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Thread: Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?

  1. #1

    Default Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?

    Live in the LA/SoCal area? I am wondering if there is anyone interested in starting up a regular mandolin orchestra (although most any instrument would probably be welcome). The idea would be to take some easy classical pieces and -you guessed it- play them!

    I am not an advanced player at all, so this would definitely be an homage to the amateur mando orchestras of old. Choose a manageable piece, practice it on our own for a bit, then get together and play it. Sounds like fun to me and it might even give me an excuse to buy a mandola and/or a mandocello (and might give others an excuse to play the ones they already have).

    Also would be interested in getting together to jam on the westside, weekends, with other bluegrass and/or swing players who are at the beginner/intermediate level-- meaning we know some songs but aren't advanced players, don't play with blazing speed, and can be depended on to crash and burn altogether here and there, some days worse than others.


  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Westchester, NY

    Default Re: Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?

    There used to be a LA Mandolin Orchestra that dated back a few decades. I think it has been dormant for a number of years tho I heard there is an existing library of music, some of it was inherited from the New York Mandolin Orchestra. At one point I had contact info for the person in charge but no longer.

    Actually. Gregg Miner -- Mr. Harp Guitar -- says (dated 1995):
    So I personally did my time with the Los Angeles Mandolin Orchestra for several years, one of the few such clubs still in existence.
    So this orchestra was prob still in existence back then.

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  3. #3
    Registered User Clement Barrera-Ng's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    San Diego CA

    Default Re: Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?

    Hi jjh - Wish I had seen your post earlier. My wife and I are about to move from Los Angeles to San Diego where I took a new job. Good luck with the orchestra, and keep us all posted about future jams. I still have family in the area and hopefully will be able to drop by for a weekend jam.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Irvine, CA

    Default Re: Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?

    I'm in Irvine, Orange County. I'd certainly be interested in giving it a try. I am self-taught, but can read Standard Notation. I have Mandolin, Mandola, Cittern, Bouzouki, Octave Mandolin, and Mandocello.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Los Angeles

    Default Re: Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?


    Not to hijack the thread but I recently taught some mandolin lessons to an older lady who was in the Los Angeles Mandolin Orchestra in the 70's. She said that at the time she was the youngest member in the ensemble and it was, not surprisingly, comprised of mostly older European immigrants. She said it disbanded because the conductor and lead spirit of the group passed away. If anyone is interested, I am sure I can get ahold of her to get more information. She seemed fond of telling stories of her time in it.


    -btw, a renewed mandolin orchestra sounds interesting.

  6. #6
    Dennis Ladd Dennis Ladd's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Milwaukie, Oregon

    Default Re: Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?

    I live on the Westside (near Bundy and Nebraska). My phone: (310) 826-0407. E-mail is I'll be back in town the first week of January. I hope you get a good list of names going by then!!
    Dennis Ladd

  7. #7

    Default Re: Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?

    Thanks for all the responses. Seems like we've got a potential quartet already. We'll see how many others chime in over the next couple of weeks and then determine what piece would be appropriate to begin with. I have contacted some churches and community centers in the Santa Monica area about using their space and have lined up some potential ones for weekend use. Cost is negligible, I can take care of it. Stay tuned, talk to your friends and see if they want to take part, and start sniffing around for some pieces to play. Ease should be the name of the game to begin with.

    As an aside, I got to jam with Evan Marshall the other night which was a trip. Him, me, and a couple of banjo players. Mind blowing. He will be giving a $10 lesson at the Viva Cantina in Burbank this coming Monday night at 630pm followed by a bluegrass jam. Great opportunity to play with one of the world's finest. If I can make it, I will ask him if he has any suggestions for music or, better yet, if he would like to be our Conductor in Absentia. That would give us some serious street cred.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?

    Check for latest info under Social Groups- Los Angeles Mandolin Orchestra

  9. #9
    Registered User raulb's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    So. Calif.

    Default Re: Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?

    You know, I guess you have to meet somewhere, but i seldom get to the Westside due to traffic. However, I might be willing to give it a go. I too am self-taught. I can read standard notation if I have to, but usually learn by ear. I have a mando and a dola.

    c. '37 Dobro mandolin
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?

    Hey, raulb,
    I hear you with regard to traffic issues. We will only be meeting once on a month on Saturday afternoons, so hopefully you can make it over. The more the merrier, and we can always use the extra 'dola to fill out our sound. Check for latest info under Social Groups, "Los Angeles Mandolin Orchestra". Looking forward to seeing everyone.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?

    We are through the looking glass! Jams, (ahem), rehearsals for the Los Angeles Mandolin Orchestra to take place the first Saturday of each month beginning in February (beginning 2/5/11) at the Santa Monica Academy of Music (2414 Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica) from 12pm to 2pm. Please go to Social Groups, find Los Angeles Mandolin Orchestra, and RSVP for the first meeting as soon as you can (or do so directly to Also, please indicate what instrument you will be playing. This will enable us to determine what piece of music we will choose as we have pieces for all sorts of combinations of instruments. Please do not RSVP here. Thanks!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Los Angeles amateur mandolin orchestra?

    While I'm not in the LA area (I'm down in Encinitas, CA), I do know Evan - in fact he and Scott Gates are heading the mandolin instruction for the fiddle and mandolin camp I'm producing in Julian, CA this coming April. For those unfamiliar with either Evan or Scott, you've a treat in store. While YouTube transmits a bit of the sound and vibe, Evan's the consumate entertainer and a great instructor - someone to be seen in-person. Good luck w/ the orchestra effort - sounds like fun!


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