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About the Orchestra
The mission of the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra is to provide a quality symphonic experience that engages musicians, patrons, and youth alike.
The Mansfield Symphony Orchestra was founded in December 1930 by Eugene Weinberger, who formed the group under the premise of creating a collaborative organization that serves the community in many ways. Since then, the Mansfield Symphony has grown from a fine regional orchestra into a professional orchestra with a rich musical legacy that includes such noted soloists as Jerome Hines, Frank Guarrera, Itzhak Perlman, Leonard Rose, Lorin Hollander, Peter Nero, and Sarah Vaughn. A Symphony Chorus was formed as a permanent part of the Mansfield Symphony Society in 1977, and two youth orchestra programs were added in 1984.
In 1997, the Renaissance Theatre and the Mansfield Symphony merged, forming the not-for-profit umbrella organization now known as the Renaissance Performing Arts Association. Today, the Mansfield Symphony is one of the premier small-budget orchestras in the country, drawing not only talented local performers, but also numerous young musicians from some of the greatest music schools in the country, including the Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Each year the orchestra presents a number of programs incorporating the Symphony Chorus, including a Christmas Pops concert that showcases the talented ensemble. Selected members of the chorus also perform as needed for solo and chorus parts in operas, musicals, and other Renaissance-produced shows.
Our Choral Director
In addition to directing the Mansfield Symphony Chorus, Larry Griffin is the founder and artistic director of Capriccio Columbus, an 80-voice community choir celebrating its 11th anniversary this year. Capriccio Columbus performs throughout the Central Ohio area alone and with regional orchestras, including the Mansfield Symphony, the Central Ohio Symphony, and the Westerville Symphony. This season, Capriccio will perform at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Stacey V. Gibbs. Larry holds a Master of Music degree from The Ohio State University where he studied conducting with Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Eastern Kentucky University, and has done graduate work at Ohio State and Wright State Universities. Larry recently retired from Worthington Schools in Columbus, Ohio, where he had served as Director of Choral Music at Worthington Kilbourne High School since its opening in 1991. He has also been director of Vaud-Villities (2001-2003). In the fall of 2016, he will begin his tenure as the director of the men’s chorus at St. Charles Preparatory School in Bexley, Ohio. He is active in the Ohio Music Educators Association, having served as president of District 16, and annually participates in OMEA events as an adjudicator, director of honors choir festivals, and clinician. The Columbus Symphony Orchestra recognized Larry for his skills in choral conducting and teaching by presenting him with the 2005 Secondary School Music Educator Award. He has two children with his late wife, Jane: Calvin, 27, a professional opera singer with the Florida Grand Opera and Glimmerglass Festival, and Emma, 21, a college sophomore, studying psychology at Wright State University. Larry was recently married to Ellen Moore, the director of a non-profit crime prevention agency in Columbus, Ohio. They live in northwest Columbus, Ohio.
The Mansfield Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce auditions for the 2017-2018 season. Information on auditions is available here.
The Symphony Chorus maintains rolling audition dates between August and March each year; interested participants need only show up to rehearsal.
Education and Community Engagement
Our mission is not only to provide first-rate performances for the members of our community, but also to be a resource for them. Studies show clearly that kids with music education perform better in school, socialize easier in society, and have a better understanding of the world we live in. We believe that music education is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Teddy Bear Concerts feature original scripts and music by members of the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra. Teddy Bear concerts are a great introduction to the orchestra, and allow children an up-close experience with symphonic instruments, live acting, and basic musical concepts. Inspired by the Kennedy Center’s family programming, these engaging and interactive concerts accommodate only 100 concert-goers and their very favorite teddy bears.
Concerts for Schools & Teachers
Operation Bridge Building is the Mansfield Symphony’s major education initiative for schools. This program is designed to both enhance K-5 classroom courses, as well as support music education in our schools. The Operation Bridge Building program engages students and teachers alike by providing high quality symphonic programming and a curriculum that integrates the arts with academics. This program serves well over 7,000 local students annually through in-school chamber concerts, full-scale symphony concerts at the Renaissance Theatre, and teacher & student study guides.
The Operation Bridge Building program is underwritten so that schools may participate free of charge. Without this support, schools would have to pay upwards of $4 per student to participate in this program. We are grateful for this gift, which represents a combined savings of over $25,000 to our local schools each year!