The Evergreen Chamber Orchestra's mission is to share the gift of live music in an intimate setting with a diverse community of musicians and music lovers.
We promote the appreciation of excellence in orchestral and chamber music through concerts, educational programs for students and adults, volunteer opportunities, and the commissioning and performance of new works.
The Evergreen Chamber Orchestra was formed in 1981 by local musicians (mostly Evergreen and mountain area residents), who had been playing together informally for the previous two years. Dr. William Morse, of Metropolitan State College of Denver, was selected as music director and principal conductor. A Board of Directors was formed from musicians and local business members and the non-profit Evergreen Chamber Orchestra Society was created in 1983. Early rehearsals and concerts were held in a number of local schools and churches, with the orchestra performing at Rockland Community Church for many years. The orchestra quickly attracted a loyal following of enthusiastic supporters from Evergreen and surrounding communities, which is still ongoing today.
The Evergreen Chamber Orchestra has performed continuously in Jefferson County since it was formed. ECO usually presents 8 Masterworks concerts (4 programs) for full orchestra each season. Out of the orchestra's early beginnings came the Recital Series (patterned after similar programs held by the Minneapolis Symphony many years ago). Local residents with homes containing a grand piano offer the use of their homes for the presentation of public recitals by small groups of orchestra musicians. In 2009, we very successfully expanded the recital venues to include the main gallery of the Center for the Arts Evergreen. Recitals are now held at St. Laurence Episcopal Church in Conifer where the congregation has been very welcoming and hosts a reception after each recital for attendees.
The orchestra's Educational Outreach Program began in 1996, when the orchestra presented its first annual Concert for Young Persons. In 2002 we initiated the Mountain Area Orchestra Festival in collaboration with Jefferson County public schools, and we have also worked with Bear Creek High School and the Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra.
We do our utmost to involve the entire community with publicity about our events, auditions, Board of Directors memberships, volunteer positions, and our educational outreach program. Our main purpose is the performance of orchestral and small-group chamber music at a high musical level to appreciative audiences. This has been achieved by William Hill, our highly qualified Music Director who is the principal timpanist and composer of the Colorado Symphony, our concertmaster, and a roster of 35-40 skilled musicians who devote their time and energy to that purpose. Our intent is to engage and retain the best musicians who are interested in the demands and (non-financial) rewards that come with the orchestra's activities. The orchestra's membership has been remarkably stable; the musicians consider it a privilege to play. Every musician in the area is eligible to audition for open or extra positions in the orchestra and participate in the recital series.
Small ensembles of orchestra members regularly perform for schools, retirement homes, and other community groups around the Denver metro area and beyond. Evergreen Chamber Orchestra also performs special events for the community of Jefferson County including holiday concerts, a special performance on the deck of Cactus Jack's in Evergreen, and a sophisticated fundraiser, ECO's annual Jazz Gala, which features the Grammy-nominated band "Bill Hill and Friends".
In April of 2020 the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra began an online series, ECO Musical Moments, which features live-streamed and pre-recorded videos of our fabulous musicians, board members, friends of ECO, and of course our Music Director Bill Hill. ECO Musical Moments are premiered live on our Facebook page on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 pm but can also be found on our website and YouTube page.
The many ways in which ECO inspires our musicians and communities reflects the rapid growth of our organization since William (Bill) Hill became ECO's Music Director in 2014. Bill's multitude of musical talents, and his enthusiasm for the orchestra and the fabulous repertoire we perform, has energized us all and resulted in a major expansion in ECO's programming. Our Board is committed to the continued growth of this fabulous orchestra, and to providing our communities with many opportunities to experience live, high-quality performances of the greatest music of the last five centuries in an atmosphere of informal elegance!
"The Canyon Courier has sponsored the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra proudly for many years and this is what we have found. Investment in and association with an organization that strives to bring vision and artistic wealth into the community is always the right thing. The Evergreen Chamber Orchestra does just that. Their commitment to exceptional musical performance in intimate settings brings live, classical music right into the hearts of the audience, where it belongs. We believe in supporting the efforts of this long-standing organization because we believe wholeheartedly in the value of what they do. As publisher of the Canyon Courier I count it a privilege to work with the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra and look forward to many bright years ahead."
ECO Business Sponsor
Publisher, Evergreen Newspapers
"The Evergreen Chamber Orchestra is one of the brightest highlights of my life. I consider the members of the orchestra dear friends and colleagues, and their commitment to making excellent music and to the success of the organization is an inspiration. Our extended family of Board members, volunteers, supporters, and loyal audience members make my work with the ECO a constant joy, and I'm privileged to participate in this amazing endeavor with all of these dedicated and wonderful people."
ECO Music Director
Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Principal Timpanist and Composer
University of Denver Music Faculty
"ECO has been one of the best things in our lives. We helped start the Orchestra 38 years ago with seven or eight local musicians and have seen it grow to what it is today. With Bill Hill as our Music Director, ECO has improved tremendously. It's a pleasure 'to make music with our friends' and share it with our audiences."
Wanda Beck and Larry Beck
ECO Principal Viola and Principal Oboe
"Having a great musical experience is something that does not happen often in one's lifetime. So, I consider myself fortunate to have been sitting in the third row of one of our local churches on that Sunday afternoon a few years ago to hear ECO play Beethoven's 7th Symphony. I was surrounded and immersed in those wonderful sounds, an experience I will never forget."
ECO Guild Member
"Last summer we found ourselves at Cactus Jack's in Evergreen scrambling to find seats outside in that western bar. We were there to hear ECO perform classical music. After rushing to get our meal and drinks and settle in and I was not paying too much attention to my surroundings. As the wonderful music began to float through the air, I let my eyes wander to the adjacent rushing river. There on the other side, lined up along the fence were folks of all ages amazed at the beautiful music which interrupted their walk. Amazing!"
ECO Guild Member