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Medford RCC campus to get community orchestra in fall

Aspiring concert musicians will like the sound of a new Rogue Community College program making its way to Medford this fall.

The school is debuting a community orchestra at its Riverside campus in Medford, after 20 years of success with a similar program in Grants Pass.

"There are so many musicians who don't have an outlet to play," said Gary Kroll, a Medford resident who leads the Grants Pass orchestra and also will direct the new orchestra. "I think it's about time we give them the opportunity."

The orchestra will be open to advanced high school students and community members, as well as current RCC students looking to earn college credit.

Interested musicians can earn one college credit for $87 plus fees, or join the orchestra for free without a credit.

Two-hour classes will take place Monday nights at the new "C" Building of the Riverside campus in Medford. If enough interest is shown, auditions will be held for popular positions.

"I don't even look at it as a class, it's a rehearsal," said Kroll, who directs about 40 people in the orchestra on the Grants Pass campus.

The students there rehearse for 10 weeks during each RCC term, then put on a public performance.

Kroll began directing the Grants Pass orchestra in 2010 after getting a call from Ted Dollarhide, RCC Music Department chairman.

"It was something I really wanted to do," said Kroll, who plays violin for the Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra.

A professional choir and orchestra conductor for more than 20 years, Kroll teaches private lessons in violin, viola and cello, and occasionally acts as a string coach for the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon.

Kroll said he received a call from Dollarhide this year about adding a separate orchestra in Medford.

"I think it's been on Ted's heart to expand the music program for a while, especially in Medford," Kroll said. "Word is just starting to get out."

Kroll thinks the new addition to the RCC music program will offer an opportunity for musicians to hone their skills without having to pursue a professional career.

"For people in Medford who play instruments, there's no orchestra," Kroll said. "I think there are musicians here who will be interested."

Kroll is reaching out to music directors at local high schools to identify qualified students, and has heard from about a dozen musicians interested in joining the orchestra.

Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or tristow@mailtribune.com.