Historical Highlights of The Bucks County Symphony Orchestra


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.”


“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.


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.


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.”


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


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


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


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.


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.


Gary S. Fagin was appointed music director and conductor as the BCSO launched its 50th season. Under the baton of the popular and talented Maestro Fagin, the Orchestra has achieved a new level of musical brilliance.


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


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


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.


Gary S. Fagin retires as Music Director after 20 seasons. José Luis Domínguez is appointed Music Director.


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