The Purcell Mountain Orchestra at the Golden Civic Centre.

The Purcell Mountain Orchestra at the Golden Civic Centre.

Local cellist rediscovered passion with Purcell Mountain Orchestra

The orchestra's first concert of the season will be in December at the Civic Centre and will include Christmas songs.

Jeff Moss studied and played the cello for five years when he was a child. He didn’t play again until he was 55. His rediscovery of his childhood hobby lead him, along with a few other people from around Golden, to form the Purcell Mountain Orchestra. Now, the orchestra is getting set for its eighth year of performances. What started with just a few musicians has grown into a full ensemble of about 30 people of varying abilities.

Moss, a cellist, began playing when he was 10 years old, and continued playing until the age of 15, before he put the instrument down for 40 years. Moss started playing again when his late wife was battling cancer. The former high school teacher took time off in order to care for her. He had wanted to start playing again for a while but never had the time. Surprisingly, the time off didn’t have an affect on his abilities.

“I was amazed…I rented a cello and got a method book and I could [still] play,” Moss said.

Moss’ passion for music was alive again. He started taking some lessons in Banff and soon he began playing with his neighbour in Parson, Judy Malone, who plays the piano. Eventually he also realized that his dentist, Dr. Jeff Dolinsky, was a violinist in his youth. The three of them started playing music together and eventually the trio decided to start an orchestra. Through word of mouth their numbers grew and eventually the orchestra had parts for a variety of instruments including string bass, flute, clarinet and even oboe.

This year the orchestra will have a new conductor, Sue Gould, a pianist with a degree in piano performance. Their first concert of the season will be in December at the Civic Centre and will include Christmas songs as well as a sing-a-long at the end of the performance.

Moss says that anyone is welcome to come out and play with the orchestra.

“To anybody out there, who has ever wanted to play anything, come on out and bring your instrument. It doesn’t matter how good or bad you think you are, there is going to be something there you can play, and it’s really fun,” Moss said.

The orchestra will have two sessions this year, one for the Christmas concert and one for a concert in the spring. Joining the orchestra costs $35 per session and the ensemble practices every Monday at Golden Secondary School. This session’s first practice was on Monday, but Moss says that late comers are more than welcome. To get involved, contact Moss at 250-348-2229 or Gould at 250-344-7112.