The Oklahoma Community Orchestra (OCO) was founded through a desire shared by musicians in the Greater Oklahoma City area to promote the performing arts, provide quality performances of symphonic literature at a nominal charge to the community and exercise and improve the artistic skills of those performing in the orchestra.
The orchestra was formed in 1984 through the Chamber Music Division of the Oklahoma City Ladies Music Club. It is now a nonprofit organization supported both by member dues and by donations from individuals and organizations. Status as a 501(c)3 organization was approved in 1987. After rehearsing at Oklahoma Christian University (OC) for several years, the orchestra was invited to serve as the "Orchestra-in-Residence at Oklahoma Christian University" in 1995. While both institutions retain their own independent identities and leadership, this relationship has been mutually beneficial to both organizations. OC provides the rehearsal space, concert halls, stage manager services and related concert expenses, and also allows the orchestra use of the school's percussion instruments, chairs, stands, risers, and shells without charge. Having the orchestra in residence at OC attracts new audiences and members of the community to the OC campus and enhances the quality of life for area residents as well as members of the OC college community and its students.
Approximately 75 musicians perform in the orchestra. The roster includes professional musicians, business professionals, former high school and college orchestra members, a limited number of students from OC and other colleges, independent music teachers, and instrumental music teachers from the public schools and area universities. The orchestra members are volunteers, unpaid both for the weekly rehearsals and for the four to six concerts performed each season. Each member pays $50 in dues annually to participate in the orchestra. An independent board of directors is elected to set policy and manage the needs of the organization. Board members serve without any compensation for their services.
Although most performances are at Oklahoma Christian University, the Oklahoma Community Orchestra performs at least one concert at other venues within the Greater Oklahoma City area.
Orchestra members rehearse at OC each Monday evening from 7:30-9:45 pm throughout the concert season.