About The Orchestra
In the fall of 2011 J. Russell (Russ) Thomas, an Irondequoit music educator, businessman, band conductor, composer, fire chief, and civic leader, decided that Irondequoit needed an Orchestra. At an Irondequoit business expo at the Town Hall, Russ and his daughter, Jennifer Nicoletti, had a booth for Thomas Music, with a signup sheet for string players. The first rehearsal was held in the Dake Junior High School music room on September 28, 2011 with three violins, one viola, one cello, one bass, and a harp! As the Orchestra began to grow the first concert was held on June 6, 2012 at the Irondequoit Public Library. Having a concert in the Irondequoit Library each summer has been the capstone of every year. The Orchestra remained strings-only and played many concerts in the Rochester area. The Orchestra became part of the West Irondequoit Continuing Education Program and has often included student musicians.
Russ’s health declined in 2018 and Tim Thomas (no relation) became our substitute conductor when Russ was not up to attending rehearsals. In April 2019 Russ and his wife Kathy came to rehearsal and Russ emotionally told the Orchestra that he could no longer continue as conductor. Tim conducted the scheduled concerts for the remainder of 2018 and into 2019. Russ passed away on May 20, 2019 from complications following heart surgery. The Orchestra played at the memorial service which was held at Eastridge High School on June 1, 2019, with Tim conducting.
On September 11, 2019 the Orchestra rehearsed for the first time with our new conductor, Evan Meccarello. The Orchestra participated in the annual Irondequoit Community Thanksgiving event under the baton of David Schantz, the Irondequoit Concert Band Conductor, because Evan was not available. Evan’s debut conducting of the Orchestra was on December 16, 2019, in a joint “Joy to the World” concert with the Irondequoit Chorale, under the direction of Eric Trumpowsky.
In 2020, Evan made plans to expand to a full Orchestra and several concerts were scheduled. This came to a halt with COVID-19 and the closing of schools. Evan filled the void by producing eight videos discussing Haydn Symphony No. 100 and Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, to replace our weekly rehearsals from March to May.
During the shutdown from the pandemic, the Orchestra formed an Organizing Committee, wrote Bylaws, elected a Board of Directors, and was incorporated on March 10, 2020, as a New York not for profit corporation, Irondequoit Community Orchestra Inc.
In 2021 the Orchestra obtained rehearsal space in the Irondequoit United Church of Christ during the winter and went outdoors in the Thomas Music Parking lot all summer. Playing outdoors, the orchestra expanded with wind instruments culminating in outdoor Irondequoit concerts in May, Resurrection Lutheran Church, July, I-Square Bandshell, and August, Irondequoit Presbyterian Church. The Orchestra is a course in the West Irondequoit Community Education program and as such we began indoor rehearsals in the Dake Jr. HS music room in the Fall of 2021. Because of COVID-19 restrictions the orchestra is currently only string instruments. A December indoor concert in the Trinity Communion Church was a wonderful way to end 2021 and begin 2022.