Helena Symphony at 60: regional orchestra with community roots

Posted on: May 4, 2015

As the Helena Symphony marks its 60th anniversary, Marga Lincoln chronicles the orchestra’s history in Friday’s (5/1) Independent Record (Helena, Montana). “Octavia Haroldson, a local violinist, founded the Helena Little Symphony after she graduated from Helena High in 1938 and would later be the visionary behind the founding of the Helena Symphony in 1955. ‘We’ve grown with the city,’ said music director Allan R. Scott…. The symphony has performed more than 2,500 works since its founding, said Scott, who became Helena Symphony’s music director in 2003.… Among the landmark accomplishments he credits during that time is increasing the annual number of subscribers from about 120 to 800 [and] raising the annual operating budget from $180,000 to over $700,000…. Scott’s particularly proud of their artistic accomplishments: performing the complete … Mahler cycle … and … a number of fully staged operas…. The orchestra has also transitioned from being a community orchestra to a regional one, attracting top musicians…. ‘When I joined it was a casual community group that got together as friends,’ said principal flute player Barbara Berg, who joined the orchestra in 1982…. ‘The level has gotten much more professional…. I have just felt blessed to play in this orchestra and grow with it.’ ”

Posted May 4, 2015