Thanks to all of you for your input and advice. What a helpful forum this is! Alan Belkin referred to some orchestration books by Rimsky, etc. I need to get one. What is everyones preference?
Have a good New Year, and thanks for all the help. It will be so nice to get what I'm hearing in my head on paper and into GPO!
Regarding the sound card on a previous post - I decided on the Sound Blaster Audigy 4 (most bang for the buck) For what it's worth, I'll give you my unbiased opinion about it when I get it in a few days, though my tastes may not be as discriminating as all of yours. Now I need a good set of speakers for my limited space. Thinking 2.1 format, with digital inputs.