“Enriching Life in the Mid-Atlantic Region Through the Power of Live Classical Music”
From the earliest days of modern musical performances, an orchestra capable of playing the best music ever written has been a symbol of a cultured society. More symphonic ensembles exist throughout the world today than ever before, and are a tribute to their home community. As residents of Delmarva, we have the advantage of a prize musical assemblage in the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. Few communities our size can boast, or support, such a cultural undertaking, but we do. In the end, we gain much more than it costs us.
The concept for an orchestra actually began more than two years prior when a group of Eastern Shore residents headed by Constance Meadows approached Don Buxton after a concert he was conducting in Delaware to meet with them. The subject under discussion was an orchestra to be based on the Delmarva peninsula. To implement this idea, a volunteer Board was organized whose responsibility was to launch and support this orchestra.
Thus, the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra (MSO) was incorporated in May 1997, with the mission “to enrich life in the Mid-Atlantic region through the power of live classical music.” The MSO performed its first concert, under the direction of Music Director Donald C. Buxton, at the Ocean City (Maryland) Convention Center on November 21, 1997. Rain had flooded the parking lot almost to the ankles of patrons, but it did not deter the more than 500 drenched music-lovers who crowded into the concert hall to witness the debut of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. Little did those in attendance realize they were witnessing the birth of a treasure. All three concerts during the 1997-1998 Season were performed at the Convention Center. The Mariner String quartet was formed and began public performances to assist with the promotion of the orchestra.
Maestro Buxton conducted the orchestra until June 2005. Under his tutelage the MSO established itself as the archetypal provider of quality music throughout the multistate peninsula. Where else in communities like Ocean City/Ocean Pines, the environs of Easton, and lower Delaware can audiences enjoy live symphonic concerts featuring the best music ever written, works of Bach, and Vivaldi, Beethoven and Mozart, Gershwin and Copeland.
The guest conductor for the season finale in April 2005 was Julien Benichou, a native of France, who brought broad experience to the podium as a conductor of orchestral, choral and opera literature. In September 2005, Maestro Julien Benichou assumed the role of MSO Music Director.
Since its modest debut that first rainy evening to the present, the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra has carved itself a respected place in the world of music across the mid-Atlantic region. It is now an integral part of the cultural life of the communities where it performs a vast repertoire of classical and modern compositions to growing audiences, in an increased number of local venues.
Between 1997 and 2007, the Orchestra performed on the Eastern Shore and in Southern Delaware at several different venues including the Avalon Theater in Easton, MD, Delaware Technical and Community College in Georgetown, DE, Stephen Decatur High School in Berlin, MD, the Convention Center in Rehoboth, DE, Worcester Preparatory School, Berlin, MD, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, the Prince Theater, and Chesapeake College in Chestertown, MD, Community Church, Ocean Pines, MD, Asbury Church, Salisbury, MD.
Beginning in April 2007, the MSO performed concerts at the Avalon Theater in Easton, MD, Mariner’s Bethel Church in Ocean View, DE, and the Community Church in Ocean Pines, MD. In October 2009, the Church of God in Easton, MD replaced the Avalon Theater. The MSO continues to perform 4 to 5 concerts in each of these three venues every season.
Many world renowned artists have performed with the MSO including Jonathan Carney, violin, Giles Apap, violin, Meng Su, classical guitar, Stefan Jackiw, violin, Dariusz Skoraczewski, cello, Warren Wolf, marimba.
In June 2008, the MSO was invited to perform a Pops concert sponsored by the Carl M. and Joshua M. Freeman Foundation. The following June, the MSO was again invited to be the inaugural concert at the Freeman Stage in Selbyville, DE and since then has opened the Freeman Stage’s performance season in June every year. In September 2010, the MSO was invited to perform the closing concert for the Freeman Stage’s performance season and had continued to close their season since that time.
The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is this community’s only “home-grown” professional symphony orchestra, and its concerts and outreach programs provide a vital cultural service. The presence of live symphonic music enriches the quality of life for any community. The MSO fulfills that need with musicians and soloists of the highest caliber.
To promote and to offer to the citizens of the Mid-Atlantic Region opportunities for musical entertainment and enjoyment, the development of the musical arts, the promotion, development and operation of musical enterprises in the performing arts, particularly through symphonic programs and choral activities; and to engage in enterprises directed at discovering and fostering musical talents, and to promote musical activities and programs for the cultural and educational benefit of the public.