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Really Terrible Orchestra Gets New Conductor; Resolves to Be Less Terrible in 2012

Westchester's RTO enters into its new season with a new leader and new goals.

Westchester’s increasingly popular no-audition-required musical group, or RTO, is poised to enter 2012 with a new conductor, new repertoire and a group that is ever-growing.

The RTO welcomes conductor Nathaniel Chase to its team this January. Though the orchestra is meant for musicians who haven’t played in a while, Chase is far from out of practice. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in double-bass performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and Yale University, respectively, and has achieved international acclaim playing in the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany.

“I was drawn to the RTO because I really love making music, so I love being around people who love making music too,” Chase said. “That’s exactly what the RTO is; a lot of people who love music, love playing it, love learning about it and love listening to it. That’s just the sort of person I want to be around.”

With Chase’s guidance, the orchestra enters its third year ready to tackle a new challenge: Instead of playing classical music rewritten for the high school level, the RTO has chosen to play original scores, in addition to some show music and medleys of popular tunes.

The Really Terrible Dixieland Jazz Band, an arm of the RTO, has also been busy. Their recent trail of activity includes a performance at the Ardsley firehouse for an audience of more than 80 people and a feature on a Scarsdale TV program.

Much like the RTO, the Jazz Band enjoys its growing membership. “I had been trying for years and years to get a Dixieland ensemble started here in Westchester,” said Norm Weiss, the band’s leader. “We started with a banjo, clarinet and an accordion; I couldn’t have imagined it would expand beyond that. We realized happily that, with a little publicity, there were people out there who were interested.”

The jazz band and orchestra are always welcoming new members. They enjoy their status as a community institution and feel like a little community themselves. “We’re a very happy group,” said Barbara Rosenthal, the orchestra's founder, ”A happy family.”

Chase shares the same sentiment, and encourages anyone interested to join in on the fun. “I want to get the word out to every person in Westchester who plays an instrument, wants to play in an orchestra and doesn’t feel like they’re good enough to play in one, that they can come to an RTO rehearsal, have a great time and realize they’re able to do a lot more than they thought,” Chase said.

For more information on joining and upcoming performances check out: www.Meetup.com/RTOWestchester, the orchestra's Web site here, or call Barbara Rosenthal at 914-582-9096.

Lizzie Hedrick January 09, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Thanks, Paul. It really is a cool idea and a great activity. I keep getting tempted to re-string my viola...but I'm not entirely sure where it is.
joy January 09, 2012 at 01:56 PM
What a great idea!
Les Krasnogor January 09, 2012 at 03:03 PM
We are all looking forward to playing under the baton of our new conductor Nate Chase. The RTO experience will be greatly enhanced by his musical skills as well as by the insights into orchestral music and ensemble playing that this highly educated and talented classical musician will be teaching us. Come join the fun. I hadn't played my clarinet in 50 years and now I'm back to the joy of making music with a truly nice group of like-minded people. Les Krasnogor RTOW
Marc Ferris January 10, 2012 at 05:22 AM
That's the spirit. Keep on jamming!
Steve Miller January 15, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Hi Nate, Congrats on your new position. Get in touch w me if you'd like. Your mom fwd me the link to you and RTO. I'm from LKC and I met you on a visit to Denver when you were a litlle boy. Steve Steve Miller FrogHollow PO Box 99 Waccabuc NY 10597-0099 home 914 763-3078 (7 AM to 10 PM pls) cell 914 539-1352 (24/7 - reception is erratic in N Westchester) If no answer, lv messages & your # at both mine. I'll call you back. More about my dogs & me: www.karriaussies.com

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