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as "Oh Happy Day," and "Viva Tirado." "Are they playing Beethoven's Fifth? No, they're playing a fifth of Beethoven," he said with a laugh. "We could play George Benson's Breezin,' and that's a technical piece, using the two note theory, a formula in which they learn to play from one note to the second note any two notes," said Cockrell, who came up with the theory. Orchestra members audition but do not have to know how to play an instrument. They just have to know how to play those two notes. "We take it from there and as they advance, we have volunteer tutors for them," Cockrell says. "I started investigating the impact of music on people, focusing on different cultures rather than styles of music. I was able to understand the cultures and teach them to play the music they wanted to play. "By doing it that way, it served a greater purpose than if they only played classical music or jazz or certain other kinds of music. "If you want to bring the cultures together, you have to mix the music. And if you mix the music, then you're going to bring an understanding of the other cultures. Your community, then, begins to knit." For the past year, Cockrell and Cooper have been going to the schools, laying the groundwork to offer the program in communities. "We've seen changes in our young people," Cooper said. "Their grades are up music disciplines the children." Cockrell, who is also the organist and accompanist at Emanuel Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal in Victorville, hopes to expand the program to all schools in San Bernardino County. Oct. 2 at the Civic Center in Victorville. For more information about the orchestra, call Catherine Cooper at 760 580 6594.
Conductor forms unlikely group of musicians
Key of Life Community Family Orchestra mixes ethnicities and ages. There is no cost to join and no cost to see their concerts. The size of the orchestra ranges from 25 to 60 members, and they rehearse in churches, community and senior centers. Since its inception in July 2009, the orchestra has performed on demand throughout San Bernardino County, including the High Desert Black Heritage Society's Martin Luther King Jr. Omega Watch Antique Celebration at Victor Valley College, Loma Linda Proton Cancer Patients' event at Loma Linda Springs Senior Complex, the San Bernardino County Fair in Victorville and Molina Community Champions Dinner in San Bernardino. Programs may include gospel music and favorites such Omega Seamaster 007 Watch
Don't tell Willie Cockrell it's impossible to form an orchestra with homeless people. The veteran conductor knows better. Cockrell directs Music is the Key of Life Community Family Orchestra, an ensemble of disadvantaged musicians. "For this orchestra, we are targeting the at risk and underserved in the community people without hope," he said. Cockrell, 67, of San Bernardino, has more than 30 years at the podium. Catherine Cooper, the executive director of the nonprofit community orchestra program, said, "People were saying You're crazy it's not going to happen.' "I've got news," she said. "It's happening." The orchestra was developed to serve at risk youths and their families. "I've always worked with people who are not classically trained," said Cockrell, who has bachelor's and master's degrees in music and an honorary doctorate in music performance. Cockrell has been collecting musical instruments throughout his career and loans the instruments to orchestra members. Music is Omega Seamaster Professional 300m Blue
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