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Conductor Robby Martinez presented Paul Decker with the 50-year longevity award during the 2022-2023 concert season awards ceremony and potluck dinner Tuesday, May 31.

Desert Community Orchestra presents annual awards

The Desert Community Orchestra (DCO)  Clint Freeman–  The Desert Community Orchestra celebrated the last gathering of its 2022-2023 concert season with an awards ceremony and potluck dinner Tue. May 31, at the United Methodist Church.

Conductor Robby Martinez and President Lisa Austin presented many awards to orchestra members. Ridgecrest Mayor Eric Bruen was also present for the festivities.

Various orchestra members were awarded the following:


Bianca Samaniego Concert Master Violin;

Lydia Washburn, Principal 2nd Violin; Amanda Elfrink, Principal Viola Laura Olinger, Principal Cello;

Lisa Austin, Co-Principal French Horn, President of The Desert Community Orchestra Association,

DIRECTOR’S CHOICE: Joanne Freeman, Co-Principal Flute and Piccolo; Clint Freeman, Principal Percussion, Timpani, and Drum Set; Kimberly Washburn, Principal Clarinet;

Gary Fry, Co-Principal Clarinet; David Belt, Bassoon; Brad Douglas, Principal French Horn; Mark Hatter, Principal Trombone and Vocals; Paul Decker, Tuba


Ann Halgren, Co-Principal Violin to the Concert Master; Meghan Albro, Co-Principal Flute and Piccolo; Del Ahlin, Principal Trumpet


For Musical contributions and assistance to the orchestra. Lauren Rindt, Cello; Brandon Burkhardt, Co-Principal Trumpet; Andrew Richards, Co-Principal Trombone;


Penny Belt, Piano, Harp, Harpsichord, Organ, Triangle.


Paul Decker (1973) – 50 years; Roger Lacher (1973)

Forty years; Steve Fleischer (1982) 40 years;  Gary Fry (2000) – 20+ years; Mark Hatter (2003) 20 years; Laura Olinger (2003) 20 years;  Penny Belt (2010) 10+ years; Holly Goodman (2011) 10+ years; Clare Hatter (2010) 10+ years Marti Sprinkle “playing with the orchestra when needed since 1995”.


Aidan Kyte, Publicity Helper; Meghan Albro, Publicity Helper. Brian and Deb Veit: banner install, videography; Clint and Joanne Freeman, fundraising; Ashley Douglas, tickets and donation; Ann Halgren, programs.

Lisa Austin presented Eric Bruin with a special appreciation award, and The Golden Tuner Award was passed from violist Steve Fleischer to percussionist Clint Freeman.

The DCO will present its next concert  Saturday, September 23, at the Desert Valley Hall. Other future concert dates and times are to be announced.