About the Orchestra

The Rapidan Orchestra was founded in October 2014.  The orchestra is comprised of local community members and draws its members mostly from the surrounding counties of Orange, Greene and Madison.  The concert season includes a fall full orchestra concert, a spring full orchestra concert and a chamber music concert each year.

Membership:  There is no audition required.  The only limitation is we don’t allow duplication of wind instrument parts.  In addition to strings, there are current openings for oboe, bassoon, french horn, trumpet and trombone players.  Anyone interested should contact the orchestra director using the “contact us” link below and give a brief summary of your musical background.

Rehearsal Location:  The orchestra rehearses on Thursday evenings from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Music Room.  The street address is 135 E. Main Street, Orange, VA.  Parking is available in the parking lot accross the street from The Music Room.

Tax Status:  The orchestra is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations to the orchestra are fully deductible per IRS regulations.  The primary source of funding for the Rapidan Orchestra is through private donations.  Admission is not charged at concerts and there is no membership fee charged to members.  Donations can be mailed to The Rapidan Orchestra, PO Box 160, Rapidan VA 22733

Contact Us: rapidanorch@gmail.com
Visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RapidanOrchestra

Current Members:

  • Charles Winkler (Concertmaster) *
  • Brian Bertolino *
  • Carol Carr
  • Jane Getchell
  • Isaiah Greenwood
  • Mike Hanz *
  • Nina Messersmith
  • Jenny Taylor *
  • Ray Van Ausdal * (Strings Rehearsal Director)
  • Charles Van Der Heide
  • Pam Whitaker *


  • Kelly Harding *
  • Ray Varona  *
  • Caroline Baldwin  *
  • Joe Bailey *
  • Roger Carr *
  • Brian Smith

String Bass

  • Joe Bunts *
  • Karen Poehailos
  • Don Aittama *
  • Lynne Stockton *
  • Charles Torian
  • Heather Welch *
  • Don Davies
  • Madeline LaPrade *
French Horn
  • Lyle Sanford *


  • John Harding *
  • J.R. “Pete” Peterson


  • Don Whitaker
  • Benjamin Bergey *
Board of Directors
  • President – Madeline LaPrade
  • Vice-President – Lyle Sanford
  • Treasurer – Don Aittama
  • Secretary – Heather Welch

*   Denotes member of The Rapidan Chamber Players

History/Timeline of the Rapidan Orchestra:

October 10, 2014 – First official meeting to discuss creation of community orchestra after initial impetus from Heather Welch (clarinet) and Mary Dykes (violin); Kyle Ruempler decided as inaugural director
October 16, 2014 – Rapidan Community Orchestra was decided as the name for the ensemble; the word “Community” was dropped at the Board meeting on January 8, 2015
November 6, 2014 – First reading session, at Gordonsville’s Christ Episcopal Church (with Ben Williams as co-director for both 11/6 and 12/11 reading sessions, through January 2015 rehearsals)
December 18, 2014 – First official board meeting, with Interim Board selected (Don Aittama, President; Lyle Sanford, Vice President; Heather Welch, Secretary)
January 8, 2015 – First full rehearsal (rehearsals began to occur weekly on Thursdays at Christ Episcopal Church in Gordonsville); General body election to confirm Board selections (listed above), along with Karla Baer chosen as Treasurer
May 9, 2015 – Two inaugural concerts at Orange Presbyterian and Madison Presbyterian churches (performance of Bizet’s Carmen Suite No. 1, Haydn’s Symphony 104, Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture, and a string arrangement of Skyfall by Adele)
September 3, 2015 – Second season begins, with Tal Benatar as new co-director
September 8, 2016 – Third season begins, with Benjamin Bergey as new director

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