OLLI Orchestra will perform the world premiere of a Ukrainian folk song on Sunday. Flutist George Husaruk arranged the music just for OLLI Orchestra. He adapted the traditional Ukrainian melody “Life Is a Stormy Sea” because both parents were born in that war-ravished country. “I have lots of relatives living in Ukraine. This is my heartfelt response to the suffering of my family and all Ukrainians.”

OLLI Orchestra, Wayland Whitney Conducting
OLLI Orchestra, Wayland Whitney Conducting

Other music set for performance includes the dramatic and lyrical “The Merry Wives of Windsor Overture” by Otto Nicolai and Schubert’s Symphony No. 8.  Most audiences will recognize “West Side Story, Selections for Orchestra,” written by Leonard Bernstein. Maestro Wayland Whitney included this favorite because “It’s fun to have at least one piece in the program that everyone knows well and probably even loves.”

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Sierra College sponsors the orchestra. The college provides rehearsal and performance space and engages the conductor. After many successful years and a few rough ones, the orchestra has thrived under OLLI.

The musicians who comprise OLLI Orchestra range in age from 15 to 88. More than half the group joined this year, excited to get back to purposeful socializing. Orchestra members who have played together for many years appear charged up as well. “I love seeing all the new faces, and getting to catch up with people I hadn’t seen during our extended break,” said violinist Kim Uchibori.

OLLI Orchestra’s concert takes place Sunday, May 22, at 2 p.m. at Sierra College, Nevada County Campus, 250 Sierra College Rd., Grass Valley, CA 95945. Both the concert and parking are free. Tickets aren’t required. There will be signs posted at the entrance to the college directing visitors to the Multipurpose Room N12.

The one-hour concert will be followed by a reception where cake and cups of iced tea will be served. Vaccination records won’t be checked. Guests who haven’t been vaccinated are asked, but not required, to wear a mask. For more details, visit www.olliorchestra.org