For 19 – or maybe 20 – years, the Olga Symphony has held its annual pre-holiday concert. Musician Anita Orne can’t quite remember exactly how long it has been, but she is glad that it continues. The quartet will perform along with three friends at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24 at the Orcas Center.
“It grew out of this show that Orcas Center used to have called ‘Holiday Magic,’” said Orne. “It evolved into Olga Symphony and Friends, for years it was just the Olga Symphony, and now it’s Olga Symphony More or Less.”
The Olga Symphony More or Less is comprised of Orne, Melinda Milligan, Gordon Koenig and JP Wittman. They will be joined this year by local musicians Mandy Troxel and Tom Rawson as well as Mel Urbanozo, a Hawaiian ukulele player from Everett.
“The Olga Symphony, since it started in 1983, has always donated everything we make from concerts and cd sales back to the community,” said Orne. “Some years when we were really busy we’d have $10,000–15,000 that we would donate into the community.”
Since its inception, the Olga Symphony has only charged $5 admission to its shows. It has reduced the number of shows performed each year down to this one event, with recent years raising about $2,000 for the Orcas Center annually.
“We’ve been very emphatic about keeping it at $5 a ticket,” said Orne. “We do tend to sell out pretty well.”
The non-symphonic symphony has been rehearsing for the post-Thanksgiving show since August. Both the Olga Symphony and their guests will be performing a variety of songs for the concert, including Hawaiian songs; swing; folk; classic Olga Symphony tunes and, of course, its annual Christmas mash-up.
“It’s really fun to get all the parts put together for it,” said Orne. “It’s going to be a good show.”