WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Did you fiddle with the violin in fifth grade? If yes, then this might be the place for you.

The Really Terrible Orchestra of Westchester is a place for all musicians — there are no auditions and all are welcome.

But don’t let the name fool you.

“There are many musicians in this group that are good,” violinist Barbara Rosenthal told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.

Rosenthal founded the group in 2008, saying she was sick and tired of selective amateur outfits.

LINK: The Really Terrible Orchestra of Westchester 

“There’s elitism and the conductor very often wishes that the group were professional, so he pushes them and is unhappy with the way the amateurs are actually playing,” Rosenthal said. “It’s very hard to find a place in your world to play your instrument.”

“Everyone comes here for the love of music,” director Nathaniel Chase said. “There’s so many people who come to the RTO who haven’t played in 40 years and they’re so nervous. But they show up, they sit down and immediately they have a great time. They realize they remember so much more than they thought they did and immediately they start to grow.”

Business consultant Rob Leggat at one time studied trumpet, and decided to pick it back up and join the group.

“Having a place to come, a community to play in, made the biggest difference,” said Leggat. “You have a reason to play.”

Chase challenges his musicians, there are no easy arrangements.

“We play real music, we don’t play arrangements for high school orchestras or for amateur orchestras,” Chase said.

“This is one of the best things I’ve done in my life,” Rosenthal said. “It’s a lot of fun.”


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