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Arts & Culture

How Energy Sector Workers Stay Plugged In To Their Musical Skills

Some employees in the region’s energy sector have found a way to keep up with their musical “chops.”



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Picture of the Energy Corridor of Houston Orchestra
ECHO’s Conductor/Music Director Michael Fahey leading the rehearsal for the season’s first concert.

A couple of years ago, Sarah Plunkett was having coffee with friends when an idea was born.

"And we were talking about, ‘Well, there's nothing here. There's nothing art-related to service the Energy Corridor,'" Plunkett says. “And I said, ‘Well, why don't we start an orchestra?'"

She's a professional flutist and was looking to play with an orchestra, but there weren't any openings in Houston at the time. So she founded the Energy Corridor of Houston Orchestra, or ECHO.

About half of the 70 members make their careers in music, but another 25 percent work in the energy industry at places like Exxon Mobil, Haliburton, and Schlumberger.

"I tried very hard to find those people in those companies," Plunkett says. "And to market to those companies to encourage their employees that, if they play, come join us."

One of those people is Travis Klein, who's an environmental engineer with Exxon Mobil by day and a violinist in his off-time.

"It's a good release after you sit behind a desk all day and want to come do something like this," Klein says.

ECHO starts their second season with a performance of Gustav Holst's Planets Friday at BridgePoint Bible Church in Katy.