The mission of the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra is:
to enhance the quality of life in Licking County by presenting the highest-quality, professional performances of classical and popular music, and offering educational and community programs to further the understanding and enjoyment of that music.
An 80 Year Tradition
Licking County has a long and rich history of symphonic music. The very first orchestra, The Licking County Symphony was founded in 1939 by Dr. John Fleek Miller, a visionary patron of the arts. The orchestra performed at Swasey Chapel on the Denison University Campus. From 1939 to 1960, Maestro Sam Gelfer led the orchestra. After Gelfer’s 21 year tenure, conductor Frank Bellino assumed the leadership. Frank was a classically trained musician with a rich background of performing with the finest orchestras of Europe. He led the orchestra until 1992, when the orchestra changed names to become the Welsh Hills Symphony Orchestra, conducted by William Boggs. Ten years later, he was succeeded by a young conductor, Carey Dachtyl.
A second orchestra, The Land of Legend Philharmonic was also formed in 1990 with a mission to present free children’s concerts to the Licking County Community, with performances at the OSU Newark Campus and area schools. The conductor for that orchestra was William Baker. Both orchestras merged in 2005 to form The Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra as well as the Newark-Granville Youth Symphony.
We are sincerely grateful for the support and encouragement we receive from you, our audience and from so many individuals, organizations and businesses in our community. We are honored to be a part of a great 80 year tradition of symphonic music in our community, and we pledge to carry it forward for many years to come.
At the Present
The NGSO has become an important part of the arts community in Licking County, and has built a bridge between artistic excellence and community service. Collaborations include projects with The Midland Theatre, Denison University, The Dawes Arboretum, The Works, Central Ohio Youth Ballet, and area schools. An ongoing relationship with The Ohio State Newark/COTC Campus secures a home for the NGSO at the Reese Center. Under the direction of its outstanding conductor, Russel C. Mikkelson, the NGSO has become one of the most respected musical ensembles in Ohio, bestowing honors on our community.
The NGSO prides itself on its high artistic quality, its sound financial management, and its positive impact on the community. The Orchestra is known regionally for achieving remarkable critical and popular success in a short period of time. Season ticket sales have increased each year since the orchestra was founded!
Education in the Community
The benefits of music and music study are well documented, increasing everything from teamwork skills to discipline to creative problem solving. The NGSO is committed to outreach education programs that enhance such values. During the 2011-2012 season, the NGSO wind, brass and strings ensembles gave 27 free live performances at 26 area schools for nearly 8,000 area students. The in-school concert program reached 29% of all school age children in Licking County. For many, this is their first exposure to both the instruments and the music. Students may also purchase tickets for only $5.00 for performances in the orchestra’s regular subscription concert series. In addition, the choirs from both Newark and Granville High Schools are invited to join the orchestra to perform at NGSO’s annual A Joyful Noise concert.
The Newark-Granville Youth Symphony has offered the best young musicians in Licking County the opportunity to learn and perform classical music with their peers. This experience has inspired several to go on to pursue college degrees in music. Last year, all of high school seniors in the NGYS are going on to college, many with music scholarships and plans for careers teaching and performing music.