Our History

Roger Wecker September 2008 - June 2015 

White Rock Community Orchestra was fortunate to have had Roger Wecker as its conductor from 2008 through June, 2015.

Having received a music scholarship, he graduated in music from Pepperdine University in 1971, and it was there that his interest in conducting began.

He has conducted:

 

  • North Shore Community Chorus

  • North Shore Light Operatic Society

  • Greater Vancouver Operatic Society

  • Elgar Strings in Burnaby

  • White Rock Community Orchestra

Roger has an enthusiastic and professional approach based on 32 years of teaching music throughout the North Vancouver Public Schools.

After retirement from teaching music full time, he continued with his passion by becoming involved in community musical events by accompanying singers, playing organ for churches, and conducting orchestras.

As well, Roger has been teaching music through Long & McQuade several days a week in Surrey and Port Coquitlam, continuing to bring the joy of music to students by teaching violin, viola, and cello.

PaulWalker.jpg

Mr. Stuart Martin  September 2015 - June 2016 

Before moving to Chicago, to pursue his Master’s Degree in Music at the University of Illinois,  Stuart conducted the orchestra for the 2015 - 2016 concert season.

As both conductor and pianist, Stuart received his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of British Columbia under the tutelage of Dr. Terrance Dawson in piano, and Dr. Robert Taylor for conducting. 

In his last year, he was Assistant Conductor of The UBC Concert Winds. 

Stuart has also been student of Dr. Mark Shapiro at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France.

In 2013, Stuart was the assistant conductor for Opera NUOVA’s “Don Giovanni”, and an assistant conductor at Accademia Europea Dell'Opera (AEDO) for “La Bohème”. 

During his time at NUOVA and AEDO he met Jessica Derventzis, and together they created Stu&Jess Productions, a chamber opera company. For their inaugural season, they produced Menotti’s “The Medium” and Bizet’s “Le Docteur Miracle” in Montreal. Just recently, they produced Ravel’s “L’Heure Espangole.” They also commissioned and premiered a new opera, “La Gioconda”, in which Stuart wrote the libretto and another NUOVA alumni, Pasquale D’Alessio, composed the music.

Paula DeWit  2016  - Present day

The orchestra's current Music Director  (see Paula's Bio page). During Maestra  DeWit's tenure the orchestra has gone through a transitional phase  building its repertoire and reputation in the community. 

Name change  to White Rock City Orchestra

In February 2020 the membership of the orchestra voted unanimously for a name change to White Rock City Orchestra. 

Gladys and Frank Muir were the original founders of the orchestra in the early 1970’s when the name was  The Silver Comets. The original orchestra consisted of about ten members, and played at the newly opened Kent Seniors Activity Centre. Gladys was the orchestra’s pianist until retiring from the keyboard in her early 90’s. She also directed the White Rock Singers, who performed with the orchestra.

Our Past Conductors

Tom Carroll worked with the Muirs, and helped conduct during the early years. 

 

William Gratch conducted his first concert in December 1973, when the name was changed to  The Kent Centre Activity Orchestra. Mr. Gratch passed away in September, 1980. He was also a professional violinist of great talent.

Tom Landers took over from interim conductor Fred Binning after Mr. Gratch passed away in 1980. He was an experienced professional musician, teacher, and a graduate of the National University of Dublin. During his years with the orchestra, during the mid 1980’s Mr. Landers involved educational and musical experience for students and adults of all ages, which began the gradual evolution of the orchestra away from being a primarily “seniors" organization. It was understood that the White Rock Community Orchestra was born.

 

Charles Cuthbert   took over from Tom Landers, whose eyesight and hearing were failing. Exact years of service are not available, but he was conducting in 1991, with The White Rock Singers, who were directed by Gladys Muir. He was still with us in 1996.

Felix Markey,  an accomplished bass clarinetist, served as conductor for a short time, but left due to personal reasons.

Richard Epp1998 - 2007 

 

Jeffrey Chow 2007/2008. Mr. Chow spent seven months with the orchestra from November 2007 to May 2008.