Long-time philharmonic participant Ellen Tillapaugh said her two daughters were students of Rodd and performed under her direction when they were children. Tillapaugh said she and her husband, Gary Kuch, decided to get involved as adults.
“We do not consider ourselves real talents,” she said during the rehearsal last year. “We are here for the comedic effect. It is something we can do together.”
Tillapaugh, a Cooperstown village trustee and owner of Tillapaugh Art Conservation on Beaver Street, said partaking in the philharmonic is a fun way to get through the winter.
“It allows us to get a little silly,” she said.
Members of the philharmonic range widely in age and occupation, but they all come together for a few months of intense rehearsals, which begin in January.
Not long after the Fly Creek Philharmonic was formed, Bill said, its fame spread when it was chosen to perform on “A Prairie Home Companion” in 1996. Bill said the group was selected to be featured on the radio show hosted by Garrison Keillor from 1,000 entries. He said it had been an annual contest of “Talent From Towns Under 2,000.”
The group from Fly Creek did not win first prize that year, but Bill said the trip to St. Paul, Minn., was unforgettable. Bill said the group has traveled to perform in some concert series and other events since, but it has become hard to continue.
Each year the group selects a local charity to support with a portion of ticket sales. Because of pressing need, organizers said money will be donated to the food bank once again.