Queen City Community Orchestra

Fall 2023

Spring 2023

Fall 2022

Fall 2019

Spring 2019

Fall 2018

Spring 2018

Fall 2017

Spring 2017

Fall 2016

Spring 2016

Fall 2015

Spring 2015

Fall 2014

Spring 2014

Fall 2013

Spring 2013

Fall 2012

About QCCO

As the oldest all-volunteer, non-profit orchestra in the State of North Carolina, the Queen City Community Orchestra is unique among the arts groups as it exists so that (string-playing) musicians of all levels can have an opportunity to play in an orchestral setting.

Musical abilities in the orchestra range from beginners to semi-professionals. The orchestra is comprised of a wide variety of backgrounds: African-Americans, Asians, Latinos, Whites - seniors, highschool students - doctors, lawyers, housewives, etc... Each orchestra member has the opportunity to experience the joy of making music.

The QCCO is funded expressly by donations (as all concerts are free-to-the-public!), and we immensely thank the past, present and current donors for making the Queen City Community Orchestra possible today!

The orchestra season runs from September through May each year, with two semesters that culminate in a concert usually in December and May. The music selections are mainly classical, with an occasional sample of contemporary or local music.

Our Conductors

picts/imgp1206.jpgMr. Aleo Sica is an accomplished musician. He was born in Dover, Ohio in 1927, began violin lessons at the age of seven, and was performing in concerts by the age of twelve. While concertmaster of his high school orchestra, he also played violin with the Canton Ohio Symphony, winning several music scholarships for his fine musicianship.

At age 17, Mr. Sica joined the Merchant Marine and later, in World War II, served as a radio operator in the U.S Air Force. He participated in the Berlin Air Lift and was discharged from the service in 1948. While in Europe, he continued his musical endeavors by arranging to study violin with the concertmaster of the renowned Bremer Philharmonisches Orchester and was invited to become a member of the prestigious Orchester Chamber Music Quartet.

During his time in Europe, Mr. Sica met and married his beautiful German wife Cindy to whom he has been married to this day (over 65 years).

As WWII subsided Mr. Sica and his wife returned to the U.S where he was able to complete his degrees in Bachelor of Music (Violin Major) and Bachelor of Music Education at the College of Wooster, Ohio. He qualified as a Guidance Counselor and accepted a position with the Richmond-Virginia School System where he taught for fifteen years and was a conductor of a variety of high school band and orchestral groups. He taught beginning and advanced strings and winds each morning in the elementary schools, and orchestra, concert band, and marching band in George Wythe High School in the afternoons.

Mr. Sica played professionally in several orchestras: Canton Ohio symphony, first chair violin Richmond Symphony, adjunct for Norfolk Symphony, Newport News, Roanoke, etc. He obtained his Masters of Music Education degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and shortly thereafter, in 1969, accepted a position as assistant professor of music at Queens College (now Queens University) in Charlotte, North Carolina where he achieved tenure as an Associate Professor. He went into partial retirement in 1992 and remained as a part-time instructor (Professor Emeritus) until school year 2011.

During his years at Queens College Mr. Sica also started and developed the instrumental music program at Charlotte Country Day School. He taught full-time at Queens, which included courses such as violin, viola, string and wind lab classes, conducting, orchestration, music appreciation, music Ed, and piano technology. He played first chair seconds in the Charlotte symphony and served as concertmaster for the Charlotte Opera.

In the Fall of 1969, Mr. Sica founded the Queens College Community Orchestra, and he has been its guiding force ever since. Mr. Sica has been a member of the Richmond and Norfolk (Viriginia) Symphony Orchestras as well as the Charlotte Symphony and the Charlotte Opera Orchestras.

Now retired from his position at Queens University, Mr. Sica maintains an extremely active and busy life: teaching private violin/viola lessons, composing and arranging numerous string-orchestra pieces, creating glass sculptures, creating stained glass windows, playing the theremin, oil painting, building furniture, bicycling, traveling -- and enjoying time with his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

images/Eric.jpgMr. Eric Knight started conducting the orchestra in the Fall of 2022.

Born in 1955 near Pittsburgh, PA, Eric began violin studies at six years of age. His teacher was Everrett Thomas, a prominent violinist, teacher and working musician in the greater Pittsburgh area. This instruction for the next ten years became the foundation of Eric's musical knowledge and musicianship. Upon entering Jr. High School the trumpet became the next source of musical interest for Eric, and his first instruction came from his High School band director, and later from Mark VanSickle who had studied trumpet performance at Carnegie Mellon University.

Still later, piano studies completed Eric's musical background during his High School years. However, furthering his music education was not a possibility at the time of High School graduation. Instead, he pursued a brief education in commercial photography in Philadelphia, and worked in a photography studio for the next four years. Dissatisfied with not being able to adequately support himself, he found an opportunity to begin work at the Robertshaw Controls Co. in New Stanton, PA where he worked for the next eighteen years as a machine operator and parts inspector. While this work was satisfying and financially rewarding, it gave precious little time for the further pursuit of musical interests.

One exception came when he met Walter Burleson, who had played trombone in New York during the Swing Era, and was kind enough to tutor Eric extensively in music theory. Another was the opportunity to play violin with the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra for one season before moving to North Carolina. In 1999 when the factory closed Eric moved to Huntersville, NC with his new bride, Marcia.

Almost immediately opportunities presented themselves for Eric to put to use the musical skills he had developed. He began teaching strings, trumpet and piano at Howren Music & Sound at their Huntersville location, and later at Music & Arts in Huntersville. This continued until Eric's retirement from teaching music in 2020. Eric has enjoyed performing with the Queen City Brass Band, the Huntersville Brass, Groove Machine (a 70's Rock Band with Horn Section), the Pacific Coast Highway Jazz Band and is currently trumpet sub for The Lake Norman Big Band.

In addition to performing, Eric has written arrangements for most of the groups he has been part of. Eric's association with the Queen City Community Orchestra began in 2015, and he and Aleo Sica immediately developed a good working relationship that has become a close friendship over the years. Eric has arranged several pieces for the QCCO, and even written an original composition for trumpet and string orchestra.

With Aleo Sica's help and instruction Eric has honed his conducting skills to be able to work well with the QCCO. This relationship with the QCCO is something Eric is most proud of, and he is looking forward to working with the orchestra for as long as he is able.

Orchestra History

The Queens College Community Orchestra was founded in the Fall of 1969 by Mr. Aleo Sica, assistant professor of music at Queens College.

From a nucleus of 12 musicians, the orchestra quickly grew within one year's time to a full-fledged symphony orchestra of over 60 members.

In late 1986, Mr. Sica reduced the orchestra's size from a full-symphony (including woodwinds, brass and percussion) to concentrate on a more string-only orchestra (violins, violas, cellos and string-basses) - and it has remained in this form ever since. The woodwind, brass and percussion members moved on to help form the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra and the Charlotte Repertory Orchestra (now the Charlotte Civic Orchestra) respectively.

In 2011, the orchestra severed its connection with Queens University (formerly Queens College), and has been rehearsing and performing at Charlotte Country Day School ever since. The orchestra then renamed itself - from Queens College Community Orchestra - to - Queen City Community Orchestra - in order to more readily reflect the change.

Since 1969, the Queen City Community Orchestra has performed approximately 90 free-to-the-public concerts, and has seen close to 600 people pass in-and-out of the orchestra throughout its existence.

To date, the Queen City Community Orchestra proudly claims its heritage as the longest-running, non-profit, all-volunteer orchestra organization in North Carolina.

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