Celebrate the Holidays with the Really Terrible Orchestra of the Triangle

If you’re wincing at the title of this article, don’t. 

Founded by keyboardist and conductor W. Sands “Sandy” Hobgood, Cary’s self-titled Really Terrible Orchestra of the Triangle (RTOOT) has been serving up music (and laughs) since 2008!  

“Anyone who wants to play and learn is welcome to join! No one is turned away, which explains why there are about a dozen cellos in the orchestra this year,” said Debbie Moose, second violin. “The conductor is retired from NCSU and pushes us to do our best, but it’s OK to air-fiddle if you just can’t get that high note.” 

On Dec. 7, RTOOT will be holding its first concert since the pandemic at The Cary Arts Center. The program includes Berlioz, Mussorgsky, and holiday tunes, and concerts are run by a comedy MC who has been known to give out kazoos or bunny ears to the audience (be on the lookout for one of the bass players wearing his Santa suit)!  

“Expect to have fun and laugh a lot,” said Moose. “You may hear some music you may recognize and some that you don’t, and possibly join in when the ushers give out kazoos! We play serious music, and work hard in rehearsals, but don’t take ourselves seriously. Kids will enjoy it as well.” 

The RTOOT performs at the Cary Arts Center for two seasons of the year (the spring concert is scheduled for May 13). Tickets can be purchased at the Cary Box Office and online through ETIX. For those who are interested, auditions are held at the beginning of each season for former band kids, current band kids, or anyone who can breathe and read music simultaneously. Rehearsals are held primarily at the Herb Young Community Center on Sunday afternoons. 

“Additional information about the RTOOT is available at www.rtoot.org, including the history of the organization and about our conductor, Dr. Robert B. Petters, Emeritus Professor, North Carolina State University — we call him Bob,” said Trish Kirkpatrick, RTOOT Board of Directors.Our master of ceremonies is Michael Bacigalupo. Michael is married to Marsha, the RTOOT’s first chair French horn player. Michael may have volunteered or may have been coerced (we don’t know), but he provides the humorous focus of our concert programs. The audience has come to expect and enjoy the hundreds of kazoos we hand out at the fall concert so that they can kazoo along with an uplifting rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus. However, we do find it difficult to tune the audience and their kazoos. You can view concerts from previous years on the RTOOT’s YouTube channel! 

Tickets are $10 for adults and $2 for children under 12. Don’t miss this fun evening of music and unexpected humor!  

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