Summer Fun in Westchester: The Really Terrible Orchestra

Anyone with an instrument can play with the Really Terrible Orchestra. “For other orchestras, you have to audition, there’s competition, and you have to have a certain level of experience performing in order to play,” says Irvington’s Barbara Rosenthal, who founded the group in Westchester. “With us, it’s just for fun, and there’s no pressure.”

“We get people who would never otherwise risk the rejection—people who played in high school or college and have an instrument in the closet that they haven’t played for years,” says Norman Weiss of the Really Terrible Dixieland Jazz Band, an offshoot he started when he realized there wasn’t a place for his banjo in the orchestra.

Together, the three-year-old Really Terrible Orchestra and the Really Terrible Dixieland Jazz Band perform at venues like farmers’ markets, libraries, and assisted-living facilities throughout the county. And, fortunately, they don’t always live up to their name. “We’re not really terrible,” Weiss admits.

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To sit in with the Orchestra or the Dixieland Jazz Band—”All you need is a pulse and an instrument,” Weiss says—visit The groups practice on alternating Mondays at ArtsWestchester’s Art Exchange in White Plains.



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