Celebrating 40 Years of
Sharing the Joy of Music
Forty years ago today, January 21, 1984, the North Port Orchestra, as it was called then, held its inaugural performance at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church on Sumter Avenue in North Port.
The group was formed by a handful of 15 local residents, who were interested in playing music for their own pleasure, as well as the community. After almost one year of recruiting retired professional and amateur musicians from the area, the first concert was held.
In the late ‘80’s, several string players from the Orchestra went to the principal of newly opened Glenallen Elementary School to offer their services as string assistants. On learning there was no instrumental activity, a demonstration by members of the Orchestra was scheduled, and soon after, after-school string programs were offered with instruction from members of the North Port Orchestra.
As interest grew, a Youth Orchestra was formed in the mid ‘90’s and performed in tandem on numerous occasions with the Orchestra. The Youth Orchestra was 45-strong, including violin, cello, flute, trumpet, and clarinet.
Through the years, the North Port Orchestra has celebrated its Anniversaries as we are today. The 10th anniversary in 1993-94, included, in great part, music performed at the first concert, conducted by Jim Richardson, 20 years was celebrated, under the direction of Theodore Dollarhide, and 30 years in 2013-14. Other Orchestra conductors through the years included Arthur Thiel and Sasha von Dassow.
At the October 2000 Board of Trustees Meeting, the Board President, Ruth McArdle made a big announcement that the North Port Concert Orchestra had received a $57,205.00 grant from the Venice Foundation. Even though the Performing Arts Center and Music studio were still under construction, the funds were earmarked for instrument storage, chairs, risers, and other equipment to fully equip the new music studio.
In 2011, the Orchestra was renamed the North Port Symphony. The acclaimed Robert Romanski joined the Symphony in 2012, as Principal Conductor and Artistic Director, where we are fortunate to have him today. Through the years, the Symphony has performed five concerts from November to March as it did back in 1984.
The Symphony is composed of advanced amateur and professional musicians who volunteer their time and talents to share in the joy of music. Additionally, there are a number of advanced high school students, whose musical talent has earned them a seat in the Symphony.
Our Vision Statement is to be “the most welcoming community orchestra in southwest Florida, and to cultivate a sense of belonging between our patrons, musicians, students and community.”
As it was forty years ago today, that Vision continues.