PORT RICHEY - As president and executive director of the Richey Community Orchestra
, Denise Isaacson
schedules its concerts, selects its music, finds its guest soloists, puts new music in its musicians' folders and takes the old out.
Oh, and she
writes and designs its programs, mails out about 300 of its tickets seven times a year, creates its season brochures and designs and prints its tickets.And in her spare time, she serves as music director of a church in Port Richey; board of directors' secretary and entertainment chairman of the Hudson Seafest; and bookkeeper and office manager for husband John "Ike" Isaacson's businesses, Ike's Garage and H and I Maintenance.
34th year as the Richey Community Orchestra
ended its season with a concert Sunday at St. George Greek Orthodox Church
joined, the orchestra was part of the adult education department of the Pasco County School District
and had about 30 members.It had been founded in 1957 as a trio and gradually grew as people heard about it and wanted to join.When its conductor left in 1986 to move to California, Isaacson was elected president of the group.
"I didn't think then it would be a life position," she
Average attendance, Isaacson
said, is about 450.
The orchestra is the only one in Pasco County, Isaacson
said.Its 50 members range from teenagers to octogenarians.Isaacson
is proud of the wide age span."There are not many places you find young people and old people working together to produce a common good," she
is the orchestra's principal clarinetist.She
plays all woodwinds well, however, and often plays several during one performance with touring shows.She
has played as many as eight instruments in one concert.Her greatest mentor was the late Vaughn Bean, who served as conductor of the Richey Community Orchestra from 1987 until 2000.
took me from a little thing playing the clarinet to a professional musician," she
In all, Isaacson
plays about 20 different instruments well.
The concerts have become a family enterprise.Isaacson
met husband John when she
joined the orchestra.John still plays the oboe, as he did when they met, and also serves as production manager.
Their 21-year-old daughter, Mary Beth, helps her
mom with administrative duties, sells tickets on performance nights and recently has developed computer-graphics presentations as a visual accompaniment to some of the concerts, an addition popular with audiences, Isaacson
Performance night makes all those little chores such as mailing out about 1,500 brochures each season with the help of Mary Beth worth it, Isaacson