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About the BBCO


The Big Bend Community Orchestra (BBCO) provides opportunities for community musicians to learn and play orchestral music together, encourages school age children to become interested in music through educational programs, and performs orchestral music for the public. The BBCO is affiliated with Tallahassee Community College. The orchestra consists of more than fifty volunteer musicians and includes professionals, homemakers, music teachers, and students. Waldie Anderson, conductor from 1994 until 2004, co-founded the orchestra with music educator Ginny Densmore. Dr. James Croft led the organization from 2004-2007 and Dr. Shelby Chipman, FAMU Associate Director of Bands and Orchestra, has directed since the fall of 2007.


The BBCO has presented more than 93 concerts and performed over 400 compositions by a variety of composers of music spanning four centuries. Programming includes standard and lesser-known masterpieces of the orchestral repertoire as well as lighter classics and “pops”. The BBCO has enjoyed showcasing a variety of local talent including soloists of all ages from the orchestra itself as well as from the community. A “Young Artist Competition” is held each season in which the winners are given a chance to perform a solo with the orchestra. Three concerts are given each season and are usually held on Saturday or Sunday afternoons at 3:30 so that senior citizens and families with children can attend. Children in the audience are given the opportunity to come on stage to see and hear the instruments “up close and personal.”


Rehearsals are held weekly September-April on Thursdays from 7:15–9:30p.m. in room CH165 in the TCC Communications and Humanities building, and dress rehearsals are scheduled just before concerts. Membership in the orchestra is open to all capable musicians on a space available basis with first priority given to adult community members, TCC students, and those not eligible for university orchestras. Orchestral string instrumentalists are always needed. High School students must receive permission to participate. Wind and percussion players are asked to audition when seats become available.  


For more information, email bbcorch@bigbendcommunityorchestra.com.


The BBCO recently incorporated as an independent organization and is a 501c(3) organization.  Many thanks to The Artist Series for all of the support over the years.

Join Us!

The BBCO is excited to be in its 25th year. Founded in 1994, it has presented over 93 FREE concerts featuring over 400 compositions. We would love to have any interested musicians join us on Thursday nights from 7:15 - 9:30 for our weekly rehearsals. (Located at Tallahassee Community College in the Band Room - CH165).

Find out more

About Our Conductor

Dr. Shelby Chipman, Conductor

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Dr. Shelby R. Chipman is the Director of Bands and an associate professor at Florida A&M University (FAMU). His responsibilities in the Department of Music include teaching Instrumental Music Education, conducting, and coordinating student recitals and student teachers (as music interns). Additionally, he conducts the Marching 100 and Pep Bands, Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, and String Ensemble. He is a native of Miami, where he graduated from Miami Northwestern Senior High. He received his Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Music Education from Florida A&M University, where he was conducting student of Dr. William P. Foster and Dr. Julian E. White. Professor Chipman completed his master’s degree in music education at the University of Illinois, and received his Ph.D. in music education from the Florida State University (FSU) College of Music.


Prior to his appointment at FAMU, he taught music in the Miami-Dade County Public School system for 10 years. His band program at Miami Central High School developed into one of the finest band programs in the country. As much as a teacher as he was a musician, Dr. Chipman was named Teacher of the Year during the 1993-94 school year. Under his leadership the Rocket Marching band performed in the 1993, 1995, and 1997 King Orange Jamboree Parades, 1993 Heritage Festival (New Orleans), 1990-96 FAMU’s Homecoming Festivals (Tallahassee, Fla.), 1992-97 MLK Parades & Festival (St. Petersburg, Fla.), 1997 Macy’s Day Parade (New York City), and numerous other marching events. The Miami Central High School Symphonic Band performed at the prestigious Bands of America National Concert Festival in Indianapolis, IN.


Dr. Chipman is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Music Educators National Conference (MENC), Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA), Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA), College Band Directors National Conference (CBDNA), FMEA Black Caucus, and Bethel AME Church (Tallahassee). He has coordinated numerous band festivals and had the pleasure of working with James Croft, Timothy Reynish, James Suddith, Jim Sparks, Gary Green, Anthony Maiello, and Eugene Corporon, who represent some of the finest conductors in the world. In addition to working with these outstanding conductors, Dr. Chipman has presented music education and conducting clinics on several public school and college campuses, as well as given lectures at the FMEA conference and Mid-West Band & Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. He is an active adjudicator and clinician throughout the Southeastern United States and currently serves as music director/conductor of the Tallahassee Big Bend Community Orchestra, as well as the Florida collegiate advisor for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Dr. Chipman is married to Detrick LaShawn and together they have one son, Israel Armenian Chipman.


As an educator, Dr. Chipman believes that all students can learn. He believes there are obstacles that create barriers, but through faith, guidance, and love anything can be accomplished. “As educators, it is our responsibility to encourage students to maintain their focus,” Chipman said. “There is good in all and we are challenged to bring out the best in students.”


Waldie Anderson, Founding Conductor Emeritus

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Waldie Anderson co-founded the Big Bend Community Orchestra with her in the spring of 1994 and was the conductor of the orchestra until 2004.   He graduated from Aberdeen High School, earned a bachelors degree from Central Washington University, a Masters degree from the University of Michigan, and did doctoral studies at the University of Michigan. Waldie was a professional tenor, bassoonist, and conductor. He taught music at Davenport (IA) High School, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, University of Texas, Florida State University, the University of Michigan, and Michigan State University. He had many interests. He coached baseball, was an official for soccer and softball, was a frequent tenor soloist worldwide, and founded the Big Bend Community Orchestra and the Artist Series of Tallahassee. Waldie was Tallahassee’s Volunteer of the Year in the Arts in 1995.


He passed away on May 22, 2011 and is greatly missed by all. The BBCO’s 2011-2012 season was dedicated to him and the orchestra played many of his favorite orchestral works.

Dr. James Croft, Conductor Emeritus

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James Croft, former Professor of Music and Director of Bands at the Florida State University, received his BME from Cornell College, an MA from Northern Iowa University and his Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. Croft taught for twenty-one years in the public schools of Iowa and Wisconsin. The last eighteen of which were spent in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where his groups were invited to appear at numerous state, regional and national conventions, clinics and festivals. In 1972 he joined the faculty of the University of South Florida as Director of Bands, remaining there until moving to FSU in 1980. He was an internationally known conductor, adjudicator, lecturer, and clinician, and received numerous awards throughout his career. After his retirement in 2004, he became the Conductor of the Big Bend Community Orchestra for three years and continued as Artistic Director for three more years.


The BBCO was saddened to learn of Dr. Croft’s passing on Thursday, September 6th, 2012.  The November 17th concert was dedicated to his memory.

Play Music with the BBCO

Virginia Densmore

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At the suggestion of Ginny Densmore, a retired elementary music teacher and clarinetist, Waldie Anderson co-founded the Big Bend Community Orchestra with her in the spring of 1994 and was the conductor of the orchestra until 2004. He had retired to Tallahassee in 1990 after an impressive career in music performance (bassoonist and tenor solosist) and music education. Another great contribution to our community was his creation of “The Artist Series of Tallahassee” in 1995. 

Our Founders

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Photo of Ginny (Virginia) and Waldie during a rehearsal in 1994.


The BBCO was set up to be a musical organization dedicated to the enhanced appreciation and understanding of orchestral music in Tallahassee and the surrounding communities. This has been accomplished by providing an open-door opportunity for musicians (amateur, retired, professional or semiprofessional) to play and learn, encourage school age children to become interested in music through concerts and educational programs, and to perform orchestral music in free concerts for others. 

Waldie Anderson

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Waldie was concerned that a university town and capital of a state had not had an artist series since FSU dropped it after many years, and wanted to provide world class classical music to our community. He also initiated the Artist in Residence program which reaches hundreds of school children. Mr. Anderson was tireless in his efforts to champion all of the arts in our community and definitely made a positive mark on our community. He passed away on May 22, 2011 and is greatly missed by many. The BBCO’s 2011-2012 season was dedicated to him and the orchestra played many of his favorite orchestral works.