All-volunteer Belleville Philharmonic marks 150 seasons in 2016-17

Posted on: October 20, 2016

“Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra will celebrate the past, present and future during the first concert of its 150th season on Saturday,” writes Teri Maddox in Wednesday’s (10/19) Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Illinois). “The past will be remembered through overtures from two operas, [Rossini’s] ‘Tancredi’ and [François-Adrien Boieldieu’s] ‘The Caliph of Baghdad,’ which the orchestra played at its inaugural on Jan. 26, 1867….  Said board president Ethan Edwards, 54, who plays cello … ‘It’s good music. It’s not this stuff that nobody wants to play. It’s enjoyable.’ The present is represented by the orchestra’s new music director, Robert Hart Baker, who will be conducting his first Belleville Philharmonic concert and introducing about 10 new musicians to the community. The future comes in the form of three teenage performers”—violinists Hannah O’Brien and Rich Qian and cellist Alex Cho—“who recently won the Stars of Tomorrow concerto competition.” Also on the program is Schubert’s Symphony No. 8. “German immigrants organized the Belleville Philharmonic in 1866…. Members of the chorale and adult and youth orchestras are all volunteers…. ‘The only (American) orchestra that’s older is the New York Philharmonic,’ Edwards said. ‘With that heritage, we have a real responsibility to keep this organization thriving.’ ”

Posted October 20, 2016