— Originally published in FLL Issue #36 • Content provided by Lancaster Symphony Orchestra[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“It’s important that we take the mystery out of classical music and expand our reach and our repertoire to connect with audiences all across our community.” —Paige McFarling, Executive Director, Lancaster Symphony Orchestra[/pullquote]
Paige McFarling looks ahead with excitement. This is an exhilarating time for the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, a cultural landmark where music is changing lives by bringing the power of music to people of all ages.
The Symphony turns 70 next year, and, under McFarling’s direction, its eye is on the future. Her key focus is to keep the Lancaster Symphony relevant—and prosperous—at a time when fewer people nationwide want to commit to a traditional subscription package model, especially an on-demand young generation that prefers a la carte programming with a contemporary edge. “While we hold steadfast to the classics, we have to do things differently. It’s important that we take the mystery out of classical music and expand our reach and our repertoire to connect with audiences all across our community.”
And the Symphony is doing just that. Hoping to entice audiences to discover the Classical Music Series, they will present an interesting twist in every concert. In September they presented Chocolats Symphoniques, a chocolate and music pairing, which reflected a connection with Lancaster’s own Miesse’s Candies.
Future concerts include professional tango dancers, specialized visual techniques and presentations, and intriguing special guests like one of the preeminent soloists from Bollywood fame.
LSO also added three new popular music performances this season. Created in partnership with The Arts at Millersville University, LSO’s new Popular Music Series recently staged “Hollywood Heroes and Villains,” at Millersville University’s Clair Auditorium at Winter Center, one of the Symphony’s several local venues. And, next May the Symphony will share Clair auditorium with the critically acclaimed Nunziata brothers at the Winter Center for an evening of Broadway hits. Next February, LSO will accompany a big-screen showing of “The Godfather” at American Music Theatre.
Creating connections is important to McFarling. It’s what the LSO is all about, especially with kids. The LSO connects with young people through a series of “Sound Discovery Community Engagement Programs.” These innovative programs have won national praise and address the critical gaps in music education. The “Instrument Petting Zoos” give third graders the opportunity to see, hear, touch and even play various instruments. It’s a touchstone to potential future talent, and teachers attribute increased enrollment in fourth grade band and orchestra programs to the Petting Zoo project. LSO’s Gift of Music Program unites young students with musical instruments when they or their school cannot afford them.
Teaming up with the Lancaster County Library system the Symphony offers passes which enable a family of four to attend one of LSO’s six classic concert series for free. The pass can be checked out at 17 local libraries and the program will reach more than 200 people each year. Open rehearsals draw both adults and kids in a fun and approachable format. All in all, the LSO reaches over 30,000 people each year. For McFarling the Symphony’s goal is clear: “We want to continue to bring the power of music to this community now and long into the future: to perform great music, nurture young talent, build engaged students, and to connect with and support our community.”