchestra. Eight major cities have shut down their symphonies in recent years because of budget issues, but in Scottsdale a group of volunteers is trying to keep music alive. Producer Shana Fischer and photographer Ed Kishel introduce us to the Scottsdale Philharmonic.
Shana Fischer: By day Joy Partridge crunches numbers as the owner of an accounting business, but at night
Joy Partridge: I'm a ViOLA player. We're the third voice of the orchestra in the string section.
Shana Fischer: Joy is the cofounder of the Scottsdale Philharmonic, an all-volunteer orchestra. The 90-piece group performs six times a year and the tickets are free.
Joy Partridge: We wanted to bring classical music back to anybody, everybody. Children, old people, anybody who wanted to hear the classics, we were going to try to make that available for them.
Shana Fischer: Conductor Martin province says having all volunteers ensures the music is in the spotlight.
Conductor Martin: One thing you're getting people who play just for the love of playing. We don't pay anyone. Everybody volunteers all of their time. And so they're here just because they want to be. No one is here collecting a paycheck.
Shana Fischer: Choosing the music for a concert can be difficult. Province works closely with the Philharmonic's board.
Conductor Martin: The repertoire is so broad and deep and wonderful, that any time you choose a piece, you're eliminating something else. So what we try to do is find a major work we're going to do on a concert and then build a program around that. Maybe a Beethoven symphony, then we would add a vocal selection, an overture, but we go from the major work on the concert and out from there.
Shana Fischer: For the upcoming concert province has gone in a playful direction. He's chosen the William tell overture, the barber of Seville and Beethoven's triple concerto, all featured in Looney Tunes cartoons. While you may recognize these pieces, don't expect to have heard these versions.
Conductor Martin: Just because there's printed notes on the page doesn't mean every orchestra is going to play it the same way. If they did there would be no reason for more than one recording of any piece. It would be like traveling from here to the Montana or something and all of us might take a little bit different route. We would get to the same place, but maybe I want to see a few things in Colorado and you want to see a few things in Utah, so we would go by a different route and music is the same thing. When we all get from one edge to the other, but the route and the path we travel is not always the same. And that's what makes music stay alive.
Shana Fischer: To help it stay alive, the philharmonic relies on donors. As they finish their second season, they're in need of help. The violinist and board member says they're hopeful the community will step up.
Barbara Moss: It's extremely important. It wouldn't be very meaningful or let's put it this way, it would be partially meaningful for musicians if they had no audience. They'd still have enjoyment and love of the music that they were playing, but to be able to give this to an audience, to the community, is such an extraordinary opportunity.
Shana Fischer: Though they come from different backgrounds: music teacher. Tax accountants, business owner, these musicians all share a passion for bringing classical music to the masses.
Joy Partridge: I look at the audience and I look around and see all the faces enjoying the music. And I feel a sense of pride that I'm part of it.
Ted Simons: The philharmonic's final concert of the season is Sunday June 8th. You can learn more by visiting the orchestra's website scottsdalephliharmonic.com. Thursday, on Arizona Horizon a visit with the director of the newly formed Arizona department of child safety, and we'll check out a local exhibit of vintage Hollywood costumes. That's Thursday on "Arizona Horizon."
That it is for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.
Find out about the Scottsdale Philharmonic, an all-volunteer 90-piece orchestra that performs six times a year.