OLLI’s most recent concert last December caused a problem for Sierra College. Too many people came! “OLLI’s concerts in recent years have been packed, but this was the first time folks had to stand in the aisles,” says Britta Tigan, marketing volunteer. “Sure, it’s free. However, classical music scares, or even bores, some people.”

“Classical music creates drama, suspense, excitement, romance and even silliness when used in films, tv, ads or cartoons. It’s likely someone attending an OLLI concert for the first time will recognize the music,” she adds.

OLLI Orchestra rehearsal

Founded in 1978 by two woodwind players, OLLI Orchestra musicians show up every Monday night, through this awful winter weather, to rehearse. Plus, Sierra College’s Osher Livelong Learning Institute (OLLI) requires that they pay about $100 per year to join.

“Typically the setting for community orchestras is more relaxed, parking is free, and the audience attire is more casual. The experience can be more intimate,” wrote Ann Meier Baker, National Endowment for the Arts Director of Music & Opera. “The quality of playing today in many groups is quite high, and community orchestras often display a special sense of joy and love for the music, which is recognized by the audience.”

“Wayland Whitney, the conductor, has attracted new members, allowing the group to grow and mature together,” explains Tigan. “He doesn’t demand that all the notes are played as long as it’s fast enough.”

Whitney takes his music seriously and yet entertains the musicians and the audience. “OLLI musicians love him!”

OLLI Orchestra’s concert on May 7, “Mozart, Mason and More,” presents classical music composed by young prodigies and introduces composer Quinn Mason to Nevada County. Born 240 years after Mozart, Mason is just 27 years old. He has accomplished much in his musical career. Several prestigious orchestras in the U.S. have performed his work.

Quinn has been described as “a brilliant composer just barely in his 20s who seems to make waves wherever he goes.” Texas Monthly wrote, “One of the most sought after young composers in the country.”

Mason’s work, “Petite Symphonie de Chambre Contemporaine (après Milhaud)” will open the program.

The concert includes two pieces by Mozart: the heady Symphony No. 40 and comical “Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio.” OLLI will perform “Belshazzar’s Feast” by Finnish Jean Sibelius and “Overture to Il Signor Bruschino” by Gioachino Rossini.

OLLI Orchestra’s concert “Mozart, Mason & More” concert starts at 2 p.m. at Sierra College in Grass Valley on May 7.  Parking is free and there will be signs at the college entrance pointing to the Multipurpose Room N12.

Although the concert is free, OLLI requires you sign up for tickets on EventBrite.

“We’ll add rows of seats and open up the dress rehearsal on Friday for friends and families of musicians,” says Tigan. “We’ll check tickets and also have a will-call list for folks that can’t print or save them on their phones.”

Register for FREE Tickets to OLLI’s May 7 Concert

Sierra College, Nevada County Campus, 250 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley, CA 95945

Follow signs to MultiPurpose Room. ​ Free Parking

Please visit our website for more details including a parking map.