Thayer Symphony Orchestra Today
“Thayer Symphony Orchestra is quite simply one of the finest ensembles of its kind, strictly first rate. Whether playing symphonic or opera repertoire, they are really skilled and play in an uplifting manner. Toshimasa Francis Wada deserves great credit for this marvelous orchestra.”
Ron Della Chiesa, Host , WGBH Radio
The Thayer Symphony Orchestra has served Central Massachusetts for 39 years (and counting), providing programs for the education, enrichment and pleasure of the citizens and musicians of the region. The orchestra is an independent cultural organization committed to enhancing the quality of life in our communities.
Now entering its 40th Season, The Thayer Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1974 in South Lancaster by Dr. Jon Robertson as the Thayer Conservatory Orchestra. Mark Churchill later succeeded Dr. Robertson and nurtured TCO for the next six years. From its inception as a community orchestra, the TSO has provided professional, as well as community volunteer and student musicians, the opportunity to perform in one of the few remaining full size symphony orchestras in New England. The TSO has maintained its core mission to "sustain and develop a symphony orchestra of the highest quality for the education, enrichment and pleasure of the citizens and musicians of Central Massachusetts."
In 1983, Maestro Toshimasa Francis Wada was invited to become Music Director and Conductor. As a result of his talented leadership, every aspect of the organization has grown and prospered. Under the maestro's baton, the TSO has received wide critical acclaim. As a direct result of our phenomenal growth, in 2000 the TSO's performance venue was moved to the state-of-the-art Stratos G. Dukakis Performing Arts Center at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School in Fitchburg. At the same time, the TSO's administrative offices were relocated from South Lancaster to a suite of offices and classrooms located in the Woodblock Building in Leominster.
Our dynamic performing arts institution is an independent, non-profit cultural organization that does not receive major support from any one source. The TSO is a non-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors representing the very best that our many communities have to offer. The TSO has become the region's most comprehensive music organization. The many interests who make up the TSO include the Friends of the TSO, who augment our fund-raising activities and assist our professional staff. Furthermore, the TSO instituted the "Music Connection" that sends small groups of musicians into a total of 30 area schools (from Chelmsford to Athol-Orange, and from Winchendon to Worcester) at no cost to the schools for over 12 years. We are happy to note that this program will resume this fall (2013) after having been dormant in recent years.
Over several years, the Thayer Symphony Orchestra has been in demand for special event performances including: a concert celebrating the opening of the National Plastics Center and Museum in Leominster; a program commemorating the restoration of Clinton's Town Hall; a benefit concert for the St. Vincent's Hospital Guild; several annual performances to benefit Our Father's House in Fitchburg; 17 consecutive years of July 4th holiday "Youth at the Pops" concerts at Bernardian Bowl in Fitchburg; a special outdoor summer "Dam Concert" at the Wachusett Reservoir dam in Clinton; and appearances at Boston's Symphony Hall and Worcester's Mechanics Hall with renowned soprano Aprile Millo to benefit St. Bernards Central Catholic High School. More recently, the TSO has performed for such companies as Hanover Insurance Group featuring soprano Maria Ferrante and Ida Zecco, and for civic events at Devens, MA. The TSO, as well as small ensembles from the orchestra, are available for hire in the entire New England States.
The Thayer Symphony Orchestra has been recognized by the Massachusetts Cultural Council as a leader in enriching the cultural life of the Commonwealth. The TSO was one of only twenty-nine organizations awarded this special recognition and is one of only eight to receive this distinction two years in a row. In 2005, Maestro Wada received the Worcester Telegram and Gazette's "Visions Award" for outstanding leadership in the cultural community of Central Massachusetts. The Thayer Symphony Orchestra has proudly provided cultural enrichment to this region for 39 years. As we celebrate our fortieth season, our commitment to enhancing the quality of life in the communities we serve only grows stronger.