July 10, 2008

Orchestra Will Play at Unity Moravian

By Lisa O'Donnell, Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.


Jim Basta is bringing the Beatles to Unity Moravian Church.

Basta, the church's music director, will lead the Salem Community Orchestra in a free performance at 7:30 p.m. on July 27.

The performance is part of a summer concert series that the orchestra puts on each year. This year's series also included a performance in June. The final concert will be at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 24.

Each performance will last about an hour.

The theme for this month's performance is "Love in Bloom." It will conclude with an 18-minute piece that pays tribute to the Beatles, Basta said.

The orchestra is made up of between 35 to 40 musicians, many of whom are retired. "They are mostly amateurs who are involved in other fields of work," he said. Among them are a few retired Moravian ministers, business people and a doctor, Basta said.

A native of Milwaukee, Basta played in the U.S. Marine Band from 1956 until 1976, when he retired from the military. During that span, he was the organist for the East Room church services at the White House during Richard Nixon's presidency. He moved to Clemmons from Maryland in 1982 to take a position as director of music at Home Moravian Church at Old Salem. In 1992 he moved on to Mizpah Moravian Church, where he worked as organist and choir director for nine years. He has been at Unity for five years.

Basta started the orchestra in 1983. Most of the musicians are from the Winston-Salem area, although a few travel from places such as Raleigh and Mooresville.

"It's really a recreational group," Basta said. "It's meant for players to have fun playing and learning new music and keeping their skills."

Lisa O'Donnell can be reached at 727-7420 or at lo'[email protected]


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