Jul 18, 2012 10:20 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
The Buckhannon Chamber Orchestra
The heart of West Virginia may rest in the communities of our state’s rolling hills and valleys. In the small town of Buckhannon, music comes to life through the Buckhannon Chamber Orchestra. For more than 20 years, the growing orchestra has been led by a dedicated director named Patty Brock.
Patty discovered her musical talent at an early age, learning to play the cello in grade school. She found herself surrounded by music. “My mother played the piano, so I took piano lessons,” she says. “I would also listen to my third grade teacher play for hours.”
Patty played a big part in founding the orchestra. After moving from Chicago, she began her search for musicians to accompany her. In 1979, she started a small ensemble that was offered every other year at Wesleyan College. One year later, she gathered players to start the Buckhannon orchestra. “A big challenge is choosing the music,” she says. “I have to choose something that is both interesting to the audience and to the performer.”
Betty Perry, a violin player, says Patty has been instrumental in keeping music alive and well in Buckhannon. “I’ve been a member of this orchestra since its inception in 1980. Patty, for all these 32 years, has provided music for the area,” she says. “Not only has she provided an opportunity to hear music in the community, she’s provided an opportunity for musicians.”
Patty has many great memories from her more than 30 years directing the orchestra, including playing some original pieces. “We commissioned work by Scott Green in Elkins,” she says. The first piece was called “Buckhannon.” “Later, we commissioned another work by Scott Green, and that was entitled ‘Patience and Persistence,’ dedicated to me.”
As a music instructor, Patty has watched former students develop into professional musicians, including one student who became a string teacher in Morgantown.
The orchestra performs twice a year, in fall and spring.
Find out more at visitbuckhannon.org.