SLIDELL, La (WGNO) —Music is a magical component of the holiday season. The Northshore Community Orchestra gives the gift of music all year long.

There have been community music ensembles since the dawn of time. In the 19th century, coal miners formed brass bands in Europe and in the United States at the time of the 1880’s, thousands of amateur bands existed. These music ensembles were composed of civilian members of the community. Over the years, a few town across the country continued the tradition of making music.

In 1987, the Northshore Community Orchestra was born. Brooks Trotter is the President of the ensemble and says, “I went in the Navy and I took a hiatus from music. Ms. Susan Messina, the conductor, was the band director at Pope John Paul at the time. She told me about the Slidell orchestra.”

Susan Messina is the ensemble’s conductor and says, “I was a band director for 30 years. I realized I wanted to be a conductor in high school.”

There are around 40 musicians with varying ages, from nine years old, all the way up to 80-plus years-young. By day, the members are lawyers, doctors, photographers, students, former band directors, and other professions. By night, they are transformed. Every Tuesday night, they practice under the musical magic of the Margaret Mary School Gymnasium.

Brooks started as a tuber player when he was younger. Through the years, he played football and went into the military, and is a pilot. He never intended to give up music. He has since moved on from playing tuba and now is in the melodic percussion section. He plays timpani, bells and the xylophone.

The orchestra averages around three free public performances a year, including the Christmas concert which takes place on December 17th. There is also an upcoming movie them-based concert within the first half of 2023.

The members are passionate about the music they make and in doing so, they are the soundtrack of their communities atmosphere.

“As we’re playing, we’re making harmony and we’re a family; musically as well as personally,” says Susan Messina.

“Music gives a feeling of joy and especially with the community orchestra, where it gives a feeling of self worth,” says Brooks Trotter.

The Northshore Community Orchestra holds auditions every year in August. They need all types of instrumentalists but are in need of violinists.

The Holiday Concert takes place at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium Saturday, December 17th at 6:00pm. To learn more, click here.