Americans used to have the most marvelous way of saying the word “orchestra”, somewhere in between “awchestra” and “ohchestra”. It had a vaguely patrician ring to it and yet it was entirely of the people. I don’t think it was a regional pronunciation, although New Yorkers and Bostonites certainly pronounced that way, as did everyone in the movies.
Now it’s time for a reader vote. I’ve amassed a small collection of 20th and 21st century personalities, all Americans, saying “orchestra”. Included are some notable hangers-on to the old tradition. Whose version of the word “orchestra” do you like the best? Leave your vote in the comments section!
Perhaps the finest representative version of the old-style way of saying “orchestra”. Quite pleasant and mellifluous.
Surprisingly, this is a pretty modern rendition, although I’m quite sure that if I did a little more digging, I would find Frank saying “orchestra” with more of the original flavor to it.
Again, somewhere in the middle, but closer to the modern way.
A very classic, very patrician reading, for a very classic, very patrician sort of man. [His "Nawth Korean" ain't bad either.]
Elmer “No Relation” Bernstein falls slightly on the classic side of the dividing line.
For me, Charlie has about the best rendition of “orchestra” of anyone under 70. An interview between him and Loren Maazel is a match made in heaven and a symphony of syllables when it comes to this word.
Lenny’s version is definitely in the classic category, though there are plenty of examples of him saying “orchestra” that have a more modern twist. This particular version leans heavily on the “ohchestra” side of things and has a vaguely British quality to it.
Larry David’s version is a fascinating one — his “awk” is very purely classic, and he really breaks up the rest of the syllables.
I really think that a revolution is afoot and that we can get the word “orchestra” back to being pronounced the way it ought to be. It is our American birthright.
So, please do leave a comment about who says “orchestra” your favorite way, and which way might work best for you!