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February 21, 2013
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Orchestra to honor former members at Sierra College

The Osher Lifelong Learning College Orchestra at Sierra College will play a series of songs in dedication to the passing of Florence Armour and Jerry Foote, longtime community and orchestra members.

“We are a community-based orchestra with about 40 to 50 people and what I think is special about our orchestra is that there’s a lot of older people in the orchestra, many have had gaps in their playing, and we can come back to the orchestra and find our way again,” said Lucy Sloate, viola player.

The concert was originally set to take place in December, but was canceled due to flooding of the multi-purpose room.

The two memorialized players passed away since that time.

“Since that December concert that was canceled, two of our beloved elders have passed away and our conductor Steve Miller composed a beautiful piece in memory for them and the families have been invited to come,” Sloate said.

The songs include “Egmont Overture” by Ludwig van Beethoven, “Danze Piemontesi” by Leone Sinigaglia, “Symphony No. 8 in G Major” by Antonín Dvorák, and “My Soul He Refreshes,” an original piece by conductor Stephen Miller.

The orchestra is part of the Osher Lifelong Learning program through Sierra College, Miller said.

“You have to apply to Sierra College. Very few are actually full-time students. You can’t get credit for playing in this orchestra, and new costs made it $100 a year to play,” Miller said. “This offers an opportunity to develop their skills, not only individual, but to play successfully in a group situation.”

The classical music the orchestra plays is not reserved only for the elder population, as younger students participate as well.

“I love that I can play lots of different styles of music,” said Era Smith, 18, who has played with the orchestra for a year. “I like having challenging music. I just like music in general. It’s relaxing.”

Armour, a cellist, and Foote, an oboe player, were passionate and involved assets to the group, orchestra members said.

“I was very, very close to both of them, but especially Florence,” said Sloate, who played leisurely in a small musical chamber group with Armour.

“I knew her about eight years and she was a dynamo woman, really strong, filled with purpose and a great teacher and musician. She would come once a week and we would have coffee and talk about family, whatever, and play music.”

The performance will take place 7:30 p.m. in room N12, the multipurpose room, at the Nevada County Sierra College campus at 250 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley.

The concert is dedicated to the memory of Armour and Foote.

“These were fine, fine human beings, she died at 91 and he was 84, 85,” Sloate said. “They lived long, rich, wonderful lives, so we’re just saying goodbye to them.”

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call 530-477-4230.

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The Union Updated Dec 29, 2013 08:17PM Published Feb 21, 2013 01:43PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.