Chamber orchestra takes the stage today

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— Having practiced since the beginning of September, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Orchestra is ready to perform for a fall concert tonight and Sunday.

A river theme runs through the program, chosen by conductor William Burkhart, for the beginning of the chamber orchestra's 10th anniversary season.

Mary Beth Norris, principal flutist, said she thinks the Mozart quartet is a beautiful piece. It features Teresa Steffen on violin, Anna Marie Ortega on viola, Bruce Dean on cello and Norris on flute.

"It's well-known in the chamber music world," Norris said of the piece with three movements. "It's quite an honor to perform this piece. It's just delightful."

Up first on the program is Overture to Iphigenia in Aulis by Christoph Willibald Gluck followed by Brook Green Suite by Gustav Holst, Symphony No. 3 by Gustav Mahler, Quartet in D, K. 285 for Flute, Violin, Viola and Cello by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and ending with On the Beautiful Blue Danube Waltzes, op. 314 by Johann Strauss Jr.

Jan van Straaten, chamber orchestra board president, said the 10th season will present some unique concerts for the public to attend. Handel's Messiah is Dec. 7 and 8, a Valentine Soiree is Feb. 14 and a 10th anniversary concert is March 30 and 31.

"That's really where our focus is right now. The 10th anniversary is pretty special," Norris said.

However, today and Sunday's performances will include a horn section for the first couple of pieces that will give the concert a special sound, van Straaten said.

Norris, founder of Norris Flute Studio, said she's playing in all featured pieces of the concert.

The chamber orchestra consists of 40 volunteers of all walks of life that help provide three concerts a year. Burkhart, who drove from Boulder every Sunday through September and October to rehearse with performers in the Yampa Valley, holds a doctorate in conducting from the University of Colorado School of Music and studied at the Academy of Music in Vienna, Austria.

"That's quite a commitment to the orchestra," van Straaten said.

Although it's unusual for a town the size of Steamboat to have a chamber orchestra, it's especially unique that a chamber orchestra has survived for the past 10 years and is well-received by the community more and more every year, she said.

The chamber orchestra's mission is to provide music to residents and visitors of Northwest Colorado through community outreach, musician development and music education for youth.

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