It was a match made is musical heaven.
The Fenton Community Orchestra and the performed for the second time together at their spring concert Tuesday evening.
The orchestra played everything from a Michael Jackson tribute to Lord of the Rings theme music while the jazz group performed “Can't Buy Me Love” by the Beatles, a Miles Davis number and others.
“The musical styles are so different,” said Sue Miller, conductor of the FCO. “We're really getting a great variety of music. It's neat to hear.”
The collaboration between the two groups came about mostly out of necessity. The Fenton Community Orchestra is an all ages group created by local musicians who wanted to give themselves and others a chance to perform in an orchestra setting. For their first concert in the fall of 2010, they weren't sure they'd have enough for a whole show.
“We knew we were too fresh to manage more than three pieces,” said Jennifer Fleck, one FCO's founders.
She said her oldest son is in the Jazz Band at the and she is active in the Marching Band Boosters, so she was comfortable approaching Fenton band director Andy Perkins about the option of a joint concert.
"He was excited to help us out,” Fleck said.
While the orchestra was hoping to have enough to music to fill a whole program for their spring concert—they doubled the number of pieces they performed--they still weren't quite ready, so they once again teamed up with the Jazz Ensemble.
The Fenton Community Orchestra has been growing since its inception in the fall. There are 80 members, though not all are active, and an average of 40 members at rehearsals every week.
Having an all ages orchestra offers Fleck the chance to play with her two sons.
“Sometimes I have to twist a couple arms - the argument of why do we have to get up on a Saturday morning for rehearsal comes up more than once,” jokes Fleck, who plays bass.
Bailey McPherson, 10, who has been playing violin for four years, has enjoyed her experience.
“It's fun playing with everyone,” said McPherson, whose favorite number was the Michael Jackson tribute.
Laura Fields, who plays flute, has enjoyed the experience as well.
“I've played flute off and on for 40 years,” said Fields, “It's great to work with this group. It's a lot of fun.”
Members of the Jazz Ensemble are only too happy for the chance to perform again.
“I love jazz,”said Logan Blissett, who plays guitar in the group. “It makes you think.”
Fleck said the mix of the styles as well as the young and old has done nothing but helped both groups.
“When you have multiple generations playing together, it adds a very unique dimension to the experience,” Fleck said. “We have adults who have a lot to teach some of our younger members while youth help to give us life and energy…and to focus on what is important—having fun.”