Chance to Play with the Omaha Symphony


August 8th, 2017

Photo courtesy of Omaha Performing Arts

Omaha, NE—Omaha Performing Arts and Omaha Symphony are experimenting with a new event, the Rusty Musician Experience. Amateur musicians will be given a chance to play alongside members of the Omaha symphony. After registering and obtaining a seat, local musicians will play in open rehearsals of Tchaikovsky’s “Marche Slave”, John Williams’ “Superman Theme” and Holst’s “Suite No. 1 in Eb Major.”

The rehearsals will be conducted by Assisting Conductor of the Omaha Symphony, Enrico Lopez Yañez, who explained that this experience won’t be much different than the real thing.

“The experience will be really exciting,” Yañez said. “They get to arrive at the hall, sit next to members of the orchestra. It will be an open rehearsal, which means you can bring your friends and family and they can sit in the auditorium and watch the entire process. We’ll work through the pieces first and then of course at the end of the rehearsal perform them for whoever you may have brought into the concert hall to watch you perform side by side with the Omaha symphony. And it’ll be like any rehearsal that we would have for another concert program, so you can really get that experience of what is it like for a professional musician to rehearse and prepare a piece and then get to perform it for their audience that’s there.”

The only requirements for the Rusty Musician Experience: 16 years of age, read music and have an instrument featured in the arrangement. All experience levels are welcome, so there’s no reason to be timid, explained Dominic Green, Community Engagement Manager at Omaha Performing Arts.

“The community members that we’ve talked to, they’re just gung ho,” Green said. “They’ve been waiting for an experience like this. They’ve always dreamed about playing side by side with the symphony members. People of all ages from 16 through a couple of that I know that are in their 80s, and so there’s been a dream that they’ve wanted to have and it’s coming true for them.”

The Rusty Musician Experience offers aspiring musicians and longtime hobbyists a chance to connect with the symphony, but also a valuable experience for symphony members.

“I think it’s great because it’s a learning experience for both parties,” Yañez said. “It’s not just the amateur musicians that are getting something from this event, but actually the professional musicians as well. It’s building community, it’s building interest in the arts, and thankfully, we have musicians that love to collaborate and love to go out into the community and perform with high school students, perform with professional musicians. They teach, and it’s a great opportunity for them to share their love for their instrument with somebody in the community who may have been watching them perform now for twenty or more years, you know, just sitting in the hall. So now they get to share that passion on a close level which is really exciting.”

Omaha Performing Arts has had 140 registrations, so unfortunately some seats are filled, including flutes, clarinets, trumpets and tenor trombones. You’re in luck, however, playing strings, oboes, bassoons, French horns, bass trombones, piccolos and saxophones.

Registration for the Rusty Musician Experience ends August 15. Registered musicians will receive confirmation and sheet music by the 17th. Open rehearsals will be on September 24. To register, visit


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