The Bijou Orchestra Live and in Concert

at The State Theatre

Sponsored by: Tri-Star Trust Bank , Tom and Kathy Markus and Dow Chemical

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The Bijou Orchestra

"The Bijou Orchestra was established in 2003 to be Bay Countys first professional performing organization. The founders wanted an ensemble unique in the Great Lakes Bay Regions so that community would have an individual artistic identity that would contribute to community self-esteem, enhance educational opportunities in the arts for people of all ages, and support cultural tourism in Bay County. At the same time, their ultimate goal was to create a professional touring orchestra capable of performing on a regional and ultimately, national level.

The thirteen-piece Bijou is modeled on the orchestras found in American theaters in the first part of the 20th century and is the only ensemble of its kind in the country. Their core repertoire is composed of the thousands of arrangements that were created between 1890 and 1935 for use by the pit bands of legit, vaudeville and silent movie theaters across the country. In addition to the classics, there is an immense catalog of American popular music that begins with the marches of Sousa and Pryor, extending through Ragtime, the songs and dances of Tin Pan Alley, and jazz.

Exceptional musicians are required to play this music well. These musicians travel from many places in order to practice this highly difficult musical form. While most of them have extensive professional orchestral experience, such capabilities are only part of what the job requires. Virtually every Bijou concert includes music from the classical, ragtime and early jazz eras, all performed from original orchestrations. Then, depending on the program, players will be asked to perform repertoire appropriate to the theme which means everything from Baroque to Klezmer to Europop and even country. And they do them all well. It is this stylistic versatility coupled with technical virtuosity that makes a successful member of The Bijou."



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