The idea of a regional symphony orchestra took shape in the fall of 1996 with a group of musicians, music lovers, and interested citizens. The Marquette Symphony Orchestra began playing in 1997, and has since performed increasingly difficult pieces with undeniable grace. Musicians from around the region dedicate their time and talent to achieving the highest quality, and as every musician knows, it all begins with practice.
While practice is essential, the work doesn’t end there. Along with setting up the stage and transporting equipment, each concert requires six rehearsals, with separate string rehearsals leading to Friday and Saturday full orchestra gatherings. Of the orchestra’s 72 players, about 60 are from Marquette County, including some public school students. The Marquette Symphony Orchestra provides their only opportunity to play classical music at this level of difficulty. Other key players travel from the Lower Peninsula and northeast Wisconsin.
The orchestra plays four concerts in a season – usually September, November, February, and May. The audience can expect bona fide classical music – not watered down or simplified arrangements, but rather the same music major symphony orchestras might play. Over the years, the music has proved to be of the highest caliber and the musicians continue to prove they can meet the challenge.
The Marquette Symphony Orchestra is funded through ticket sales, program advertising sales, and private donations. Audience size ranges from 500-700 per concert. To cover costs such as musician stipends and travel expenses, the orchestra requires at least six thousand dollars from advertising, twenty thousand dollars from ticket sales, and thirty thousand dollars from private donations of music lovers and public-spirited citizens.
For more information on how you can contribute to the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, please call or write. Watch for upcoming concerts and join us for a memorable experience.
The 2013-2014 season started off on a sad note; founding member, former two-term MSO president, and Orchestra bassoonist Edward Quinnell passed away. The family graciously steered financial contributions to the MSO. To date, we’ve received over $2400 in financial support. A letter thanking the family was written and sent, as well as letters thanking these donors.
We were also sad to see Dr. Robert Glenn leave the area to be closer to his children and his beloved Wolverines Football. Dr. Glenn had served the board for many years, most recently as the Correspondence Secretary. Dr Dan Arnold agreed to fill the Secretary position.
New board member Andrew LaComb also left. Andrew took advantage of a great offer from a Green Bay News Station. He didn’t get away before we could pluck some information from him; his short time with the board brought some valuable insight concerning the local media.
The concert season was ambitious, and everyone on the MSO board, MSO paid staff, members of MSO committees, MSO musicians, as well as many others in the community were instrumental in making the 2013-2013 a success. The season was held as follows:
September 28, 2013: Pops Concert: Gershwin’s Cuban Overture and An American in Paris, Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, and Bernstein’s West Side Story.
November 16, 2013: Ketelbey, Debussy and SYMPHONY # 10 by Shostakovich.
Betsy Grugin was the Saxophone soloist, a Kevin Nutini was the Clarinet solist
December 14, 2013: We are proud to have presented “Requiem of a Child”, a commissioned work based on the Italian Hall disaster in Calumet 100 years ago by Tom LaVoy. The Requiem was conducted by Matthew Ludwig to a completely packed Kaufman. The concert also featured familiar holiday music conducted by Dr. Barb Ryneer..
March 1, 2014: The performed Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony. The MSO welcomed Danielle Simandl, the winner of the 4th Annual Youth Concerto Competition for Strings. Ms. Simandl was the first ‘home grown’ winner of the competition.
May 17, 2014 The FINAL concert will include: Prokofiev’s March from "Love of the 3 Oranges," Elgar: Enigma Variations, Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto with returning soloist Daniel Lessner!
The partnership with the Besse Center in Escanaba has continued and two ensemble concerts were presented there in the 2013-2014 season.
Two board members are reaching their term limits, and will be off the MSO Board this year: Kathy Maynard and Dr. K Charles Wright, (Charlie). We want to thank them for their service.
Charlie was asked to join the board by Ed Quinnell before the very first MSO concert! Since 1957, he’s been active in the Rotary. He has also been involved in the Marquette Maritime Museum and the Jacobetti Home for Veterans. Charlie was the fellow who would call board members each month before the board meeting to gently remind them to show up.
Kathy, along with her husband Fred, is a long time supporter of the MSO and an active member of the local music scene. She is a past president of the MSO. Her support and assistance to me has been a Godsend!
Four Pre-Concert dinners were held again at the Landmark Inn. This has been an enjoyable event for those who like to hear some insight from the conductor into the concert. Because transportation to and from the concert was available, this made it much easier for individuals who may find parking at the concert difficult.
Jacob Chiʼs contract was renewed for three more years. His salary remains at $3000 per concert, with the MSO agreeing to monitor travel expenses and adjusting as the board sees fit. Dr. Chi continues to push the orchestra and encourages them to reach for higher standards.
The MSO is on track to finish the fiscal year in good financial health, better than in years past. This has been accomplished by ticket sales and generous donations from individuals, service clubs, and businesses. Much of our financial success was due to the LaVoy/Holiday concert and the support we received for that presentation.
In December, the MSO learned that it once again received a $17,000 MCACA grant to help with operational expenses. We are grateful that the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts have been allotted money to help fund the arts throughout Michigan.
Corporate donations and sponsorships have declined, and are expected to continue to decline. The board needs to continue with innovative methods of fund raising, marketing and long term planning.
The MSO Board members are extremely dedicated and work well together. Individually each member possesses valuable skills and knowledge. Collectively, this is an effective Board of Directors. This collective effort contributes to the success of the MSO. I want to thank the board for the support and guidance you've given me as president. I will continue to learn from board members and support them and the MSO anyway I can.
The Marquette area is a special place. An active group of individuals and groups has allowed for strong arts and cultural activities to continue to flourish here, including the Marquette Symphony Orchestra.
Marquette Symphony Orchestra
MSO Board Presidents
May, 1997 Edward Quinnell
July, 1998 Greg Sulik
July, 1999 Richard Klahn
July, 2001 Brendon Bailey
July, 2003 Karl Numinen
July, 2005 Edward Quinnell
July, 2006 Dr. Daniel Arnold
July, 2009 Thomas Cappuccio
January, 2011 Kathy Maynard
July, 2013 John French