When the Waupaca Area Orchestra opens its concert season on Nov. 2, among those taking the stage will be Jacci Koch.
For Koch, a violinist, it will be her first time playing with the full orchestra, and she is excited about it.
“I love to get to play,” she said. “I’m looking forward to playing.”
The orchestra is beginning its second concert season at the Gerold Opera House in downtown Weyauwega.
It will present Sergei Profofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 with a children’s matinee at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3.
Children’s entertainer Tom Pease will narrate Profofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” and the Saturday evening performance will also include Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor and the Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber.
Sunday’s performance will include activities for children.
Ironically, it was about a year ago that Koch, who lives in Weyauwega, heard about the new orchestra.
“I was interested,” she said, “But, it seemed like they already had their musicians.”
Months later, she learned that was not the case.
The orchestra was getting ready for its spring concert when Koch’s sister-in-law mentioned to Emily Sipiorski that she knew someone who plays violin.
That someone was Koch.
Sipiorski, who is the founder and executive director of the Waupaca Area Orchestra, said Koch should contact her.
“That’s how I got started,” Koch said. “They had just gotten done with the concert. The next one was fall.”
In the meantime, she played last July for the orchestra’s fundraiser.
On Tuesday, Oct. 22, Koch met some more of the musicians when the orchestra’s first full rehearsal was held in preparation for its upcoming performances.
“I didn’t pursue music after high school,” said Koch, “so some of the music I find difficult.”
A musical past
While Koch is new to the Waupaca Area Orchestra, she is no stranger to the local stage.
As a student at Waupaca High School, she played in the pit all four years for the school’s annual musical production.
Her senior year, she decided to join band.
She played her violin.
In fact, Koch was the only violinist in the high school band. She sat in the oboe section.
“The only thing I couldn’t do was march,” she said.
Koch was 5 years old when she began playing the violin.
Born and raised in Waupaca, she was a Suzuki student.
Her instructor traveled from Stevens Point to Waupaca to teach students here.
It was Koch’s grandmother, Vivian Jensen, who was behind Koch’s venture into becoming a violinist.
Jensen’s father had played the instrument.
All was going well until Koch was about 10 years old.
“I just didn’t want to practice,” she said.
Into a car Koch went with her mother.
Their destination that particular day was the home of Koch’s grandmother.
Jensen said to her, “Now, you don’t really want to quit do you?” Koch recalled.
“And, I’ve been playing ever since,” she said.
Koch continued taking lessons throughout high school, and after graduation, joined her best friend in touring Europe with the United States Collegiate Wind Band.
“I was an add on,” Koch said. “I was the only violinist.”
While she easily could have decided to study music, she knew before graduating from WHS that she wanted to be a funeral director.
She took her general education credits at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and played in the orchestra there one year.
“I played here and there,” she said.
The co-owner of Maple Crest Funeral Home for seven years, Koch played in the orchestra the past four years for Waupaca’s annual community choir concert.
Now, she has found yet another venue.
Koch loves music and also likes play fiddling on her violin.
Her husband Kasey plays guitar, and Koch hopes their 20-month-old son Brennin shares her love of music.
He just might.
“He dances all over the place,” Koch said of her son.
They have a keyboard, and Brennin plucks on the keys instead of pounding on them.
“So I hope that’s a sign of something,” she said.