Revel in the joy of listening to classical music outdoors with the sounds of “Music on the Land,” put on by two rather disparate organizations: the North Coast Land Conservancy and the North Coast Chamber Orchestra.
It’s part of the Conservancy’s summer-long 15th anniversary celebration of its Circle Creek Conservation Center in Seaside. The orchestra performs at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at the Circle Creek Barn.
In partnering with the NCLC, the orchestra has put together a program of outdoor-themed pastoral music from the 18th and 20th centuries including the 2nd “Pastoral” movement from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 as well as his “Moonlight Sonata,” Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” Copland’s “Outdoor Overture,” Ciurlionis’s “In the Forest” symphonic poem as well as pieces by Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn.
The orchestra is led by Conductor Cory Pederson.
Pederson teaches music at Jewell School and is an instructor of brass, woodwinds and percussion for the Astoria Conservatory of Music in addition to conducting the Columbia River Symphony and the Little Ballet Theatre’s “Nutcracker” Orchestra. Pederson is also a trumpeter and percussionist.
The orchestra recently performed its “Spring Voices” program at the Astoria Elks Lodge #180 with the Neah-Kah-Nie High School Choir.
Pederson admits that selecting the music for the concert was a big job. He spent many hours listening to music, he said.
“Dealing with instrumentation was a struggle as well,” Pederson recalls. How many violas would be needed? How many French horns? When the logistics of hauling a piano to the barn was too difficult a keyboard was substituted. The weather is a worry, too. Moisture (should it rain) wreaks havoc with stringed instruments.
The orchestra, which is the current performing ensemble of the North Oregon Coast Symphony, is an all-volunteer ensemble of musicians and seeks to expose local audiences to live classical music. “Just close your eyes and listen,” Pederson said.
The orchestra also performs at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 16, at St. Catherine of Alexandria Episcopal Church in Nehalem.
Renovating the barn
Volunteers have cleaned and gutted the barn, arranged for updated lighting, and turned it into a rustic venue for conservancy events.
The barn is a left over from when the property was a dairy farm. The barn is also a gateway for two nature trails: Legacy Loop and Wetlands Walk. A large herd of elk often frequents the property. The public can walk the trails daily from dawn to dusk, unless otherwise posted.
The conservancy purchased the former dairy farm and cattle ranch at the foot of Tillamook Head in 2014 and began the slow process of restoring its once-forested floodplain.
Since 1986, the conservancy’s mission has been to conserve land for wildlife and to protect the habitat.
“The organizational focus is on stewardship actions that have conservation at their core,” Executive Director Katie Volke said.
Typical projects include land acquisition, facilitating habitat development or participating in outreach programs within the community.
“Our feet remain firmly rooted to the land as we look ahead to our goal — a fully functioning coastal landscape where healthy communities of people, plants and wildlife all thrive,” Volke said.