MILLBURN, NJ – As the group enters its 40th season, the Metropolitan Orchestra of New Jersey has a new home, one it hopes will better accommodate both orchestra and audience members.
The orchestra will be playing at Hartshorn School in Millburn Township.
The fall concert, “Masters to Visit Millburn,” will be Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m. at the school, located at 400 Hartshorn Drive, Short Hills.
“Our new space couldn’t be better,” said Ed Rummel, one of the orchestra’s co-chairmen. "There are no stairs and no long walk from the parking lot to the building for those who are handicapped.”
“I’m sure it will be successful,” said Rose Feldman, the other co-chairman, of the new venue.
Rummel, a horn player, is primarily responsible for finding the orchestra’s new home. The orchestra played at Community Congregational Church in Short Hills last season, and while the space was comfortable for audience members, the orchestra felt cramped.
Three years ago, when the orchestra decided to move from the JCC MetroWest facility in West Orange, the group tried the Bauer Community Center in Millburn. The overflow crowd convinced organizers that a bigger space was needed.
Rummel said he and Feldman considered a number of venues this summer, including Millburn Middle School, but parking there is limited and the auditorium is not handicap accessible. The leaders also explored Millburn High School, but finding dates when the auditorium was available was difficult.
Feldman, a violinist who has been with the orchestra for all of its 40 years, said she appreciates the reception Millburn residents are giving the group.
“It was meant to be,” she said.
Each year the orchestra’s audience has grown, and board members try to select programs that appeal to pops lovers and families with children.
The all-volunteer orchestra, conducted by Michael Stratechuk, has 45 to 50 players of various ages and is seeking others who want to join. The group practices every Sunday morning.
Sunday’s program will include Rossini’s “Semiramide Overture”; Mozart’s “Violin Concerto No. 5, K. 219,” with guest artist Evelyn Estava, and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92.”
Admission is free.
The orchestra welcomes donations, which are tax-deductible. They should be sent to the Metropolitan Orchestra of New Jersey, P.O. Box 6, Short Hills, NJ 07078-0006.
The orchestra’s other concerts this season will be March 4 and June 2. For more information, go to www.MetropolitanOrchestra.org.