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Heart of Texas orchestra back on beat with Christmas performance

Heart of Texas Community Orchestra conductor Keenan Fletcher directs the 10 members of the ‘Corelli Strings’ segment of the orchestra during practice Nov. 30 at Kingsland Community Church. The orchestra is playing a concert 2 p.m. Dec. 14 at the LanTex Theater in Llano. Staff photo by Jared Fields

JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF

KINGSLAND — It’s been a few years since the Hill Country has heard an orchestra.

That changes Dec. 14.

“We wanted to get things back together orchestrally. We have new people and decided to form a new group,” conductor Keenan Fletcher said.

The Heart of Texas Community Orchestra will perform a Christmas concert at 2 p.m. Dec. 14 at the LanTex Theater, 113 W. Main St. in Llano.

Admission is free; however, donations are welcome.

There will be sing-along carols, holiday pops and the overture from Handel’s “Messiah.”

“We want to play and bring the joy of good, classical music to the Texas Hill Country,” Fletcher said.

About 40 members make up the community orchestra, and they range in age and skill.

“The minute they can play the first carol, they’re allowed to be in the community orchestra,” Fletcher said. “The fairly beginning to the very advanced.”

Fletcher’s enthusiasm comes from sharing her passion with the area.

“That’s the thing that I love about a community orchestra. It’s a true community. You find kids playing alongside a 70-something-year-old man. Wives next to their husbands,” she said. “It’s really cool. And everybody in between.”

One such member, Mary Jane Avery, has been taking cello lessons for three years.

“My husband is a violinist, who also plays many instruments,” Avery said. “When we knew we were going to retire here, I wanted to learn to play cello so we could play duets together.”

The two actually assisted the orchestra by helping to order music.

“The first performance as this group together is going to be at Fuel (Coffee House) in Llano,” Avery said.

Only about a dozen instruments can fit in Fuel Coffee House, 106 E. Main St. The group will play pop songs and Christmas carols as a sort of hors d’oeuvre 7 p.m. Dec. 13 before the big performance.

Anyone else in the community interested in auditioning for the orchestra may email Fletcher at keenankfletcher@gmail.com.

“A spring concert is planned and music is under way,” Fletcher said. “We should be performing a nice April concert.”

jared@thepicayune.com