The Thayer Symphony Orchestra has served Central Massachusetts for 41 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 41st 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. Following Dr. Robertson's tenure, Francis Wada became the music director of the TSO. 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 several 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."
As a direct result of the orchestra's growth, in 2000 it'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.
This 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.
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. The Thayer Symphony Orchestra has proudly provided cultural enrichment to this region for 41 years. As we celebrate our forty-second season, our commitment to enhancing the quality of life in the communities we serve only grows stronger. The TSO's present Music Director, Roderick MacDonald is the successor to Maestro Francis Wada who retired after over 30 years of service to Thayer Symphony Orchestra.