Michigan’s Jackson Symphony remains vital member of community

Posted on: April 7, 2011

In Sunday’s (4/3) Jackson Citizen Patriot (Michigan), Zeke Jennings writes, “Over the past year, a downtrodden economy and labor issues have affected major symphony orchestras in Detroit, Honolulu and even Philadelphia—one of the ‘Big Five.’ However, in Jackson—the smallest of the seven Michigan communities that are home to symphony orchestras—the band not only plays on, it remains strong. Stephen Osmond, the Jackson Symphony Orchestra’s music director and executive director, said the reasons include fiscal responsibility; a strong emphasis on its music school; humility among the musicians, which includes willingness to take on roles beyond playing music; and, most important, community support. … ‘We just finished up a campaign that raised $2 million,’ Osmond said, ‘and we just got the go-ahead on a challenge grant (from the Weatherwax Foundation) that will match dollar-for-dollar to bring in another million, so we only have to raise $500,000 to reach our goal.’ … Perhaps the biggest tie between the orchestra and the community is the music school, which conducts approximately 10,000 private lessons in a given year, Osmond said. For longtime violinist and Jackson native Clyde McKaney, teaching and working with schools, which the symphony does through its ‘Pied Piper’ series, is perhaps the most rewarding part of the job.”

Posted April 7, 2011