January-February 2019 | ARTISTIC LICENSE

Front Porch Orchestra



Front Porch Orchestra offers a bluegrass twist on classical favorites

Front Porch Orchestra has the sound of a band you might hear on A Prairie Home Companion, accompanied by the comedic narration of 1960s radio personality Stan Freberg. Local musician Ray Remesch founded Front Porch Orchestra in 2017 to create a channel for people who play folk instruments, offering an orchestra experience on Maryland’s Mid-Shore. The group has created a big orchestral sound with guitars, fiddles, banjos, string bass and percussion. Specifically, Remesch and his group have been genre-bending between bluegrass/folk and classical music. In December, the Front Porch Orchestra performed its second year of the “Bluegrass Nutcracker” to record across Delmarva. 

He explains that “Bluegrass Nutcracker” is breaking new ground — creating a bridge between classical music and the average music listener. He adds, “I wanted to attract a wider audience. It’s sort of like ‘A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.’ Really, it’s about bringing classical music to people who have an ear for pop.”

Front Porch Orchestra has also interpreted The Carnival of the Animals, by Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, and The Music of Minecraft, collaborating with local dance company Continuum Dance. This year, the group is exploring performing a bluegrass version of Fantasia, which was originally released in 1941 by Walt Disney, featuring the best music and visuals of the time. Remesch hopes that his arrangement can also be a collaboration between visuals, including dancers, sand art, video and the music.

Remesch points to current genre-bending artists like Chris Thile and The Piano Guys as an inspiration for the group. The addition of a narrator to the performances between movements interjects comedy while helping to paint a picture in people’s mind before they hear the music.

Studio recordings can be streamed via Spotify and Apple Music and CDs are available. 


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