Your hometown orchestra for more than 30 years
The Lee County Community Orchestra Association was incorporated in 1988 and originally sponsored by the Lee County Parks & Recreation Department. The goal from the beginning was to provide free public concerts for Sanford and the surrounding area.
As a volunteer orchestra, LCCO has always relied on a professional music director to choose a repertoire each season, lead rehearsals, and conduct concerts. Harlan Duenow was our first director, followed by Martin Bellar for four seasons, a trio of guest conductors for one, and Jonathan Green for one.
The orchestra then enjoyed the stability of leadership brought by Dr. David Oertel, who led the orchestra for thirteen seasons. During his tenure, the number of concerts and their quality increased. Other significant changes included:
The Lee County Arts & Community Center (now the Mann Center) became the main performance site for the orchestra.
LCCO transitioned from the Ole Mill Crank-up and Kiwanis Park to outdoor performances at Depot Park.
A set of Christmas concerts became a tradition with guest soloists often adding an extra dimension to the programs.
Tara Villa Keith became music director in 2009 and served until 2019. Under her leadership, the orchestra saw an increase in the participation of high school students while continuing to welcome musicians of all ages.
The 2019-20 season welcomed two guest conductors, Vincent Povazsay and Wojciech Milewski, while Villa Keith was on maternity leave. The season came to an unexpected close due to COVID-19 and the March and May concerts were cancelled.
The season also marked the final one for Villa Keith as music director. Among the highlights from her 10-year tenure:
LCCO hosted an Instrument Petting Zoo in Depot Park with the help of Kindermusik with Lauren Winkens and Buchanan's Music.
Sold commemorative bells crafted by North Cole Pottery and used the money raised to commission Illumination, composed by Mark Petering. LCCO then gave the piece its world premiere in 2013.
LCCO staged one of its most highly-attended guest artist concerts in 2016 with Celtic fiddler Jamie Laval. Jamie played for local elementary and middle school students and taught a fiddling master class, too.
Trumpeter William D. Lawing joined LCCO to perform Joe Wolfe's Trumpet Concerto in 2018, the North American premier of the piece.
Tuba soloist Kevin Ward gave the North Carolina premiere of Brian Sadler's Journey for Tuba and Orchestra in 2019.
LCCO ventured outside the concert hall to perform during special events including the Sanford Arts and Vine Festival, Sanford StreetFest, and El Refugio's International Culture Night.
It wasn't all classical music, either. LCCO collaborated multiple times with Sanford's own FOG Blues Band, and performed with the Southern outlaw rock band Cliff Wheeler Band.
For the 2021-22 season, LCCO is led by Musician Director Vincent Povázsay, co-director and conductor of earspace, a contemporary chamber music ensemble based in Raleigh.
For more than 30 years, LCCO has provided local musicians the chance to play together in an ensemble, and our local community the chance to hear wonderful music in a convenient, relaxed atmosphere.
The orchestra is now a membership organization sustained by private donations and an annual grant from the Lee County Arts Council. Please consider joining the LCCO Association and help us keep the music playing!