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Four Years Later, Orchestra Still Going Strong

PCC Symphony Orchestra Fall Concert Commercial

Conductor Larry Spell prepares for a concert.WINTERVILLE—For three years in high school, Larry Spell sought the role of drum major. But when that didn’t turn out, he decided to take the advice of a teacher and tried his hand at conducting. It turned out to be a perfect fit.

When the PCC Symphony Orchestra performs its next concert Oct. 11, Spell, who earned a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from East Carolina University, will be front and center. He’ll be guiding more than 60 musicians as they perform Haydn’s Symphony No. 100 and a pair of movements from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

Four years ago, Spell helped start the orchestra as a way to give community musicians and PCC students wanting to continue their musical endeavors a chance to keep playing. Today, the orchestra features a diverse group of musicians ranging from PCC students who are just out of high school to retirees.

“Our motto is that the orchestra is for our community,” Spell said. “This is an orchestra where we try to bring in people from all walks of life.”

PCC students in the orchestra have signed up for the college’s Orchestra I course for college credit. Everyone else playing has signed up through the college’s continuing education division. All members had to contact Spell first in order to join the orchestra.

Spell said the best way for the community to support PCC’s orchestra is to attend concerts. While no one in the group is paid, he said, the orchestra must still cover the costs of renting space to practice and to occasionally purchase equipment.

“All of the musicians are doing this for free; they’re donating their time,” Spell said. “So, our costs are really low, but we still have expenses to cover to make sure the orchestra is still around.

"We are very frugal with our money, and the money (people) donate goes a long way to support our program.”

Spell said he has started a “Friends of the Orchestra” campaign for those wanting to contribute financially. There are various monetary levels of giving and all donors are listed in the orchestra’s concert programs, he said, adding that those who give more than $50 will receive a CD of an earlier PCC orchestra performance.

This month’s concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Faith Assembly of God Church on Corey Road in Winterville. Tickets are $7 each and can be purchased in advance or at the door.

For ticket information, call (252) 493-7789, or e-mail Spell at lspell@email.pittcc.edu.