Local orchestra musician won’t put his violin down again

Local resident David Colpitts says he’ll still be playing violin in an orchestra when he’s 90.

That would be another 28 years, if you’re counting.

“I’m planning on playing for as long as I can still hear,” Colpitts said, laughing.

David Colpitts performs with the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra on March 1 at the P.C. Ho Theatre.
David Colpitts performs with the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra on March 1 at the P.C. Ho Theatre.

Colpitts, 62, is the assistant concertmaster of the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, as well as a member of the orchestra’s board of directors.

The CBSO played its third subscription concert of the season on March 1 at the P.C. Ho Theatre, featuring an elaborate percussion piece by Andrew Dunsmore.

Colpitts said he wasn’t in an organized orchestra for 20 years, but he’s never stopped playing violin completely.

“The music has always been there,” he said. “It’s not something you lose.”

He began playing violin in Grade 9, joining the original Scarborough Symphony Orchestra in 1967, but left in 1970 when he began working. However, in 1990 Colpitts joined the CBSO and he’s “never missed a rehearsal since.”

Colpitts said since he rediscovered the orchestra he’s tried to tell as many musicians as possible not to give it up. He said after being away from the orchestra for two decades, he won’t put his violin down.

“It’s a very important part of my life and any retiree is missing out,” Colpitts said. “When you get involved in it and realize the potential, it’s so worthwhile and very rewarding.”

As assistant concertmaster of the orchestra, Colpitts sits next to the concertmaster and plays on some of the solo parts. He said he is also a glorified page-turner.

“That’s my number one function, I’ve got to make sure those pages are turned,” he said with a laugh.

The P.C. Ho Theatre, located at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, is the new home of the CBSO. Colleen O’Dwyer, the orchestra’s manager, said this is CBSO’s first season at the P.C. Ho Theatre.

“We’ll do next year’s season here and the following, so we’re here to stay,” O’Dwyer said.

Colpitts said he thinks the new concert hall is terrific.

“We were in high schools before,” he said. “Now we’ve got a proper performance hall with excellent acoustics.”

Colpitts was born in Toronto, but has lived in Scarborough since 1950.

“I like Scarborough, and I’m sticking to it,” he said, adding he loves being able to play concerts in the community.

Over the years, the orchestra has had a large audience of core subscribers, he said.

Five of the CBSO’s concerts are part of a subscription series, but they have seven concerts in total within a season.

“At the beginning of the season, we do what’s called a Young Artists Concert,” O’Dwyer said. “We also run a concerto concert in the spring in conjunction with the Royal Conservatory of Music, and the winner is featured in one of our subscription series concerts.”

The CBSO’s next concert will be April 20 at the P.C. Ho Theatre.