July 2020


A lot has happened since we published our last newsletter, beginning with the abrupt cancellation in March of rehearsals and the April concert due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Almost as quickly as that decision was made we regrouped to form an ECOC Virtual Choir with current and former members of the chorus and orchestra.  In May, two graduating high school students received the ECOC scholarship, three new members joined the ECOC Board, and we said goodbye to two key members of the organization who have begun a new phase of life.  Read on.  We have a lot of catching up to do and the coming fall to look forward to.

Thanks to our 2019 - 2020 sponsors!

Thanks to these local businesses and individuals who made our last season possible.  We could not have joined together to make music and spread joy in the community without their generous financial support. 

Legacy of Becky Olson

With a degree in music education, Becky Olson has always embraced musical opportunities for herself and her family, and in many cases has taken the initiative to make them happen.  In 1982, her two youngest children took violin lessons from a private teacher who came up to Evanston from Utah.  Two years later, when Karl Klimek and his wife Karen moved to town and started the Evanston Civic Orchestra with help from Denice Wheeler, Becky pulled out her flute and joined in.  But they didn’t really need flute players.  They needed string players.  So Becky took a few violin lessons from Karen and became part of the solution.  However, despite three great directors over the next five years, the orchestra still struggled to survive with so few string players, and it disbanded in 1989.

In 2000, when Carolee Bowen brought the Murray Symphony to Evanston to perform Handel’s Messiah, orchestra yearnings again surfaced in the community.  A few locals joined in the performance, which became the catalyst for not only the reemergence of the Evanston Civic Orchestra, but also strings programs to train students.  Becky was involved from the start. 

In Fall 2001, Becky and Heather VanDyke started an after school beginning strings class.  Soon after, feeling that a local orchestra could not succeed in Evanston unless there was a good school strings program feeding it, Becky petitioned the school board to begin a program.  They encouraged her to work with Uinta BOCES #1, who in 2004 hired Lynn Lundstrom to begin an after school strings program and a community orchestra.  Becky became the president of the Evanston String Advisory Council, which morphed into the Evanston Civic Orchestra Board.  She was president until 2014 and then again from 2018 – 2020.  During this time, Becky continued to improve as a violinist and eventually switched to viola to fill a need. 

Becky continued to work behind the scenes to get the strings program in the schools where more students could participate.  In 2006, UCSD#1 hired the district’s first strings teacher since 1947 to teach elementary strings.  This program included more than 100 students in the four elementary schools combined.  One of Becky’s favorite memories was seeing all those students playing together on the EHS stage.  Eventually the school district settled on a strings program for just middle school and high school students.  After this transition, it wasn’t long before the after school strings program supported by BOCES was phased out due to the success of the in school strings program.  However, BOCES continued to be a foundational support to the Evanston Civic Orchestra and eventually the Evanston Civic Chorus when it joined the organization in 2012.  The growth of both the orchestra and the chorus has been steady ever since.

The driving force behind Becky’s hard work and commitment was “a desire for the community and students to have a strings program and an orchestra program equal to any in the country!”  She is grateful for the support she has had in great board members and music teachers, excited community members, and her family, especially her husband Gilbert.  She feels the work has been “well worth the effort, and there are good hands to leave it in!  I look forward to seeing it grow.”

Becky’s greatest enjoyment in playing with the orchestra has come from the biennial performances of Handel’s Messiah, and she feels that each year they improve.  “Great music is always inspired by God, who I give all credit to.  Any success that I have had is because of Him.”

While Becky is enjoying a much-deserved retirement from leadership in the Evanston Civic Orchestra and Chorus, she still hopes to participate as she is able to.  Thank you, Becky, for your vision of a great orchestra in Evanston and your dedication to making it happen.

Nathan Baxter

Nate - Thank you for sharing your passion for choral music with the Evanston Civic Chorus and our community these last couple of years.  We have grown musically in many ways under your leadership.  We are excited for the opportunities you will have in your new job.  You will be busy!  The students in Mountain View are lucky to have a director who cares not only about the music but about them personally.  You have a gift for connecting with people.  We will miss you in the Chorus and hope to see you and your family around town.

Scholarship Winners!

Scholarship recipients Joseph Maisey and Immanuel Lange with former ECOC president, Becky Olson.
Note:  Board member Jo Anne Keeffer wrote this article in May.

The Evanston Civic Orchestra and Chorus (ECOC) awarded its annual scholarship to Immanuel Lange and Joseph Maisey.  The scholarship is given to students based on their participation in the ECOC, involvement in community or school music programs, and musical community service. 


Immanuel Lange’s formal Involvement with music began by starting violin lessons at age five.  When he decided to quit violin two years later, his mother “strongly encouraged” him to learn to play piano.  She continued to encourage him through eight years of piano lessons.  When he turned 15 and felt old enough to choose whether or not to continue his music lessons, he found himself “unable to imagine life without that discipline.”  At that point he focused on singing—something he has done “passionately” for most of his life.  He eventually found a teacher who became both a friend and a source of inspiration. 


Immanuel participated in MAT Camp (2009-2012, 2016, 2019 ), the Young Musicians Festival (2007 to present), and the Sagebrush Theatre (2017-17).  He joined the ECOC in 2016 and has performed in six concerts.  He will graduate from the Seton Home Study School, an accredited Catholic school based in Front Royal, Virginia.  After graduation, he plans to attend either Western Wyoming Community College or Utah State University.  Immanuel is the son of Jonathan and April Lange. 


Joseph Maisey thrives on “the excitement of learning, creating, and performing music.”  He plays cello, piano, and percussion instruments and also sings.  While learning to play these instruments, he discovered the value of “practicing conscientiously and deliberately.”  He says learning music theory increased his creativity, and knowing a little jazz theory made playing the cello more fun. 


He participated in MAT Camp (2009-2019), the Young Musicians Festival (2012-2019), All-State Orchestra (2017-20), and the Southwest District Festival as a soloist (2018-2019).  In addition, he sang with the Wyoming ACDA All-State Children’s Honor Choir (2014).  He joined the ECOC in 2015 and has participated in 14 performances.  Joseph is homeschooled and enrolled in Evanston High School music classes, including Wind Ensemble, Strings, and Vocal Jazz.  After graduation, he plans to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before going to college.  No matter where life takes him, he intends to "continue the legacy of my teachers and continue to experience excitement in musical learning, creativity, and performance."  Joseph is the son of Glen and Sara Maisey.

ECOC Music Director

Dr. Matthew Mainella will continue as ECO Music Director this fall.  In addition, with the necessity of focusing on streamlined and cautious programming, he will also fill the role of Acting ECC Music Director while we navigate the uncertainty of this upcoming session.   BIOGRAPHY

While working on his doctoral degree in instrumental conducting at the University of Utah, Dr. Mainella chose his related field as choral conducting and studied with Dr. Barlow Bradford, Utah Symphony Chorus Director.  Dr. Mainella is looking forward to working with both orchestra and chorus members this fall.


ECOC Board and Advisors

Welcome to our newest board members: Becca Haack, Jo Anne Keeffer, and Maia Farrens.  With Becky Olson's retirement from ECOC leadership, Sara Maisey was recently voted in as president.  Thanks to all board members and the advisors for sharing their time and talents with ECOC.

ECOC Virtual Choir - Spring 2020
Enjoy this virtual choir performance of "If Ye Love Me," by 16th Century English composer Thomas Tallis.  Current and former members of the Evanston Civic Chorus and the Evanston Civic Orchestra, along with several family members, participated in this virtual choir during the spring of 2020 when the world shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Performers filmed from their homes in Wyoming, Utah, Illinois, and California.  We hope this video will bring joy and peace to our community and the whole world.
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