Arts & Culture

Even online, ROCA still sharing the magic of music

By Don Fennell

Published 2:06 PDT, Mon August 31, 2020

Last Updated: 2:21 PDT, Tue September 15, 2020

Graham Hope has spent the last eight years giving rise to the power of music.

During that span, Hope has sat on the board of the Richmond Orchestra and Chorus Association (ROCA) as a community representative. His role is to organize concerts in both public and private schools—with the hope of inspiring, among the youth, an understanding and appreciation for classical music. That a student might take up playing an instrument, well, that would be a nice bonus.

During each ROCA concert, a young student of conductor James Malmberg performs a solo. This has been a highlight which has left audiences spellbound, says Hope.

“Until 2020, we visited six schools a year,” he explains. “And once this pandemic is over, we will continue our mission until every school in Richmond has seen our orchestra live.”

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the orchestra and chorus to abruptly end its 2019-20 season in the spring, and organizers don’t expect to be able to host any future concerts for the remainder of this year, they remain committed to sharing their love of music. Specifically, the love of the classics. And they are optimistic about the resumption of concerts in 2021.

ROCA’s Wilson Ng and Brigid Coult stress that the safety and health of its members and patrons is of the highest importance “so we are engaging with them to ensure that regulations are followed, and to explore what may be the best approach to hosting any events.” They look forward to being able to share this wealth of repertoire again with Richmond audiences once the pandemic is under control.

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