History of the Dexter Community Orchestra

At 3:00 PM on January 22, 2006, the Dexter Community Orchestra (DCO) made its debut by playing the first notes of the New World Symphony by Antonin Dvorak. The DCO was born, and the town of Dexter and surrounding communities would have a new musical group to enjoy for many years to come. The DCO is now celebrating its 14th season!

Timeline of major events

  • 2005 - Dexter Community Orchestra founded by Donald Parrish.
  • 2006 - First concert held on January 22, 2006.
  • 2007 - Gazebo concerts begin in Monument Park.
  • 2011 - DCO welcomes Anthony Elliot as new Music Director and Conductor.
  • 2012 - Chamber concerts begin.
  • 2012 - Collaboration concerts with Dexter High School orchestras begin.
  • 2012 - DCO donates half the donations of March concert to the Dexter Tornado Relief Fund.
  • 2013 - First Musical Taste of Dexter (MTOD) event held.
  • 2015 - Holiday concert at Hill Auditorium.
  • 2019 - DCO welcomes David Schultz as new Music Director and Conductor.
  • Conductors

  • Donald Parrish, Founding Conductor (2006 - 2010)
  • Anthony Elliot (2011 - 2018)
  • David Schultz (2019 - present)
  • Founding of the DCO

    In the summer of 2005, Don Parrish began planning for a community orchestra in Dexter along with a few other supporters. Don put an ad in the local newspaper to welcome all musicians to come to the first rehearsal of the Dexter Community Orchestra in September, 2005. He was quite surprised when over 50 people showed up, many of them accomplished band and orchestral musicians. The DCO was officially chartered as a musical group dedicated to cultural enrichment through symphonic music with the following objectives:
    • To create and maintain a non-profit community orchestra.
    • To offer musicians of all levels an opportunity to perform symphonic music.
    • To foster music education for both youths and adults.
    • To contribute to the enhancement of performing arts in the Dexter community.

    Dexter Daze Petting Zoo

    To further the objective of music education for youths and adults, the DCO sponsors a “Petting Zoo” at the Dexter Daze festival in August each year. The Petting Zoo is a booth where a variety of stringed instruments (violin, viola, cello, and bass) are available for anyone to experience one of these instruments up close in an encouraging environment. Various DCO musicians are on hand to assist with the instruments. Due to the success of the petting zoo, the Dexter School System has reported an increase in students electing to play stringed instruments in school.