About

A Short History of The Bucks County Symphony Orchestra

1953

Two groups of local musicians placed an ad in The Daily Intelligencer inviting any musician in the area who was interested in playing in an orchestra to come to the Central Bucks High School band room for a trial run. Conducting was Vernon Hammond, Director of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. The purpose of the orchestra was “to bring good music well performed to the people of the area at a price which makes it available to everyone; to provide a place for the many fine amateurs and retired professionals in the area to perform; to promote musical education programs for the young people of the area.”

1954

“A rousing ovation was received by the members of the Bucks County Symphony and their conductor-director, Vernon Hammond, at its initial public performance Saturday night in Central Bucks High School.” – The Daily Intelligencer.

1958

The first Children’s Concert sold out with many children and their parents being turned away. Children up to 6th grade were invited; ticket price was 50 cents.

1960’s

The Concerto Competition for young music students in the area was inaugurated, with winners performing at the Children’s Concert the following season. In addition to four concerts a year, the orchestra started a tradition of festive galas and musicales. The Bucks County Commissioners proclaimed Bucks County Symphony Society Week “lauding the Symphony for its progress since its beginning and the importance it plays in the musical and cultural life in Bucks County.”

1975

The first annual Pops Concert was held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

1978

Vernon Hammond and the BCSO were named recipients of the Bucks County Arts Award presented by the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce.

1980

Vernon Hammond retired as music director and conductor after 27 years in the post.

1982

Karl Middleman was appointed music director and conductor after a two-year search. He inaugurated the Bucks County Symphony Orchestra Composer’s Competition to encourage composers to write music that nonprofessional musicians can play and enjoy.

1993

Rosalind Erwin, a Doylestown native, was appointed music director and conductor. During her tenure, Maestro Erwin markedly increased the exposure of elementary school students to the Orchestra.

2002

The Bucks County Symphony Orchestra appointed Gary S. Fagin music director and conductor to launch its 50th season. Under the baton of the popular and talented Maestro Fagin, the orchestra has achieved a new level of musical brilliance.

2012

To celebrate Maestro Fagin’s 10th season with the orchestra, the Bucks County Symphony collaborated with the Bucks County Choral Society in a dramatic performance of Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony.

2014

The Bucks County Symphony received an award from the Arts & Cultural Council of Bucks County in recognition of 60 years of outstanding service in the Performing Arts.

2017

The Bucks County Commissioners proclaimed April 22-29 Bucks County Symphony Orchestra Week “for its contributions to our vibrant arts community and in honor of its Music Director, Gary S. Fagin.” Maestro Fagin was recognized at the Spring Concert on April 29 for his 15 years of inspiring leadership of BCSO.

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