Ty Swenson
Dr. Toni Reineke (right) gets ready to cut her farewell cake in a retirement celebration for the West Seattle Community Orchestras co-founder and longtime conductor. The party was held after WCSO's "Spring into Summer" finale concert at Chief Sealth High School on June 11.

WS Community Orchestras’ finale a fitting send off for Reineke

Chief Sealth International High School’s auditorium was filled with the acoustics of composing greats, from Schumann and Shubert of the 1800s to local composer Robert Duisberg, as the West Seattle Community Orchestras performed their final “Spring into Summer” concert of the season and said goodbye to the program’s co-founder and longtime conductor Dr. Toni Reineke.

After the Symphony Orchestra finished their concert to appreciative applause, the party moved down the hall for refreshments, appetizers and a “Thank You Toni” cake for Reineke, who announced her retirement from conducting during WCSO’s 10th Anniversary Concert Celebration in May. A surprise performance from a violin trio performed “Movie Favorites” as a tribute to Reineke.

Asked how she felt on her final night as a WSCO conductor, Reineke said, “Good, this orchestra, oh my gosh …”

“When we started, our first orchestra there was 16 people and we just wanted to get together and play and have a real, full orchestra,” she said. “There wasn’t a full orchestra in any of the schools, there were very few string players … and so I said, ‘OK, if we make an orchestra that’s an evening orchestra maybe we can pull these kids along and they’ll be more inclined to join their school orchestras and the middle and high school level, which happened.

“Things have just gotten better and better and better for all of the groups and all of the schools in West Seattle. The number of music teachers is growing here, where that is not true citywide.”
WSCO provided the following statement on Reineke’s tenure as co-founder and conductor:

Ten years ago, Dr. Reineke and the late Kathleen Hunt started a community orchestra with just 16 student musicians and soon after added adult musicians, to form the Westside Symphonette. With the help of community supporters and other local musicians, the West Seattle Community Orchestras organization has grown to three orchestras including 180+ members and four conductors. Dr. Reineke has conducted numerous orchestras and also has taught beginning classes for adults. Although retiring from conducting at this time, she plans to continue on with WSCO teaching, mentoring and maybe even playing the trumpet!

For more information on West Seattle Community Orchestras, please visit their website at www.WSCOrchestras.org.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.