The New Bern area sports a vibrant music scene – including high quality musical theatre, excellent choirs, and its very own community band. Now there’s an exciting new group in town – the New Bern Civic Strings. New Bern Civic Strings is a group of string players from New Bern and the surrounding area who just love to play classical music together.
The musical director of the group is Joe Olivieri, retired music educator with more than thirty years of experience. Olivieri has been way too busy to actually retire, though. In addition to New Bern Civic Strings, Joe directs the Craven Community Concert Band and teaches music part time at the Epiphany School in New Bern.
The group does have its sights on a possible full orchestra in the future. “With all the things going on in the arts (in this area), the one thing lacking is an orchestra,” Olivieri said. “Our thoughts are to start up as a string ensemble and augment (with other instruments) when we get to a size where we can start doing some things with a chamber group.”
Pamlico Community resident Becky Ackiss plays string bass with NBCS. She and cello player Bryna Coonin are the organizers.
“Garber (Methodist Church in New Bern) had a community orchestra, but it dissolved in 2004,” Ackiss recalled. “String players really had no place to play together regularly after that. Many times people retire to this area and maybe they played a stringed instrument when they were younger but got busy and put it away. Now is the time to dust off those instruments and join us. There’s nothing better than playing music together.”
Coonin added, “We really want to see more students, too. That’s how you learn to play, really, is by practicing and performing seriously with other musicians. If you’re new in town and can play an instrument come join us! You’ll make new friends of all ages. We have adults and advanced students, ranging in age from fourteen to eighty-two.”
Concert mistress is Rachel Harmatuk Pino, well-known performer and violin teacher in the area.
Rehearsals are on Saturday mornings from 9:00 am -10:45 am in the Founder’s Hall at the Henderson St. campus of the Epiphany School. All competent string players – violin, viola, cello or bass – are welcome. There are no auditions.
The inaugural concert of New Bern Civic Strings is scheduled for Veteran’s Day, Sunday November 11, with a free afternoon performance at Epiphany School’s Henderson campus.
Submitted by: Cello Player and Co-Organizer, Bryna Coonin, New Bern Civic Strings