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The Fenton Community Orchestra will perform its Christmas concerts Dec. 7 and 8. Here, musicians are pictured at the February 2018 movie tribute concert at Fenton High School.

 The community is invited to enjoy an evening with Fenton Community Orchestra (FCO) and Fenton High School Jazz Orchestra at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8 at Fenton High School.

 The concert will feature a variety of classical and jazz favorites with a flurry of Christmas and holiday songs mixed in and performed by the FCO, Fenton High School Jazz Orchestra, FCO’s Wind Ensemble and FCO’s Simply Strings.

 Selections will include Mozart’s Symphony No. 4 in G Minor, Fantasia on Greensleeves, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, A Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson, and more.

 “We’ve been working on some difficult and fantastic literature,” said FCO Music Director Andy Perkins. “Every year we mix up our selections to offer our audience something familiar and something new.

 “We also have a wonderful relationship between the Fenton High School (FHS) Instrumental Music Program and the FCO, each allowing the other program to expand and support one another. Band students benefit from the educational experience of performing alongside string musicians in an orchestral setting and the FCO is fortunate to be able to use the FHS Ruby Zima Auditorium for our seasonal concerts and the FHS band room for evening rehearsals.”

 “We’re meeting a community need,” said Board Member Eric Szczepanski, who recently rejoined the board and also serves on the City of Fenton Arts and Cultural Commission.

 “I’m in awe of how far this organization has grown since I last served on the board. From 2013-15 our orchestra grew to 70-plus members and our 2015 spring concert was standing room only. That was a great problem to have. We began strategic planning sessions and invited community input to address this need. This led to adding a second night to our concerts.”

 “We knew we needed to expand the organization to support our growing membership and audience,” said Board Chair Kirstin Tesner. “That led to the formation of our Wind Ensemble and Simply Strings in addition to the full-orchestra. Wind Ensemble offers opportunities for wind, brass, and percussion players while Simply Strings gives beginner and intermediate string players the chance to perform and develop their skills.”

 Wind Ensemble is under the direction of Tim Martuch and Simply Strings is under the direction of Jan Ball.

 The Fenton Community Orchestra is supported in part by a grant from the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 To make a donation and learn more about the Fenton Community Orchestra, visit: www.fentoncommunityorchestra.org.

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