This is the Montgomery Philharmonic’s sixteenth season — its sixteenth year of existence as an adult all-volunteer community orchestra. It’s a somewhat unusual season, as we’re in the second year of a global pandemic, and musical activities are slowly resuming as people get vaccinated and it is becoming safer to come together in-person again, provided proper precautions are taken.

A community orchestra is an ensemble of adults who volunteer to make music together for the sheer love of it. The Montgomery Philharmonic is based in Montgomery County, Maryland — in suburban Washington DC. The word “Philharmonic” indicates an orchestra which is run by a society of music-lovers. Ours is run by a volunteer Board of Directors which serves as the orchestra’s administrative and governing body.

Most young people who learn to play an instrument in childhood will not choose music as a profession, yet many will want to continue to make music with others once they’ve left school. Still others will take up learning an instrument in adulthood (it’s never too late!). For many of these adults, a community orchestra or community band will be their way of meeting fellow musicians and having the opportunity to play repertoire in an ensemble setting.

While much has been written about professional orchestras, far less has been written about community orchestras — even though there are almost certainly more community orchestras than professional orchestras in the United States, and far more musicians will be members of community orchestras than professional orchestras.

Therefore, our goal with this blog is to tell you more about what it’s like to be part of a community orchestra, how these organizations function, and how we bring music to life. If you’re local to us, we hope it will interest you in joining our orchestra or attending our concerts. For those you who are far away, we hope that it will provide information and inspiration.

Every concert season — and individual concert in that season — starts with planning and preparation. Then there are rehearsals, personal practice sessions at home — and when we can arrange them, masterclasses and coaching from a member of one of the outstanding professional symphonies in our area. In the meantime, we also do our best to gather an audience, so that the eventual performance is well-attended! As this season progresses, this blog will chronicle our journey together.