Regional Orchestra of the Week: Michigan Philharmonic
In this week's featured regional orchestra of the week, we're thrilled to spotlight The Michigan Philharmonic under the direction of Music Director and Conductor Nan Washburn!
In 1945, local residents Evelyn and Carl Groschke invited a group of friends to their home to join them in playing instrumental music. At the same time, Paul Wagner, director of the Plymouth High School music program, wanted to organize an orchestra. They joined forces and the Plymouth Symphony Orchestra was born, giving its first public performance on April 20, 1947. Rehearsals were held at the Groschke home.
The first concerts were performed in the small gym at Plymouth High School (now Central Middle School) and on the school lawn. In the 1950s, the orchestra played at the Pino Farm (now Plymouth Colony Farms), where a stage was constructed for the PSO and audience members sat in the meadow on folding chairs or blankets. When a new gym was built at CHS, the orchestra performed there until the Plymouth-Salem High School Auditorium became its home for many years.
??The orchestra has grown from a dedicated nucleus of a dozen volunteer community players to over 60 professional musicians and performs a wide range of chamber, jazz, popular, and standard symphonic repertoire, ranging from the 16th century to the present. A review of past programs shows that the orchestra has performed approximately 1,500 symphonic works. Hundreds of guest artists and several thousand singers have performed with the orchestra.
In all, there have been seven conductors: Paul Wagner (1945-1950), Wayne Dunlap (1951-1979), Johan van der Merwe (1980-1985), Charles Greenwell (1985-1986), Leon Gregorian (1986-1987), Russell Reed (1987-1999) and Nan Washburn (1999-present).
The Michigan Philharmonic now looks foward to its exciting 67th Season, the second under the organization's new name. For 65 years, the orchestra was known as the Plymouth Symphony and also, for its smaller presentations, Orchestra Canton. Now as the Michigan Philharmonic, we continue offering exciting new opportunities to provide culturally enriching and educational programming in Plymouth, Canton and surrounding communities. The orchestra plays a full season of concerts from October to May, with several special concerts and events throughout the year. A unique feature of the Michigan Philharmonic is the adventuresome programming which has garnered the orchestra 4 ASCAP awards. By highlighting new music at each concert, our audiences have the opportunity to meet composers and gain an appreciation of the wonderful, new repertoire in the classical music genre.
The Philharmonic also sponsors the Michigan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, providing a unique, enriching and exciting musical experience for aspiring young players throughout Southeastern Michigan.
For a list of upcoming concerts and events hosted by Michigan Philharmonic, click here.
To learn more about The Michigan Philharmonic, click here.
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Info & photos courtesy of TMP