In 2001 a high school in Florence, Oregon presented a musical with an orchestra comprised mainly of coastal residents, under the baton of Robin DeVour. The experience was so fulfilling that the group recognized the potential for a small orchestra of local musicians and the Oregon Coast Chamber Orchestra was officially organized in September of that year.
The membership ranges in age from 17 to over 80. Many are active or retired professional musicians and music educators, former military band directors and private music teachers. Several dedicated members commute over the Coast Range from the Eugene area for weekly rehearsals, joined from time to time by students from the University of Oregon. Professional or amature, they are united by a love of music and a desire to share it with others in public performance.
Throughout the years the orchestra has performed from its home base of Florence as far south as Bandon and as far north as Lincoln City, however for the last several years all nine concerts of each season have been held in Reedsport, Yachats and Florence.
The programs feature local musicians and members as soloists, collaborations with choral and dance groups, original compositions by the orchestra members, and a wide-ranging selection of music from baroque to American jazz and Broadway show tunes.
The concerts have helped raise funds for causes such as the Florence Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity and school band trips. In addition to ticket and advertising sales, the OCC Orchestra has itself received grants and awards to assist in the purchase of stand lights and a trailer for carrying these lights in addition to music stands, percussion instruments and other necessities of an active musical group.